Target: 2015 – Part 1

Somewhere in 2003, fed up of perennially running out of cash at the end of every month and just before the salary for the next month was to come in, i realised i had to do something drastic. Also the thought of not wanting to work till 55 or 60 years old (like everyone else) was always in the back of my mind.

I decided to not only save a small part of my salary but also start investing. Real estate was out of question as it required a bigger monetary commitment and i was loathe investing in land that could some day be encroached and i would need to run around the authorities and people in power to get them evicted.

The next best option was the stock market.  It didn’t require a huge upfront money and also because of Systematic Investment Plan (SIP), i could invest a small amount every month in the mutual funds.  Also because of demat, it was easy for me to buy small number of shares of the companies that i liked.  Since my knowledge of economics, finance and the stock market in general was a big zero, i had to educate myself.  I attended a few seminars, but at the end realised that they were nothing but big money making scams.

This is when i truly realized the power of the internet.  With some great help from Google uncle, i jumped headlong into an intense 12 month study of the stock markets. I searched for information like crazy on equities and mutual funds. By then i had more or less realised that i was going to concentrate primarily in the Indian stock markets.  A developing economy which
was consistently clocking above 7% growth every year and a huge market, i realised that if i could get in early, i could probably ride a 20-30 year long boom.

India was then just starting off.  The BSE Sensex was then around 4500 (it has since climbed to 21,000, then fell to 9000 odd and is now back to 19000). I remember reading an Indian business magazine that pointed to a target 8000 for BSE Sensex in a few months time.  I chuckled to myself at the audacity of that heading.  But still deep down in my heart somewhere I had the belief that we were looking at something spectacular that was about to happen.

Imagine a country of a billion people and with the economy clocking 7-8% annual growth in GDP, it was sure to hit a trillion dollars soon and if the rate of growth could be kept up, then the next trillion could come in 8-9 years.  Yes, there were and are lots of things that could derail the growth. Terrorism emanating from Pakistan being just one such issue. Poverty, rampant corruption (that has become a norm these days), a closed economy, religious and regional violence…many issues could be an impediment to India’s growth and thus hit my investments in the market.

But honestly, when you realise that you are in the pits, the only way to go is up.  I took the risk and opened a demat account.  Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) was getting listed on the Indian stock markets for the first time ever in 2004.  I applied for the IPO and was allotted a measly 7 shares at 850 rupees each.  I was disappointed at not having been allotted more. Nervethless,  i held on.  A few months later the stock hit 1400 rupees.  I sold off at almost 550 rupees profit per share.  I made more than 3800 rupees (not accounting for taxes) in a few months by investing in TCS.

I had tasted blood.

Target 2015 continues….

Above target picture courtesy: David Hawkins

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