A couple of weeks ago, a KBC contestant named Prashant Batar attained his 15 minutes of fame for winning Rs 1 crore and then losing it because he wanted Rs 5 crore. At Rs 1 crore, he knowingly took a risk on an answer that he didn’t seem sure of and lost, yielding him just Rs 3.2 lakh. I don’t know how Batar is feeling right now, but in the heat of the moment he seemed very certain that it was worthwhile to risking the R1 crore he had already won in order to try and get Rs 4 crore more. He could have walked away, but chose not to.
A couple of weeks later, there was another contestant who also came to a point where she could have risked all, but took a different decision. Jyoti Chauhan, a police constable from Rajasthan had won Rs 12.5 lakh when she was faced with a question of whose answer she was almost, but not perfectly certain.
However, she chose not to answer it because she really needed the money that she had made till that point and didn’t want to take any risk at all. As it turned out, the answer she would have given was the correct one, but she didn’t seem to regret the opportunity loss of another Rs 12.5 lakh. From whatever she told the audience about her circumstances in response to Bachhan’s prodding, it seemed clear that money she won would utterly transform her life. She took the right decision and chose to walk away.
I think these two little incidents hold lessons of great value to investors about how to look at investment goals and how to take the decisions to walk away from future gains. Often, investors think that their investment strategy and goals should be determined by what’s happening in the stock markets or in the economy. That may be true of institutions, but not of individuals. Individuals need to be focused on their own lives.
The answer to where you should invest and how far you should go before walking away lies more in what your personal goals are, rather than in the questions that you are asked.