View: Memos to oneself during a stock market boom a.k.a. not now – The Economic Times

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SynopsisSome pearls of wisdom from a Yoda of the markets to oneself, which includes the knowledge that one knows nothing, that buying anything is scary, and nothing really matters

I am mortal
It’s what the great Caesar had someone whisper within earshot from behind the throne — only to keep him grounded. I would write a memo to myself with the words, ‘Your best investment could be a multi-buster.’ This one line would make me terribly scared when buying anything. Which is not a bad thing.

Stop disbursing tips
Partly we do it because we need to bask in the glory of ‘I made her some money when she desperately needed it.’ It makes you walk three inches above the ground in the cocktail circuit. When she loses money on my tip, I lose a friend — and also earn a new club of people who turn their nose each time they hear my name, muttering, ‘Don’t trust a word of what that fool says.’

I know soooo little
If I am so cocksure about the world, why couldn’t I see the pandemic coming, the market collapse, see that it had bottomed before the March 24, 2020 lockdown, see it rebound sharply, and see the second pandemic surge. The bottomline: I know nothing. It stops me from authoritatively dispensing opinions on things I have the foggiest idea of.

It’s not my intelligence, stupid!
If I have made some small money on the markets, then it was probably due to an impulse, coupled with moderate intelligence, coupled with laziness. Half my gains were saved because I wasn’t tracking prices in real-time during office hours. The other half of my gains were made because I was too dumb to know what to do with the proceeds if I sold. I keep telling myself: Stay dumb… within limits.

There is a larger purpose in life than making (digital) money
Let us assume I make some money on the markets. Let us assume that this is more than I can ever spend in this lifetime. Then what I am doing all this for? To feel fulfilled? To build a war chest that will be used by someone else? Maybe someone I will never know? Which brings me back to a great line by a philosopher: Eventually it doesn’t really matter.

I was happier when the market busted
Truth be told, every trading day has me peering into the phone every seven minutes, sending WhatsApps to the broker, cluttering the mind with words like ‘rates,’ ‘Fed,’ ‘repo,’ ‘last quarter,’ ‘stimulus’ and ‘Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.’ I keep telling myself: You were happiest when you didn’t get on to that investment portfolio website for more than two years after the 2018 IL&FS crisis.

Watch out, it may not be as much of a blessing as i think
A ten-bagger comes with disguised problems. Capital surplus could lead to indisciplined capital allocation, which could lead to tomorrow’s time spent in unravelling those issues. So, I keep telling myself: This may appear to be a ten-bagger in the making. But are you sure that the baggage does not contain properties acquired, related legal issues, family rifts, and never wanting to speak to some relatives again? Sobers me.

It’s the what-could-happen that takes up time
There is only one thing to beat fantasising about sex — fantasising about the stock market. In a bull market (which we are currently not in), 50% of the time is spent looking at the price movements and the rest of the time swimming in fantasies. ‘What if I had bought three times of what I had bought when I did? What are the life options available if I increase my money 100-fold in three years? What if…?’ One thing is for sure: If one didn’t look at stock prices, life would be spent more in the moment.

What will i do with the (real) money?
This is what I keep asking myself. Assume I had Rs 10 crore in cash. What would I do with it? For someone whose life standard is yet to extend beyond a Honda Brio, I have no answer.

The writer is CEO, Trisys.

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