Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Top Blog Posts of 2007

2007 has been the year of blogs for me. In September 2006, I did not know the word "blog"! But after starting a blog in October 2006, this is my 400th post!! Along the way, I have learnt a lot from bloggers both within the country and outside. So when Seth Godin asks, "Why not be great?", while I celebrate my 40th birthday, I feel like 25!

My Top India Blog Posts 2007 are (not necessarily in any order, all of them are fabulous!)
There would be some that I have missed putting here. There would be some that I may not have seen. You can help.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Personal Finance in a pocket-friendly presentation

Everything you need to know about personal finance on the back of 5 business cards!

Yes, everything!

Are you doing something worthwhile today? then Twitter

One week of Twittering and it's getting addictive straightaway! As I am getting to discover the potential of Twitter, it looks like a lively blog, a RSS feed, a worthwhile chat/forum and a SMS service all rolled into one.

Most of all, it prods you to think whether you are doing anything worthwhile today!!

Gaurav has everything about the first twitter meet in this post.

Check out my Twitter page!

Web Jobs of the Future

I am delighted with the vast resources that the web has to offer. During the last one year, I have discovered amazing blogs, forums, websites that has enriched my life.
I was wondering about the various job opportunities that the web can offer and I saw some amazing jobs like this one at PBWiki which says:
We're a small team of bright young folks looking to help the world (and make some money) by making a hosted software as a service that's simple, fast, reliable, and easy to use. Making things simple can be pretty complicated sometimes and we would love the help of brilliant people like you.
All of these positions require people who are skilled independent thinkers, know how to tactfully make it clear to a boss that the boss is wrong, are unafraid to fail, and have a keen sense of daring backed by solid logical reasoning ability. You'll be expected to communicate clearly, effectively, and constantly. You'll also have a lot of fun. :)

I'm looking for some myself!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Zoho Creator - Easy way to create database apps

Zoho Creator is a free online service to create and share database applications. Even for a newbie like me, I found it easy and useful.

I have created some applications which I never thought could do on my own. There is this application where when you enter a form, it narrows down your choices as you go along. And finally when you are through, it sends an email notification to all concerned. Could be easy for techie guys but not for dumb people like me (dumb with technology, of course :)

And when I got stuck up with something, I tried my luck with the Support guys by clicking on the feedback button. Within hours, I got a mail reply helping me out. In fact they created a sample application for me!!

Thanks to Latha and Karuppuchamy (The support people!)

Watch demo video here:

Do check out this app and help me figure out the top India blog posts 2007!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Best India Blog Posts 2007

It is the season of lists and reviews. 2007 has been my Year of Blogs. And to give something back and to get more out of the India blogosphere, I need your help to explore and list out the best India blog posts of 2007.
If some blog post has touched your heart and or has changed the way you look at things by its sheer logic and intelligence, please let me know by filling out the following form. I'll be grateful.

I'm planning to approach my blog friends who are veterans to help me figure out the very best of 2007. These veterans are extremely busy people. I can convince them only when I have a list of quality nominations. Please help!

India's first online weekly on personal finance

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Database Created in Minutes by Zoho

Within a few hours of my last post, I have created a new database form, thanks to Zoho

Update: The edges are not coming right here. Check out the form on my site

Building Database Management Forms in Websites

I wanted to have a form on my personal finance website where readers could fill out select financial products/service and Companies from which they need more information.

I'm a newbie with coding but the last one year has taught me that there are loads of technology available for free download and you need a lil' bit of enterprise to tweak it to your advantage.

Looking for extensions for my Joomla site, I stumbled on Facileforms where I saw that I could build some forms without knowing any bit of coding.

Two three hours down the line, I finally could figure out the form building. Check this out:

Get Information from select Financial Companies

I need to work on what I'll do with the data. How do I forward them to the companies? How do I build a database for all the data and have some analysis of the same?

This posts seems to lead me to Zoho Creator, I guess. Or Zoho CRM? They have built some lovely apps for newbies like me.

Anybody can help? I'm rather enjoying scaling these challenges/new learnings!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Retail investors have the power

Nesil Staney has a report on "Retail Money can steer markets soon" in Mint

He reports,
Small investors could soon call the shots in India’s equity markets say some analysts, who expect up to $32 billion (Rs1.26 trillion) of household savings to have flowed into the market in the 12 months to March 2008. This could insulate India’s markets from global shocks, much like China’s and South Korea’s.
This amount is almost double the record $17 billion purchases of Indian equities by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) this year, till mid-December.
I believe in the power of retail investors and reinforces my belief that better financial decisions of individuals can impact the economy in a big way.

The asset allocation thumb rule says that the amount of your investments in equity should be 100- your age. Now the average age of Indians is believed to be around 26. So our equity investment should be 74% while it is actually 6-7%.

Can you imagine what happens if we increase it to 20%? Rs 240,000 crore ($60 billion) will flow into the stock markets!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Search for Personal Finance Websites in India

On Dec 17, 2006 (an year ago), I wrote about the top personal finance sites which helped me with their resources. I had just started on my blog journey then.

Now, within an year, when you search for "Personal Finance Websites in India", my three month old site features on the first page of Google search results along with this blog.

On my birthday, my website appeared as the first search result in Google, Yahoo and MSN Live Search!! It still is the first result on Yahoo/MSN today.

A friend told me that I've come a long way in an year. I feel that I'm just getting started!

Friday, December 7, 2007

40 today, going on to be 25

I'm forty today. I remember the famous lines of Charles Dickens in The tale of Two Cities:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." -- and

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

It is also a time when I need to take stock of my life and see if I can make it better. Some defining quotes and thoughts about my life as I approach being forty are:

1. Anything that doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger
2. I need to be prepared for the worst and start living. Don't just sit there, Do something!
3. I believe that the future has many good things for me.
4. Being old is a matter of mind. If I don't mind, it does not matter. I believe that the best years of life are ahead.
5. Perhaps our character works like a muscle: it needs to be torn down, before it can be rebuilt, stronger than ever.
6. Take my advice. I don't use them anyway!!
7. The only people who find what they are looking for are fault finders.!

Having said that, let me see if I can build an action plan for myself and set a goal to achieve when I'm 50! The possible goals are:

1. Will know more about Personal Finance than anyone else in India.
2. Build the No.1 site on personal finance in India.
3. Maintain a body weight of around 78 and be more healthy!
4. Be able to control and obliterate the evil in me. LAGE RAHO!
Be able to see life as a movie.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Issues in Macroeconomics in India

Ajay Shah has a paper on the Macroeconomics in India where he first highlights the aspects where the Indian economy has changed substantially when compared with a decade ago. He explains lucidly about what fiscal policy and monetary policy in today's India should be doing, and propose directions for institutional reform

He says,
[I]ndia has not yet had a crisis deriving from the inconsistent monetary policy regime. Monetary and fiscal reform is required to achieve a consistent speculation -proof policy framework, to smooth the process of India's integration into the world economy. The ideal scenario for the 2007-2010 period involves are that puts a sound macroeconomic framework into place before such a crisis comes about.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Subscribe to Convenient RSS Feeds: My Top Ten

Since the time I have started using Google Reader, the internet has become a convenient and friendly place. If you want to keep up with the sites that interests you, want them delivered for free within hours of the content being updated on the site, RSS Readers are hugely recommended.

It's possible to go through a 10-50 blog posts and sites in thirty minutes. And these 30 minutes would keep you updated on everything that might interest you. Google Reader and Bloglines are quite popular. I use Google Reader.

The RSS feed url for this blog is

The RSS feed url for my Personal Finance site is

Some feeds that I subscribe to and would recommend wholeheartedly are:


And if you want the free subscription by Email, click here

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do financial experts really help you to take an informed decision?

ABC* is on a roll since the beginning of the second quarter of the current fiscal year. The stock witnessed sharp volatility in the last few days, though it gave up most of its gains. Technically, the stock is showing signs of good movement in the short term, but I think with a long term perspective, there are better bets available in the market.

I thought I understood that. But did I? Please help me what did the "expert" mean by those simple sentences. Let me try to deconstruct those simple lines.....
  1. On a roll: I think this stock is rocking, buy!
  2. since the beginning of the second quarter of the current fiscal year: Oh, it is a recent phenomena and what happened before that, we don't know. Doubt!
  3. sharp volatility: looks scary.
  4. gave up most of its gains: Bad, I have to rethink whether the stock is rocking!
  5. showing signs of good movement: Good, after all it's a Buy recommendation after all.
  6. with a long term, there are better bets: Doubt again about the stock.
The expert has done his job. He has told me nothing and still is called an "expert". Moreover the leading daily also warns you that they are not responsible for your decisions.

There is a bigger issue of the subprime mess. Is there some accountability for the top dogs of financial services industry, the highly rated experts, who are responsible for the crisis?

*ABC is a stock which is real and the recommendation as above is verbatim.

What they teach you is to "Take responsibility for your own financial decisions"

India's first online weekly onpersonal finance

Monday, November 26, 2007

Comparison Chart of ETFs in India

The Scott Adams unified theory says that invest 70% of your money in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement. Let's check out some important data on expenses and return for the ETFs available in India

ETF Report as on November 24, 2007

Scheme Name

NAV (23-Nov-2007)

Expense Ratio (30-09-07)

Simple Annualised Return (%)

1 Year

3 Years

Since Inception

Bank BeES






Gold BeES












Junior BeES






Kotak Gold ETF






Liquid BeES






Nifty BeES












Reliance Gold ETF - Dividend






Reliance Gold ETF - Growth



















S&P Nifty




BSE Sensex




Crisil Liquid Fund Index








CNX Nifty Junior




Source and thanks to Sunita Pawar, Customer Care Manager, Bench Mark Mutual Funds for the immediate response to our email

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Real Story of Expert Fund Managers and Advisors

Here is a profile of a successful American Stock Broker

Some excerpts, but you must see the full article

For Blaine Lourd, the mere fact that he landed in the middle of this industry and became a success was reason enough to hate himself.

Blaine twisted himself into ever more intricate knots to disguise his inability to pick winning stocks or money managers, his antithesis was rising.

............. founded in 1981 on a simple idea: Nobody knows. Nobody knows which stock is going to go up. Nobody knows what the market as a whole is going to do, not even Warren Buffett. A handful of people with amazing track records isn’t evidence that people can game the market. Nobody knows which company will prove a good long-term investment.

Even Buffett’s genius lies more in running businesses than in picking stocks. But in the investing world, that is ignored. Wall Street, with its army of brokers, analysts, and advisers funneling trillions of dollars into mutual funds, hedge funds, and private equity funds, is an elaborate fraud.
Got the link from Ajay Shah's Blog
India's first online weekly onpersonal finance

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What are the different charges of a ULIP?

Unit linked Insurance Plans (ULIP) provide the twin benefit of providing the benefits of investing in the stock market and covering your risks. It is important to understand that a Unit Linked Life Insurance product is different from the traditional insurance products and are subject to the risk factors.

The premium paid in Unit Linked Life Insurance policies are subject to investment risks associated with capital markets and the NAVs of the units may go up or down based on the performance of fund and factors influencing the capital market and the insured is responsible for his/her decisions.

Other than the fact that the investment risk in investment portfolio is borne by the policyholder, let us take a look at the different charges in a ULIP.




HDFC Standard

Bajaj Allianz

Plan name

Profit Plus

Lifetime Gold

HDFC Unit link

UnitGain Plus Gold

Premium allocation





Mortality Charges (/1000 )

1.80 for age 35

1.46 for age 30


1.74 for age 30

Fund Management Charges

0.75% for Bond

1.50% for growth

0.75 % for preserver to 2.25% for multiplier


0.95% for Bond, 1.75 % for growth

Policy Charges

Rs 60 per month in first year, Rs 20 after that.

No other charges, but FMC can be raised to 3.5%

Rs 20 per month for administration

Rs 600 per annum inflating at 5% per annum

Switching charges

4 free, Rs 100 after four

4 free, Rs 100 after four

24 in a year free, Rs 100 after that.

3 free, Rs 100 after that

Miscellaneous charges

Rs 50 for alteration

Switching can increase to Rs 200

Charges for revival, withdrawal, etc at Rs 250 per request.

Rs 100 per transaction for revival, etc

There are a few parameters like the flexibility of premium paying term, the amount of cover available for disability, illness and accident which has a wider variation among the Insurers.

I dislike the heavy premium allocation being charged. Out of the Rs 100 you pay to your Insurer, only Rs 70 odd goes to your investments (Rs30 in case of HDFC!!)

India's first online weekly onpersonal finance