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Hustle to Wealth | Investreks EP 02 | Ashton Gray Investments

Investing wisely is a crucial step toward securing your financial future and building wealth.

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Speaker 1 [0:07]

Hello everyone, we’re excited to have you join us on investreks, the ultimate podcast designed for inquisitive mind like yours, ready to dwell into a treasure trove of financial insights, get ready to strike confidently in the intricate world of finance.

Unknown Speaker [0:31]

With us today, we have Mr. Shri Ram Parameswaran, founder and CEO of life maximum, a company that has been helping people live life to the maximum since 2018. Mr. Shri ram mission is to help CXOs and senior management professionals live their life to the fullest. With leadership roles at ACG and Ethan India Shri Ram excels in strategic assessment and donor management. He’s a qualified independent director and certified Marshall Goldsmith stakeholder centered coach. Outside of his professional life, Shri Ram is a spiritual speaker, Photographer Cook, and adventurers enthusiasts enjoying scuba diving and paragliding. Now, let’s hear from him directly about his journey with active and passive income over the years.

Speaker 2 [1:23]

Hi, Mr. Shri ram, I’m very delighted to have you on this very 2nd episode of investreks. So

Speaker 1 [1:28]

thank you very much for having me, I hope I’m able to share some insights which will be useful for your audience.

Speaker 3 [1:32]

Definitely. And I’m also very excited for this particular episode in particular, because, you know, you’re gonna be sharing your personal experiences with investments and finance and the only looking forward to that. Yeah, you

Speaker 1 [1:44]

know, yeah, as I told you, I am 61. Now, so I’m kind of half a lifetime ahead. In terms of your typical demographic, I guess, your target audience, the target market will be the 35,50 or range. So I am at least a half a lifetime ahead. But in whatever I share, my practical experience will be relevant to most people, because I will touch upon some of the fundamental aspects which are not linked to age not linked to time. So hopefully, it will benefit most of the people I hope it

Speaker 3 [2:10]

does, I’m sure it will. So no problem. And to get started, let me get into a topic that’s very general. So your personal experiences with active income. Alright,

Speaker 1 [2:22]

see, I’m an engineer by qualification. And so therefore, I had a choice to make when I got out of college IIT, Madras, to see whether I want to be in the US or or be in India, I had an opportunity to go to the US, but I chose to make my life in India, that was a fundamental decision that I took, why am I talking about this decision of mine is that my active income source, therefore, when I got into the job market, was my salary only. And coming from a middle class family that salary is very important to us. So my active income stream and I begin, my corporate began my corporate life and in 1984, was a salary check. So that was the only source of income with which I had to maintain my standard of living, create wealth, etc. I knew that as a bachelor, this is the wealth that I’m creating right now. But I need to get married. So I had to think about how am I going to manage my income and manage my life ahead? So salary was the only income source

Speaker 3 [3:18]

perfect. So this looks like you had a plan back then, was it like a plan that, you know, after so many years, you had to like do this, you had to, like, you know, invest in a passive income stream? Do you have something like that? Or was that something that came along the way,

Speaker 1 [3:31]

if I do take a flashback from 1984 Honestly, there was no plan at all. At that time. The only plan was that I want to make a successful career in India, I do not wish to go abroad. At that time. My thought was possibly after a couple of years after getting into the job, I might get into a IIM or etc. For a management course, I wanted to do that on my own funds are not more not on my parents funds, etc. So the only goal that I had is that after a couple of years, I need to save enough money to get into a Management Institute. That was a plan. But apart from that, I didn’t want to have any plan at all. I was just looking at, you know, ensuring that one plan that I’ve always had and I will recommend all your viewers to always follow is that be very clear on what is the kind of lifestyle you want. And based on that lifestyle, have a clearer idea of how much it is going to cost you to maintain that lifestyle. I have luckily always had the foresight to be able to say how much money why do I need for every month that I need for the lifestyle that I want and I have to adjust my lifestyle to fall within my budget. So I’ve always learned to live that the value that my dad and mom have given me know what you want to spend on have the courage to have that income with you. If you don’t have the income tweak your lifestyle to live within your income I’ve never lived on credit so the only planning that I’ve done is manage my expenses and ensure that my lifestyle is falling within that income stream so

Speaker 4 [4:53]

basically living within your means living within my means okay and also looks like you had great you know, budgeting and tracking expenses skill So I think that’s something we all lack, but then I’m happy to hear that you had that. And at that time,

Speaker 1 [5:05]

honestly, we didn’t even have an Excel spreadsheet, etc. All that I knew is that okay, this was amount of food, this much amount of rain, this which amount of clothes etc, rough idea, that’s all that you need actually you don’t need very much anymore tools today you have so many tools and financial planning tools which are available a budgeting tools, etc I eat them all of that. But even having a rough idea on how much you need for a month, whether your income in a month is over and above that, that’s all that you need to look at, and be willing to compromise your lifestyle. If your income is not, do not live outside your means. I’m not advocating the a plastic credit card culture of the US where you live on credit and and create a huge they say, I’m not a fan of that. So I’ve been disciplined as far as that is concerned. So the only planning that I used to do is how much is it costing me every month? I have a clear visibility on that. And I would encourage everybody to have a very clear understanding of what does it cost you to live a month on your own income stream? That idea you need to have perfect, so

Speaker 3 [6:01]

yes, like you said, using your credit cards again, please that vicious cycle of you know falling in debt. And again, it goes there on talking about your journey, what was your risk appetite level, like when you initially started with your passive income streams. And also I came across a study that basically said that age and the amount of risk the person is willing to take, basically indirectly correlated, so meaning which the younger person is the more risk to take, and vice versa. So what’s your take on that as well,

Speaker 1 [6:32]

I think that’s a very good observation, yes, generally it is true that yellow person is the ability to take risk is much more because you have less a dependency or more time on your hands. And so, therefore, you can take a greater so generally it is true, I also robbed that follow that philosophy, and I do plan my investments accordingly. But my experience of life is otherwise to for example, the longevity of life, right, you might talk about life expectancy beyond 79 to 80 years, but it’s not that everybody has that kind of life. So, anything could happen to you anytime, you know, there have been, you know, cases of you know, people having lifestyle disease, like like cardiac arrest etcetera, even at 25 and 30. So, therefore, what I see is that life is very indefinite hence, and therefore, if your financial dependence on you and people are dependent on you for their financial security, etc, you need to ensure that you manage your risk profile very well, just because you’re young, you cannot afford to take all the risks, you need to be calibrated in that. That’s the philosophy that I also follow. Please look at my practical situation, right, I entered the job market, my income stream from my salary was the only thing which I was able to use. It’s only when I’m married. And also I took a conscious choice to marry a professional so that we have two incomes in the family. And so therefore, we know that when we are coming together as a family, and we are going to have bigger, you know, a budget for a monthly lifestyle, we have access to two incomes. So these are the simple decisions that you take to ensure that. So to begin with, to answer your question on my own risk appetite, to begin with, it was very conservative, because we had only our incomes, my income and nirmala’s income as as a regular income source for risk appetite was very, very low. And over a period of time, we have been able to manage that and take into higher responses. And even I have ventured into more riskier investment opportunities. Only after I do a discipline study in terms of what is the investment all about? Have I ever venture, so my risk profile is conservative. Now it was conservative, then as well, it has not changed dramatically, even though my age was 2025, then and now will be 61, my risk profile is, frankly remained

Speaker 3 [6:38]

the same. That’s quite different from the norm. But that’s really interesting. I like how you did not stick to what the service said. But then you had your own way of doing things. And that’s turned out well. So now we’ve come to an important juncture. So when you look at your passive income, it’s always or almost all the time, you know, funded by your active income. So you earn your active income, get the money, and then you put a little bit of or a portion of it in your passive income streams to get your passive income returns from the streams. So what is your take on that? Did you have a game plan when you initially started with your passive income streams? Or how did it go? So just give me an example as

Speaker 1 [9:21]

to what you do you my perspective? I think that’s a good question. But I have a different perspective on this. It is not always necessary that active income has to fund your passive income I my understanding of passive income is very different. I hope I’m correct, but I will give you my perspective on to the extent of if your monthly income from your job or from your business or whatever it is, if that is a surplus over your expenses, then you have the delta that delta is what you invest in that investment becomes a revenue stream for the future in terms of interest income or dividend income or whatever it is. So that is one form of a passive income. but it is not necessary, the only active income has to be funded or the passive income has to be funded only by active income, then we’ll give you an example. Suppose I’m a working professional, in a company or so I might be a chief executive, I might be a marketing director, I might be a general manager of a production activity, etc, etc, I get a regular income. The surplus over my expense I invest in, that gives me some returns. But I’m also single, in the evenings, I go to a club and see, that gives me a second income, I could be a golfer, you know, I play golf, I win a championship, I get a million dollars, that becomes my second income. So I’m saying every person has got skills and abilities beyond what you deploy in the workplace. Those could also become revenue streams, many people today, you know, they have a nine to five job, they also run a home kitchen, you know, they make food and then serve to the neighbors, etc. They are home bakers who bake stuff, and that’s the second income stream. That’s like a trend right now, that’s a trend, you know, home cooking. And so I’m saying passive income may not only be funded by activity, absolutely. To me, when I started my corporate career, my active income stream was the only stream that I had, I did not have the concept of being able to do any side gigs like this. Today, in today’s generation in the security that we are in today, the opportunities are there, and people welcome side gigs. And other side gigs make a lot of money for you as well. In our time, there was no such liberties, we had a nine to five job. And that’s all there is we did not have any opportunities to make any other side income. So my dependence on this thing was only towards my active income stream. The surplus over expense, I did invest in a safe, very conservative things largely from a tax saving perspective, not as primary investments. It is only when I turned beyond the 35 to 40, did I actively even think of passive income. So it was like a fun actively think of a passive income that I started only when I was in my 35 or 40 years of age, it was not a, when I started my career, I didn’t have a concept of a passive income at all, it was only How do I make money so that I can make enough money to live a life. Okay, so the

Speaker 3 [12:02]

idea of earning a passive income basically came along

Speaker 1 [12:05]

much later came much later. And that came much later. Because, you know, let me share this for the benefit of the audience, I did not want to be tied to a nine to five job a corporate career for my entire life, I want to do generate a income stream of myself, which gave me the freedom to break free from a corporate career, or the dependence of a corporate career. So I did not want to do it out of compulsion, I want to do it out of choice. So if I have a substantial passive income stream, either from returns on my investment or any other skill sets or hobbies that I have, then I know that I can break free from a nine to five job and do what I like to do. So my dependence, or planning for a passive income came from a determination of wanting to be financially free and foreign financial independence. And to me financial independence, I define it simply like this, I’m not a wealth manager, I don’t use those terms, etc. To me, financial independence is not depending on your active income, to maintain your lifestyle. And to me, lifestyle is important in two ways, the standard of living that I have, and also the standard of giving that I have, the wealthy that I generate is not just for myself, what do I do want to do with that wealth. So if I can generate a revenue stream, which is going to be able to support my standard of living and my standard of giving, that was my goal, when I first started thinking about it only when I beyond my 35 and 40 years of age, that’s when I thought about it. And luckily, I was able to break free from this at my 51st year. So it is now 10 years now. So my last salaried paycheck, which came to me was at the age of 51. And for the last 10 years, my corpus has grown my everything has grown and I’ve been able to financially become free at the age of 51. So I’m not tied to a nine to five job which I love to do what I do, and I do contribute in many other ways in terms of whatever my capabilities are. I have an income stream that way, but I’m not I do it by choice, not by out of compulsion. So I do it that way.

Speaker 3 [14:08]

Okay, that’s really impressive. Like you know, living in on a passive income streams income for over a decade. I think that’s something that we need to focus on. Because I know people who have passive income streams, but then they also focus on active income streams because they’re not able to get you know, as much as they want from the passive income streams. So I think I really find this truly

Speaker 1 [14:28]

inspiring why that is important apoorva was because the times that when I was a youngster when I was the workplace, I did not have access to so much of information. We didn’t have access to so much of technology. Today, one can do that. I hear so many people breaking free from a career at 35, 40 etc. because information is available at the touch of a button. You can make investments you can do these things you can collect so much information earlier to dabble in the stock market. We were at the mercy of a very strong broker and we had to do whatever he said we really want to know what is going to happen to our belt. Today. The computer X As to technology information, doing investment activities, etc, is so easy, yes, that one can focus on generating a solid enough passive income so that you don’t need to depend on that. So you know that I think we are living in those times where these opportunities exist. My father’s generation or my early generation, etc, will not have these opportunities. He could complexes opportunities are available, people should exercise that we hear so many cases of people coming back to the US settling down here getting into organic agriculture, and farming and lots of other hobbies. Why do they do that, because they’re chasing their own passion, they’re chasing their own passion, because they are confident that they will generate a passive income stream, which will enable them to live a life, which they really want to cherish and look forward to not living by the clock and living by the thing of an employer, being your own master of your own destiny. That’s what I look at absolutely

Speaker 3 [14:29]

is and like you said, and information is available everywhere. And also like if you look at, you know, the choices that people have right from in India, and also abroad, everything can be done at the touch of a button, like you said, so I think yeah, the opportunities are sprouting everywhere. So during this phase of your life again, sir, was diversification something that you prioritized? Because from what I’ve heard, people say that diversification basically spreads your risk. So the more you diversify your portfolio, the lesser the rescue phase. So what was your mindset about diversification, I

Speaker 1 [16:22]

truly subscribe to that logic. Yes, diversification is essential, because you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, the cliche. There is also a second aspect to it, you know, when I started my working career and my active income, etc, they will know not too many investment opportunities in terms of available alternatives. Basic stuff, which were tax saving alternatives, like National Savings Certificates or provident fund things like that is all that we had a disposable income also was not large enough to be able to spread it over too many opportunities. So availability of options also were less disposable income was also less. Now, the generation that we live in today, there are so many different instruments which are available, each of them having their own characteristic, their risk, their profile, the value proposition that they offer to the target market, etc. And it will be rather ridiculous, if we were not to take advantage of this diversified portfolio, you know, different instruments are catering towards different risk reward profiles, you can go towards your equity, you can go towards pure debt, on one side, you have higher risk and higher gain. And here you have lower risk and lower gain. So you need to balance that. And there are a plethora of opportunities available today, because of the internet because of access to computing technology, etc, etc. And information is available freely to everybody. Because of that, too many opportunities are coming up. So you need to have access to all of that, take a decision on what you want out of that you can’t spread your money thin over everything. So you got to pick and choose, it’s like a buffet, you know, you might have 3040 dishes on the table, you’re not going to taste all of them. But you need you cannot just say I’m going to have just rice and dal and come out, you will taste a wide variety of them, you might not taste all 3035 dishes, but you will select on 10 or 15 dishes. And as a little bit of that little bit of that. So diversification is nothing like a butter like a buffet meal, you have all the opportunities available, you need to evaluate that you need to participate in that so that you can maximize your return. So diversification is essential. When I started my career, it was purely basic tax saving instruments. That’s how the basic principles that I started off it. But gradually, you know, at that time, access to the mutual fund market access to the primary stock market itself was very difficult because not possible at that time. But today, if I look at it, it’s very easy to access the mutual fund market to corporate fund market, the international investment opportunities, everything is a cryptocurrency everything is available. Yes. So you have to evaluate everything and decide what is true for yourself. So today I have diversified my portfolio across four or five various assets, some assets, which people recommend, I don’t for example, a lot of people say that you need to have something in gold. I don’t you know, look at that precious metals I have not diversified into I have not diversified into commodity markets. So I have a lot of equity investments. I have a lot of debt instruments, a lot of corporate debt and bank favorites and deposits, etc. Sovereign debt etc. I also participate in the property market real estate market earlier my real estate market, or basically properties that I own, waited for appreciation, exited and upgraded. Today, the age profile that I’m in, I don’t want to hold eight or 10 different properties all across India. So I’m liquidating my own properties. But I’m still dabbling in the real estate market by tapping into funds which play in the real estate sector. So my participation in the real estate market is not by owning properties, but by participating in funds which participate in the real estate market. So you have to make these decisions yourself and that’s the portfolio that I have created thus far. Okay.

Speaker 3 [19:55]

And that was a really practical example that you stated so that we basically put a smile on my face because I go to a buffet, I’m not going to choose just one dish and sit with it the whole time, I’m going to be testing other dishes as well. And, you know, go with the ones that I like. And likewise, you know, you go and test opportunities that are there everywhere. And like you said, opportunities are sprouting everywhere, every minute every day. So leveraging those opportunities is what is going to be fetching you the income. Again,

Speaker 1 [20:22]

that’s a question of choice. You know, you get into a high class restaurant or any restaurant, you might have a buffet option, you might have also an ala carte option. So the choice is yours, but haven’t selected a buffet option. And having so much variety is only reading at your party and a roti and a doll, etc. They might as well have got ala carte. Yes. So since you have a plethora of options available in the buffet, not participating in it is not doing justice to it. So I’m not saying that ala carte is not the right way to go. Yes, if you choose a market, please go that way. But since today, access to information access to technology is all available. There is a buffet laid out in front of you. So why don’t you enjoy the buffet? So that’s what I’m okay, exactly.

Speaker 3 [20:59]

I totally resonate with that opinion of yours. So we’re coming to the next topics are compounding. So everybody focuses on compounding because they don’t want to just on the interest, but they want the investments to compound over time. So what was your approach when it came to compounding when you were just beginning with passive income streams.

Speaker 1 [21:18]

So compounding as a consumer concept as related to investments and wealth is making wealth work for you. So to my mind, the principle that I believed in life everywhere is if you have a skill, if you have an asset, etc, don’t let it stay idle, making it to stay idle is a crime, you know, flow is everywhere, right flow is everything even in wealth flow is important. Yes. So if you have wealth, making it work for you, and making it compound itself, is what doing justice to wealth means to me. And so therefore, I look at compounding as a means by which whatever will be built I have created, I make it work double time to do that for me and ensure that it multiplies itself respectively. Well, the other aspect of compounding as as for most of the investors would already be aware of it is that you have to balance the ability to balance the aspect of time. Whatever investments you make today have to be giving you income over a longer duration of time, you need to look at the fact that there is an inflationary pressure on across on you. So whatever you have today, your purchasing power over a period of time comes down sure by surely under the pressure of inflation. So unless and until you use the power of compounding to beat inflation, even if you stand still, you will actually be going backward. So you need to be running ahead, then the pace of inflation to be able to make your corpus grow. Therefore compounding is an essential part of that. So all my decisions that I take in terms of investment, when to exit when to enter is all with the aspect of ensuring that am I able to keep my corpus growing steady, and ensuring that it doesn’t get eroded by inflation. So to me, that is how I use the concept of compounding. I’m not a great financial planner. But I ensure that all my returns are that way. So whether it is the churn that I do within a portfolio, or whether the diversification that I do across portfolio, verticals like real estate, mutual fund to equity to property, etc, is all with the perspective of is my total return at the end of a year, going to be far more ahead of than the rate of inflation. Today, the real rate of inflation could be around the statistics that the government throws at us around 678 percent for real inflation that really hits you is closer on 10%. So if I invest in simple bank of these instruments is going to give me only 8% or 10%, I’m not going to be able to compound my growth and inflation will eat me away. So I have to look at opportunities like the equity market, the mutual fund market, which can give me returns of 12,15,18%, etc. So that my compounding can really kick it over a period of time. Got

Speaker 3 [23:52]

it, like, like you said, from I mean, from what you said, what I understood is that $100 that I have today is still going to be $100 or essentially later, except with a very less value of purchasing power. So you’ve got to choose an opportunity that will beat inflation and give you the returns that you absolutely,

Speaker 1 [24:08]

absolutely. So on one side, you have to factor inflation factor the fact that if you want to maintain your same standard of living and your same standard of giving, you will need x corpus, but human beings don’t like to just maintain their lifestyle, right, they want to enhance their lifestyle. So on one side, you have to increase your standard of living from here to here, your sense of getting from here to here. So you need to have a larger corpus for that. And moreover, with the eroding purchasing power because of inflation, you need to have a larger wealth. So the power of compounding has to take care of two aspects, one beat the inflationary pressure and give you access to a better standard of living and a better standard of gearing. So as you go ahead in life, you need to factors that have so you’re compounding as to address both these aspects to will in

Speaker 3 [24:52]

cycles. I am sure that these two points need to be you know, taken care of by introduction

Speaker 1 [24:57]

in DeSoto. You know, it’s actually common sense But the fact is that you don’t need a great financial expertise or financial education to do that, I’m not going to be where I am 10 years down the line, I’m going to be in a different place, I visualize myself there, and everybody wants to have a better standard of living or a sense of giving, right. And so therefore, you need a bigger budget for that, yes, so you need a bigger income stream, how’s it going to come, if I maintain what I have today, inflation is going to take you back. So I need to first of all ensure that I’m able to go to this level, and I’m also going to ensure that inflation doesn’t kill me. So I got to take care of all these aspects.

Speaker 3 [25:30]

So and sometimes, you know, we already know these concepts, you know, I know that you know, inflation has to be, you know, taken care of by the investments that I make, it has to grow, but then it you sometimes need an external factor to put that thing in your head where you actually start working towards it. So

Speaker 1 [25:46]

guys entering the job market today, he might only look at, okay, I need to buy a vehicle, I need to buy a home, etc. Now, he else was good, okay. But to get married, say five years down the line, I’ll have a couple of kids down the line have to look at their kids education, I have to look at their kids. For overseas education, I have to look at medical treatments, I have to look at marriage expenses, I have to look at a lot of things. So the the total wealth that you require, and the amount that you will be spending is going to gradually increase. Even if you first of all, you’re not going to maintain the same lifestyle. So also the needs are also going to change. So definitely. So you need to ensure that your money enough to be able to fund all this. Yes. And if you’re deciding to exit the active income stream and depend only on a passive income stream, you need to build this into your planning. So that has life goes beyond you can detach yourself from your workplace today. But if your lifestyle is going to change, then you will find yourself running short of cash very soon. So you need to ensure that your passive income is far ahead of your inflation and also far ahead of your emerging requirements. So both of these you need to factor.

Speaker 3 [26:50]

Got it. So there are so many investment options available. So like we were just talking about, but then you were telling me that you went into real estate as an investment option. And then you started diversifying within that, you know, vertical itself. So let me know what made you look at your estate as one of the options when it came to investing and getting a passive income source.

Speaker 1 [27:11]

So you must have heard of this Hindi phrase right? Roti, Kapda and makan food, clothing and shelter. These are the three basic primary needs, you know that everybody looks at food and clothing or more primal needs, etc. You look at that, etc. But having a house of one’s own is a cherished dream of everybody, whether in India or overseas. So not staying in a rented accommodation, it gives a sense of security that I have a home over a roof over my head. So that’s what the makan aspect of roti kapda makan is all about. So when I looked at getting or buying a property, it was not from an investment perspective, it was from the need to actually satisfy my comfort factor of having a house for myself. So a house to live in. So that is what it was. So that’s where the origin of my property investment started. But me and my wife Mila, we were very careful to ensure that we don’t make property investment in a haphazard fashion. Because let us understand property is not a liquid asset, you know, once you enter exiting is going to take some time and so therefore, you have to be careful about how you get into property market. So when we looked at that we looked at property as a property that we will be comfortable to live in sales, not as an investment of making money etc. And also with a better opportunity of not looking at a property investment with an emotional angle, we do not want to cling on to it for life for eternity, we want you to have the courage to be able to divest that once we believe that it is appreciated fairly and then move on to the next higher level of property. So if I were to look at our property investment decisions, we bought something which was appropriate for us in a in a city in a location within a city which we believed will appreciate Well, which would meet our current needs, hold on to it for a few years enjoy for a few years, ensure that you are tracking the market appreciation and when it appreciates, do not get emotionally clunking to it just diverse that at the same time be ready with another property purchase so that this investment at a higher value, we are able to put it into that the only area where I’ve used credit to propel my lifestyle is buying property. I have not lived in all my appliances, my vehicles etc are all bought on my own cash. The only way where I take loans and I used to take loans is for buying property because I knew that instead of paying rental to somebody and staying in a rented accommodation. I felt that it was better to pay the EMI and actually take a loan and meet that and ensure that by the time my EMI is completed, I’m free of the property the loan is free. The property is appreciated, I can get rid of that take a bigger loan bigger property and so within the property vertical, I’ve been churning properties like this at today, you know 10,15 years ago, you know when we start to stop my active income stream I was in today if I want to buy property, I can bind a property cash down, I don’t have to take a loan. So if you do the churn properly, without emotionally clinging to it, you can actually make money out of property, I have never looked at Property Investments has an income stream, for example, a lot of people say buy a commercial property, it will give you so much income etc. To my mind, somehow the logic doesn’t appeal. I think that the cost of interest that you block in in a commercial property, etc, the income that you get out of it, is really not going to beat that thing. And there are other hassles of managing commercial property and residential property, etc. So I don’t look at either residential or commercial property to make a rental income available to me, I don’t do that I only look at buying property in a location within a city where I’m sure it will appreciate. And it is very simple to understand whereby it will appreciate you need to have access to schools, to retail to hospitals, etc, close by, you should be in a well, a decent enough locality, etc. The demographics of the market should be right. If it is there, people will always need housing candidates, and therefore you need to be able to exit that. And some people make the mistake of saying that, Oh, this is my first house, I don’t want to sell it etc. We don’t fall into that logic. So I don’t have any emotional linkage with my at the right time. If arrived in the right price, I will exit and I will get into the next time. That’s my property decision.

Speaker 3 [31:17]

Yeah. So I think that’s very smart. Because, like you said, people in general, and especially Indians are very emotional. So if I buy a property, I myself will get too attached to it, right. So I think that’s very smart move that you’ve made. They’re like no emotional connection, but then I look at it in a very logical sense.

Speaker 1 [31:35]

When you buy, you have to buy with a lot of thinking and logic, when you track it. And when you realize that it is appreciated enough, you need to have the emotional disconnect to be able to exit that. Or when you exit that you can’t keep that corpus idle, you need to immediately have thought of another opportunity, take a larger loan, or take a larger investment, etc. Move it to the next property, keep doing this journey again and again. So you might start by investing buying a small, one bedroom, two bedroom, house, etc. Over a period of time, you can have a couple of years of yourself, you know, if you can do this properly, you will be able to do that. Yeah,

Speaker 3 [32:09]

so perfect. And also one important thing that I noticed from what you said was you said you stopped your active paycheck over a decade ago. Yeah, so I found that truly inspiring, to be honest. And what I mean, like what was the courage that you had? What made you feel like you can, you know, sustain on passive and composite confidence? Or were you so strong about the portfolio that you built? Or what was the actual reason behind you takes

Speaker 1 [32:34]

two things. One is the courage was there, the confidence was there because no one is able to see it’s ultimately mathematics. So you need to see what are the investment? What are the return that you’re getting, but that is secondary. The driving force for me the propelling force for me was that I want I don’t know, when my end is going to come. Today’s my you know, I’m already 61 I don’t know how long will I live the lot of things that I want to do in life, if I’m stuck to a nine to five career, my ability to whatever things I want to get started with limited. So my driving force to move away from a dependence on an active income was to live my life to the maximum my the name of my company is also life maximum. Why I do that is because I believe that I don’t have to be linked and connected to a career to determine my lifestyle. So that was the compelling force we chose, which drove me towards moving away from an active corporate career. So I 51 I stopped my core corporate income, but I do not, am not so called retiring and retiring myself and putting new tires onto my feet, so that I can journey in a different direction. So to me, what I want to do, whether it is following my passions, or photography, or scuba diving, or paragliding, or whatever hobbies I want to do, whether I want to do volunteer work, whether I want to coach and mentor people or consult wherever I have have be the master of my own time and destiny. That’s what I met. So that was a propelling force, which drove me towards that, to answer the question of the courage aspect. When you know that this is the corpus that you have, and I have not ventured into very risky investments. I know fairly consider the total corpus I had, this is going to give me so much return, this is going to give me so much return. And I’ve been maintaining a quarterly analysis every three months, I really look at that and say, whether I’m on track or not. So when I do that consistently, I know that this is going to give you so much returns. So I know what my needs are. So I know what my needs are, I know what the returns that I will get and that mathematics will be enough for me to take a decision whether I can disconnect my active income, see my investment is going to give me the chance whatnot. So as as you mentioned my tenure, in I stopped my activity I we came to Coimbatore in 2030. And after we stopped my corporate career in Bombay and Delhi, and this December will be the 10th year that I’m living without an active income. My corpus has only grown substantially without having an active income. Why does that happen? Because your investment portfolio is smart enough to be able to churning happens and you get enough money to counter inflation counter your lifestyle needs and also give you enough time You’re ready to do what you want. So that’s why I really did that. So it’s a little bit of courage. But largely it is planning and knowing where you want to spend, how much you want to spend, and having the discipline to be able to follow through.

Speaker 3 35:11

Thank you for throwing all light on that. So that was something I wanted to know, because not many people take that step. And again, especially

Speaker 1 [35:18]

today, I hear so many people who are youngsters, because so many opportunities, they they quit their active career, either in India or overseas, come back here, take a farming, take up other hobbies, getting to spirituality, get into other modes, etc, etc, do a lot of other activities, and do volunteering work extra because they know that they’re confident enough that if they want to go back to a job, they can, the job market will will come there. See there was a time like in my father, it’s right, he joined the company, he retired in that company that was the ethos of one particular point in time. So you joined the first job and you retire in that company. That was my father’s generation, my generation, we turned two or three jobs. Today, people change jobs after three or four years. So they know that the job market is alive and kicking. So if they wish to go back to the job market to an active income, they can do that. So the experiment, they want to get into entrepreneurship, they want to try other hobbies, they want to try becoming a social media influencer, they want to do a lot of stuff, etc. And the opportunities there, why not participate in life? Exactly. So that’s it. So I, I encourage people to look at that and don’t be determined, oh, I have to work till 58, which is the retirement days I have to work the 60 No, work as long as you want to do as long as you enjoy what you’re doing and you’re doing what you enjoy. That’s what I call living life to the maximum needs

Speaker 3 [36:29]

perfect. So, your thoughts on you know, Wealth Management and the disciplined approach towards handling finance has been truly insightful, but then what what me like what is the only two principles that helped you gain or you know, positive outcome of your financial journey until now,

Speaker 1 [36:45]

see some of the things which are fundamental to wealth management in my perspective, and whether it is when I started my career or whether it is today these are all golden principles, they they stay permanent, and there is no time aspect of the zero evergreen aspects. One is that what is your attitude towards wealth, like health, like any other assets, etc, wealth has to be respected, it has to be managed, it has to be nurtured and and you have to have a positive attitudes towards that. So that is extremely important, irrespective of timeline instead of your risk profile, etc. This is key. So your attitude towards wealth is very important. Number two, you need to have a very clear idea of what kind of a lifestyle you want a standard of living in a standard of giving. And also you need to have a timeline say that what is my financial independence milestone, when do I want to become financially free, you need to look at that. So once you have clarity on that, then your decision between active income passive income will all start kicking in. So you need to have a very clear understanding of what kind of lifestyle both standard of living instead of giving and your financial independence you need to have. That is the second point. The third point is that you also need to decide that I am going to follow a disciplined and systematic approach. Decide whatever approach you want to do. But then stick to it the discipline, you can take input from your financial manager, wealth manager, etc. You can take from friends, etc. But adopt some disciplined approach for yourself. The disciplined approach that I’ve taken for myself is once every 90 days, 33 months, I will review my portfolio. I will take small church at that time. But at the end of every financial year, in the first 15 days of April, I take time out I look at my entire portfolio, make major shifts every year. So every three months I turn at the end of the year also. That is my discipline, whatever works for you, you need to do that. But stick to the second aspect. third aspect is don’t close yourself to things that you know, be curious to learn about new opportunities, new investments, etc. amass knowledge, collect knowledge today, all the knowledge is available, use that and ensure that you’re aware of what is the latest offering. Once you know these already, the last thing that I would recommend is that have the courage to take decisions to experiment with each other, etc. Find out what works for you, you don’t have to, you know, participate in all the available opportunities, whatever you believe is good for you, whatever you believe is that that this investment is worthwhile is for the good of the planet, good for the humanity etc. If you want to fund that and invest in that do that. But please ensure that you know you do not stay stuck to your preset investment opportunities that you have be a giant be fleet footed and say that you can see ultimately flow is important in everything. Anything stagnant is not good design. So you can’t have stagnancy in terms of investment choices, you can’t get stuck to one but you need to ensure that your dynamic today luckily information is available. Maintain your corpus in a dynamic manner. That’s what

Speaker 3 [39:47]

I would recommend. Okay, so beautiful principles that you’ve got and what what I found really, you know, inspiring about this was you having the courage to you know, explore options that are around and then like you said, you don’t like it or some thing doesn’t work for you, you drop it then and then and then you move on to the next. So people have to be dynamic, like you said and explore everything that’s there around you. I think that’s the takeaway from this particular section, right? So so in this ever changing world of, you know, finance, what would be your best advice to the listeners to strike a balance between discipline, and you know, Wealth Management?

Speaker 1 [40:22]

Okay, so let me look at discipline and say, flexibility. You know, both are two different aspects of the same, you know, wealth management as a subject. And I look at discipline and flexibility of two sides of the same coin. Some people think that discipline is getting stuck to a particular habit, and repeating that again, and again, I don’t look at discipline like that. The way I look at discipline is having a method by which you evaluate all the options, having a systematic approach to something and getting started. So discipline, some people say that I get up at four o’clock every morning, five o’clock every morning, six o’clock every morning, I will stick to that note, there might be a day when you might have to get up at three o’clock, there might be a day when you can even afford to get up at eight o’clock. So you have to be flexible enough to do that. So the way I approach the subject is I adopt a very studious, methodical approach to evaluating every opportunity, that discipline I fought. But having done that discipline, when opportunities come across, I have to demonstrate the flexibility to use the discipline, whatever knowledge, okay, so if I don’t demonstrate the flexibility, then the discipline is of no use to me. There’s no, so it’s something like, I go to the gym, and I do 50 pushups every day. And I do that every day. So tomorrow, I find that look, I’m not in the mood to bishops, I would do something else, I might have to give up my discipline of 50 pushups, I might try some other, I might do a bench press, you know, I might do something else, right. So you need to have flexibility and discipline going side by side, as long as both of them are aligned towards your wealth management goals. And I think both of these

Speaker 3 [41:48]

go hand in hand. Perfect. So I think that’s again, like spot on. So yeah, they definitely go hand in hand. And like you said, they they are like, you know, two sides of one coin. So you cannot go with one without the other.

Speaker 1 [41:59]

Don’t do discipline just for the heck of discipline. Don’t be flexible, just for being flexible. Use these as two different sides of the same aspect. When you do the research, when you evaluate options, etc. Be agile enough, be flexible enough to evaluate that and see whether your financial goals and wealth goals are being met or not. So that’s what I would recommend to people. Yeah,

Speaker 3 [42:18]

thank you so much. We’ve come to the end of the podcast. But then before we let you go, what would you want to be the golden takeaway from this podcast for the listener? Sir,

Speaker 1 [42:27]

I would say if I were to take one thing, be clear about what you want to do in terms of wealth, be clear about your lifestyle. And I would strongly again, remember, I will repeat this many times during the podcast, both your standard of living and your standard of giving. Because when you generate wealth, it’s not just for yourself, what are you going to give back as a legacy? You need to look at that as well be clear about that. And also be clear about what are the kinds of financial independence? What are the kinds of financial freedom that you want? These two aspects in terms of clarity in terms of what you want? And what are the timeframes that you want, that will determine your journey on managing your corpus? Well,

Speaker 3 [43:02]

thank you so much, sir. I mean, the whole session was truly insightful. I mean, I’m sure the listeners definitely will agree with me as well. And these insights will definitely leverage those insights to take a you know, very confident stride in the arena of financial wealth building.

Speaker 1 [43:18]

I hope this has been useful to all of you. The principle that I live my life with is that live life to the maximum that’s the name of my company as well. I urge all of you the time that you have on this planet is very limited as a human being average lives on this planet for only 33,000 days. So do the maximum within that enjoy your life and ensure that you live your life to a very high degree of excellence. That’s all I would encourage. Thank you very much. Namaskar I’m strong.

Unknown Speaker [43:43]

Thank you so much.

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