The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

A short review

Naval Ravikant is the founder of AngelList and one of the most famous early stage investors in the world. He has a unique perspective of the world; one that I became aware of via Tim Ferriss’ podcast. His views on philosophy, health, happiness, money, achievement and ego all bear thinking about. So when I heard of a book collecting his thoughts on these and other subjects, I snapped it up. [Read More]

Choosing a credit card

How many and which ones

We’re taking a break from investments and asset classes to focus on other aspects of personal finance, starting off here with credit cards. Many people just take whatever credit card their bank offers and stick to it for ages. This is great, if you’re the bank, but really bad for you otherwise. First, a disclaimer. Credit cards can be both boon and bane. The only correct way to use one is to pay off your bills in full every month. [Read More]

Asset Classes - Real Estate

More than just houses

It is hard to write an article about real estate as an asset class, because it can mean so many different things. To most people, their real estate holding is limited to the house they live in. This might be both the largest part of their portfolio and the most illiquid. Counting the house you live in as part of your portfolio isn’t advised as it isn’t a quick or painless process (or even practical in some cases). [Read More]

The butterfly effect redux

How a lockdown in one city impacts the entire world

The retailing giant Target’s stock had its largest single day drop (25%) on June 6th this year, the day it announced its quarterly earnings. There were several reasons for it - product mix issues resulting in inventory that it needed to sell at a steep discount, supply chain woes continuing to impact it, significantly increased freight costs and more. This isn’t an article about Target though; Target’s woes are an illustration of what we’re going to speak about. [Read More]

Investing in a recession

Making lemonade with the lemons life gives you

The last few months have not been good for investors. Stock markets worldwide have fallen, in some cases sharply. Central banks have raised rates causing bond prices to fall. Crypto has been decimated. Less liquid markets like mortgages are slowly becoming illiquid. What does one do? There are a few approaches that you can take depending on your risk appetite, investment horizon and liquidity. Hold the line Even economists have been wrong about the length and severity of recessions before, but the consensus so far about this one is that it will be shallow and short. [Read More]

Asset Classes - Fixed Income

A primer on bond investing

Now that we’ve looked at Equities, we’ll pick up the next most popular asset class - fixed income. Fixed income is a broad term that covers a variety of debt securities also known as bonds. In terms of understanding them, there are a few terms to note: Face Value or Notional: This is the principal amount Coupon Rate: This is the interest rate paid out to the holders. The rate is usually stated annually, but can be stated per coupon term Coupon: This is the amount paid out as interest Coupon Schedule: This is the schedule of payments - it could be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually and so on Maturity: This is when the security expires(terminates) and the principal is paid back to the holders. [Read More]

Stock investing as a game

Surprisingly fun

Last week, we spoke about investing in equities. In it, I suggested using dummy portfolios as a good way to get started, so I thought I might as well expand on the theme and give you a good starting point for tools and tips. You need three things to get started: A portfolio tracker A news/results/notice/ conference call tracker A screener Lets break these down. A portfolio is a list of what you hold. [Read More]

Asset Classes - Equities

A primer on stock investing

We’re running a series of articles on different asset classes, and will start with the most important one - Equity. Shareholder’s equity, which is what we’re talking about(as opposed to say homeowner’s equity) represents fractional ownership in a company. Formally, equity is the money that would be returned to the shareholders, proportionally, once all debts are paid off. We’re focusing on equity as it has proved to be the best performing asset class over the last century. [Read More]

Risk and Return

Forever Twinned

In personal finance, you’ll see these two terms being thrown around a lot - risk and return. Today, we’ll take a deeper dive into what they mean. Loosely, return is the money you make on an investment. Risk is the possibility of loss. This is the definition many people run with, but the picture is incomplete. Strictly, return is the money gained or lost on an investment in a period of time. [Read More]

Taking advantage of unsecured debt

Two sides of a coin

If you read the last article, you’d be asking, is TGS off his rocker? Bear with me, I’m not. From the perspective of the person holding the debt, any form of unsecured debt is a massive, massive inefficiency. It costs a lot. It impacts your credit rating negatively. It has a lot of hidden fees and charges that blindside you. And did I mention how much it costs? But these very reasons are what makes it profitable for people to lend money without any collateral to hold on to. [Read More]