The audience at Investment Pathshala. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
The “30-30 game of life” in an age of 20-20 cricket was in focus at a workshop on the importance of investments in the backdrop of depreciating rupee and increasing life expectancy.
The session called Investment Pathshala was presented by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, in association with Anandabazar Patrika and The Telegraph, on Friday.
“The necessity of investments cannot be overstated because our lives are a 30-30 game. Given the stress levels of the day, most of us would work for no more than 30 years or so. But then, with advances in medicine, many of us would live for another 30 years and this phase needs to be planned for,” said a senior official of ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, his presentation aimed at the uninitiated.
Around 160 delegates, including people from the business community and students, attended the workshop.
The evening began with a skit, an interaction between four friends who have just started their professional careers, that tried to clarify a few misconceptions about mutual funds.
The skit drove home the point that basic documents like identity and address proofs, PAN cards and bank account details were all that were needed for mutual fund investments, contrary to the popular belief that paper work to invest in such funds was cumbersome.
One of the characters in the play tells another that even small amounts can be invested in mutual funds on a monthly basis.
During the presentation that followed, came out some scary estimates given the inflation rates.
A loaf of bread cost Rs 10 in 2000, Rs 16 in 2010, Rs 26 in 2010 and Rs 42 in 2030, a slide said. An estimate suggests that a litre of milk would cost Rs 100 and a kilogram of apple Rs 230 in 2030.
As the evening wore on, the presentation went on to explain the different kinds of mutual funds — liquid, debt and equity — and underlined the tax benefits to be derived from some of the schemes.
“It is important to set your goal. For very short-term needs, like a curved-screen TV you are planning to buy next year, you could save in ‘liquid’. Similarly, for a three-year period, debts could be the way to go,” the official said.
He, however, reminded the audience that there were no guarantees in mutual funds but calculated investments have been usually proved to be profitable.
Prabir Chowdhury, a retired central government employee, asked the ICICI experts in the open session why it was necessary to consult a financial advisor before making an investment.
He was told that just as one would go to a doctor if he exhibited symptoms of a deadly disease, he should consult a financial advisor before making mutual funds investments because such investments were fraught with risks and there were no guarantees.
“Often people look at only recent performances of companies to decide on their investments but there other factors that need to be taken into account. Only qualified advisors are conversant with those factors,” said the official.
The ICICI experts stressed the need to start investments early and pointed out with figures that the difference in investments could be huge if someone started investing at 26 instead of 25.
“The presentation was very informative. I was able to clarify some of my doubts regarding mutual funds. I also realised I need to brush up on my knowledge of ‘debts’,” said Anu Panjiyara, 23, who has just completed her BCom honours from Bhawanipore Gujarati Education Society College.