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The illusion of 6,000

Investing needs a disciplined effort and is different for each individual based on his financial position and future objectives, says Dhirendra Kumar.
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2005 03:34 PM IST

During the week ending November 28, there were apparently 28,000 weddings in Delhi. Of course, no one was actually counting—the number is an 'estimate' that some newspapers printed. If one takes this estimate at face value and assumes that there were 200 guests at each wedding, then the cumulative total of wedding guests in Delhi that week was 44 lakh, an impressive number by any means.

My share in this 44 lakh was seven, that is, I attended seven weddings in all. Now seven out of 28,000 is not a statistically valid sample but at each one of these, the usual chitchat veered towards the stock market, as it would happen at any gathering of five people in a bull market.

The excitement of the markets rising rapidly and the Sensex crossing 6,000 points was palpable. My indifference to the conversation and the inability to provide tips was not taken too kindly. It's nothing new - it happens to me every time India is blessed with extraordinary traders.

But this fascination of buying stocks when the Sensex gets sexy got me worried. People just do not seem to learn from their past mistakes.

All of us would have got carried away in one bull market or another to the extent of being obsessed with calling the broker every half hour or checking stock quotes on the numerous television channels or websites. We also remember what happened subsequently to our investments.

Why don't we just learn that personal money management is not the same as spending a few thousand rupees gambling during Diwali?

I can attribute this mentality on a few factors. First, I take the blame squarely on us—the media. The Sensex scaling new peaks is flowery copy material; part of the feel-good that will bring publication sales and drive our advertising.

But the reader does not know this revenue-driven rationale for blowing up "Sensex crosses 6,000" or "Sensex on a new high". Of course, people also lap all this up and as their net of investments is cast far and wide, they need to watch the ticker while eating at restaurants or working out at gyms.

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