In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.
Party conversations are a great pointer of public mood. Evening after evening spent hearing people talk of their second apartment in the City suburb was a tortuous phase that lasted at least a couple of years. Then, we had six months of the great new moral wave. Our own party woke up the middle class conscious and even super-rich corporate czars found this the best retirement job. Everybody suddenly believed that we were in the middle of a great moral rising. That lasted all of 49 days. Now, we have the business people sipping scotch and telling how Modi is the only answer. “He is the only remedy to bring real estate up. If he comes, prices will go up again” was the most outrageous wishful thinking one heard in a long time. Then, we have the cynics telling how we will have the rag-tag third front in power. They scare you about how the mother, sister and the ever-ready Reddys will form history’s most unstable government. “As if to compensate for all the chaotic predictions and premonitions, we have the weekly election surveys that give you the most “accurate” forecasts that get revised before they are understood. In the middle of all this chaos, we have a phase of serious job losses which the media is not reporting. We have banks struggling with piling NPAs. The reserve bank is battling inflation and a crumbling banking system. Pessimism, cynicism & bad news have become the order of the day. So, what should one be doing now? One should ignore the din and noise. Look at it this way. India has survived much worse. We have risen faster than we fell. This time will be no different. Investing can only be a leap of faith in times like these. The party conversations could well turn suddenly into gung-ho if we have a decisive electoral mandate. They have a history of being fickle. It is an individual choice you need to make. You must decide whether you want to be fickle or consistent in your investing. That is not a difficult choice to make.
Istrat: At the bottom of a cycle, the least you can do is think long-term.