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One day vs many years

Patience will always win over knee-jerk reactions

PM Modi's stock market prediction: Cautionary tale for investorsAI-generated image

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4:04
dhanak हिंदी में भी पढ़ें read-in-hindi

A few days ago, during an interview, Prime Minister Modi said that the stock market will set new records on June 4, when the election results are declared. Now, a certain breed of trader lives by the proverbial 'tip' and has latched on to this tip with glee. Not just that, a whole lot of people who are interested in stock investing but have not yet taken the plunge have suddenly woken up, so to speak. A friend of mine desperately looking for some guidance on how to start investing is now convinced that he must invest as much as he can before June 3!

It's funny how a single statement can set off such a frenzy. Suddenly, everyone's inner Warren Buffett is emerging, and even a guy who never looked at the stock market is now an enthusiastic fan. While the excitement is contagious, it's probably a good idea to remind my friend—and myself—that investing isn't a race. It's more like a marathon where slow and steady often wins the game. So, maybe we should take a deep breath, do a bit of research, and not just dive in because of a hot tip, no matter how exalted a source the tip comes from!

In fact, this attitude reminds me of a famous Buffett quote from the 1997 letter to his shareholders. "A short quiz: If you plan to eat hamburgers throughout your life and are not a cattle producer, should you wish for higher or lower prices for beef? Likewise, if you are going to buy a car from time to time but are not an auto manufacturer, should you prefer higher or lower car prices? These questions, of course, answer themselves. But now for the final exam: If you expect to be a net saver during the next five years, should you hope for a higher or lower stock market during that period? Many investors get this one wrong. Even though they are going to be net buyers of stocks for many years to come, they are elated when stock prices rise and depressed when they fall. In effect, they rejoice because prices have risen for the 'hamburgers' they will soon be buying. This reaction makes no sense."

Buffett's wisdom is a gentle reminder that it's the long-term outlook that matters. Only if you are planning to buy now and sell on the 5th, then yes, this attitude makes sense. So, while the buzz around June 4 might be exciting, it's important to keep our investment goals grounded in reality and not be swayed by short-term market predictions. Investing should be more about careful planning and less about chasing after the latest trend. Furthermore, it's crucial to understand that the stock market can be influenced by a myriad of factors, not just political events but also economic indicators, global market trends, and a lot more.

Having said that, I can understand the excitement. The last few years have been amazingly good for the Indian equity investor and if all goes well, every investor is fully justified in being wildly enthusiastic about the future. However, 'the future' is not a particular day, or even a week or a month. The future is the actual future, stretching out into years and decades. For a genuinely sustainable and fruitful investment journey, it's best not to avoid the hard work: develop a well-thought-out strategy, choose investments carefully, diversify our portfolios, and remain patient amidst the market's inevitable ups and downs. This approach not only mitigates risks but also positions us to reap the rewards of compounding growth over the long haul.

Nothing that one single day can deliver can measure up to the actual wealth you can generate over the years. Let's aim for years, not mere days.

Also read: The rising tide


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