As is with most events in my life, this foray was accompanied by much trademark-serendipity excitement. I had shortlisted two longterm shares and two highly volatile traders shares. Very excitedly dialed the ICICI Direct phone banking number, selected the required option in the IVR and called slightly nervously to place my first ever 'buy order'.
Of course, nothing in my life gets accomplished without initial glitches and a lot of back and forth. Two phone calls, two log ins later, equipped with my account number and access code which I had to source and generate from my online account, information which was given to me sequentially as opposed to simultaneously (which would have obviously saved me time AND effort, but no. Im not that lucky), I heard the magic words 'Order executed'
And so the deal was done. Beginners luck meant that on friday, the day I actually purchased the share, the sensex dipped below 12k levels, which meant that I got really good deals already. Since then Ive followed up with many a transaction until I finally realised Ive put in a good chunk of money and now need to hang on and play around with what I have.
Since then Im given to refreshing the rediff page at a frequency proportional to the amount of times I tie and untie my hair (which if u know me, is a LOT). Its FUN to watch the net gain (and loss) each day, to understand market sentiments, interesting to learn how to evaluate whether a stock is good and other gyaan which Im fast catching onto. People sitting around me at work are renaming me the new go-to guru of the stocks given that my screen which earlier had multiple blog pages open now has only stock related articles and pages open. My name is now being replaced by other monikers of the stock market.
My first phone call after the first order was to Dad. Who congratulated me and promptly asked me which sectors, companies and who my broker was. I felt fantastic giving him accurate information regarding the investments, and finally about the fact that Im doing my own research and transactions, the middle man of course being the guy at ICICI Direct who executes the transaction. Whoever said women are bad at finance please step forward, so I may have a word with you.
Mistakes are of course, a part of this game. You win some, you lose some. Unfortunately having invested lump sums in MF's when the sensex was at 21k levels means Ive begun on a losing note anyway both MF's showing annual returns of - 32% :\ BAH and double BAH.
If anyones reading this, and a novice like me, here are a few tips.
- This is THE best time to invest. A lot of Stocks are just at or slightly above their rock bottom and therefore affordable.
- The Sensex crossed over to 12k in the last two months. People smart enough to have invested a few months ago have made a fortune already. (given the right choices etc)
- The most money is made and returns achieved in a bearish market as opposed to bullish contrary to popular opinion.
- You need a DEMAT account. Just call a broking house (ICICI Direct/Reliance Money/HDFC) or your broker and complete the formalities
- Broking charges are nothing daunting, approx 70paise per 100 rs of transaction. This could vary, but nominal charges is what I'm trying to get at.
- Diversify your portfolio. Don't buy stocks of more then 2 companies in the same sector.
- Keep an eye on Government controlled sectors, since a change in Govt and policies could affect the entire sector.
- Don't borrow ANY money to invest in stocks. Invest only what you can afford to. My thumb rule is that even if I Lose all of it, I should not be bankrupt. In other words, make sure you have some good ole safe options giving 8.5% returns. PPF, VPF Zindabaad.
- Stay away from Derivatives unless you have sound knowledge and resources to do so. Higher the returns, higher the risk.
- If you don't have a good risk appetite, but looking for higher returns anyway, then invest in Mutual funds, but ensure that it is an SIP (systematic investment plan) which will average out cost of units when the market shows a steep incline/decline which would be a good buffer. I learnt this the hard way :( Equity Linked Saving schemes are also tax saving so you could claim this during tax calculations.
Now Get out there!