Friday, October 24, 2014

Information available on internet

Gone are the days, when one would have to visit the nearest library to get information on some important concept. Pre 1995, finding information was painstakingly difficult. Even to find the long form of MF, one would have to read the financial papers or find the investment books in library. Library was not a outdated word, then.

I remember, my uncle checking some English newspaper with utmost interest. The print on the paper (for that particular page) was so fine that many would have got soda bottle specs. Still he and his friends were interested in reading those prints. Years later, I understood that he use to check the price of the stocks. He had a small circle of friends and they kept on discussing and monitoring their portfolio. Have no idea who made profit and who faked profit. However, it kept them busy in their retirement life (ghosshhh, direct equity in retirement!!!) and my aunt never seemed to complain (may be, her ornaments were sponsored by some of the stocks and she felt that another necklace would do no bad :P ).

Internet has replaced everything. Now, we just have to type the word in google and it gives loads of information on that word (btw, never tried ‘understanding a women’ on google). As always, every coin has 2 sides attached to it.

Let us look at the positives of this bombardment of information. Before today, investor did not have the blogs like Subramoney, AIFW, jago and calculator king. Their investment advice was limited to the financial papers and the human beings around. As always, most people preferred the easiest way and hence there were always talks of investment and never actual investment was done by ‘average’ people. Of course, there were exceptional people who discussed stocks in trains and implemented them. Even today, if you catch a Borivali local, you can hear “Tata nu bhav su che”, “Reliance ne bhav vadharigayo”, “Maro broker saro che” and so on.

I still remember, project activity in my school was like a heck of an activity. We had to do loads of paper reading, paper cutting and then we would get some good information to show to our teachers. Today’s kids just go to google baba (instead of their real baba) and download the stuff. Honestly, I do not know which way is better. Now, the children can cut down the time spent on searching through various magazines and papers and just can download the right picture and right article. The rest of the time is available to them to play cricket, football or volley-ball (all to be played in park and not on video games).

Now, you don’t have to worry about your paper cuttings getting wet or getting lost. Just download them and keep it on your laptop (oops, today’s kids use ipads).

My grandmother referred some recipe book and my wife refers online recipes. I have to admit that the recipe books did not have the variety of the dishes that online PDFs has. Eggless cakes, dal dhokli, rassam all are available. I was planning to refer such recipes for noodles but then realized that on the back side of maggi, we have all the detailed instructions. So abandoned google baba.  

The other side to all these examples (and obviously to information available on the internet) is the question “how to sort the information available”, “which one is suitable to my condition”, “how to distinguish the real matter from the dummy one”, “how to distinguish between financial advice and financial porn (word borrowed from Subra)”.

Searching on google is not as easy as it seems. Just type ‘mutual funds’ in google. What you get is not the information on mutual funds but the advertisements of the mutual fund companies.

Mutual funds on Google

Of course, cannot blame the google. It searches everything with mutual funds and displays the links according to SEO techniques. So here rational brain of human (LOLs) is to be used. Read any online article of famous new papers and you would find plenty of funny articles. Like few days back, somebody was recommending equity mutual funds for a goal which was 2 years from today. This was the goal based strategic plan developed by financial experts in one of the reputed financial news papers. So understanding which information to use has now become more difficult.

Few days back, read another article. It listed how every photo that we take from our smart phone has a geo id tag to it. When we upload it on social networking sites, the geo tag can be interpreted by software and exact location of the object (or human being, of course) can easily be found out. Now imagine, how a stranger can actually know where you live and what are your geographic co-ordinates just from your social networking photo.** What is this paragraph doing here.. ummm

One of the financial blog will say invest in debt mutual funds for a goal which is 1-2 years away. Mathematical experts like Pattu can point out that how debt mutual funds too suffer from volatility and if the goal is important one, keep all the money in bank FD, taxes be dammed. However, if we read both the blogs from neutral angle, how one is to understand who is right and who is wrong. So for that, he himself must understand volatility and standard deviation.

Subra says I have 2k units of Palmolive shares. Now, you cannot go and buy Palmolive share because Subra has it. Subra may have bought it 50 years ago.

You read somewhere that Ashal says invest in FIBC fund. You do that exactly. It may happen that, you did not read the article completely. Ashal’s goal is 15 years from now, yours is 2 years from now. I remember, when I had asked Ashal to point out the strategies for handling retirement corpus (handling corpus and not creating corpus). He told me that one size does not fit all. True. Situation matters.

P.S.1: Do not ask me moral of the article (It would be difficult to tell you that I am yet to figure that out). You just read about indiscriminate information available on the internet. This may be one of them.


  1. The most common thing, people 'll not apply common sense to get the results suitable to their needs. I do agree with your article that now a days we are sitting on mountain of info and actually using the info is getting tougher day by day.



    1. Absolutely true, Ashal. Here, I think, you are doing a great service to all the common people by helping them to understand what is good for them instead of simply showing them the product to pick.