Completing the first marathon (for the uninitiated, marathon means running 42.195 Kms) is an overwhelming experience for any runner. Imagine being someone who has never participated in any physical activity since childhood due to health constraints. With time, lifestyle disorders start impacting the body adversely, and one fine day you are diagnosed with elevated sugar levels. Now, what do you do?
This is what happened to me in the first 42 years of my life. Scared about the unfinished tasks at hand and my family’s dependency on me, I decided to take things under control. Gaining experience by experimenting with various activities, I zeroed in on running to put things back in order.
My first day at running was a disaster as I was unable to run for more than 25 meters at a stretch before getting breathless. Realising my low stamina levels, I felt embarrassed. Fortunately, this was the time when I read an article about a famous industrialist who started his marathon journey with pole-to-pole running. Today, he is an accomplished runner.
This inspired me to start with a walk-jog regime, increasing the jogging distance every week, and in a couple of months, I was able to run non-stop for 10 kms. I wanted to go for longer distances, hence I engaged a coach to guide me since long-distance running is an injury-prone sport. Under the able guidance of my coach, I realised that running is not only about strong legs. You need a strong body to help you sustain the pain and fatigue while aiming for longer distances. It also ensures that the risk of injury is minimised. Importantly, the coach also ensured that I was not going overboard in terms of pace, mileage, or other health-related parameters.
Guided with the right coaching, my marathon run was like a cakewalk. In fact, I was amply satisfied because I was able to remain active the whole day (even after completing my marathon run) rather than lazing around under the pretense of achieving my long-cherished dream.
When I introspect this six-year-long journey, I realise that embarking on a wealth creation journey is no different. So, what do we have to do when we start our wealth creation journey?
Assuming you are new to the world of investments, it is not advisable to jump to direct equity investing on Day One. Remember, my first run wherein I sprinted too fast to become breathless in a mere 25-meter dash!
To start with, we should gain experience by going slow. A systematic investment plan (SIP) is a better option in the initial period. Going forward, once we start understanding the way different investment vehicles behave under different situations, we can start getting aggressive and take concentrated bets. Maybe, engaging a qualified financial advisor will be beneficial since he will mentor you and help you stay focused. (Just like my running coach did).
Ironically, people assume that the only job of a financial advisor is to generate the maximum return. On the contrary, the main job of a financial advisor is to set the right expectation and then ensure that you remain focused on your pre-decided journey without taking detours. He assists in managing risks and behaviour, thereby ensuring you make fewer mistakes. Consequently, you will be generating better portfolio returns. More than focusing on return maximisation, he ensures that your portfolio is aligned with your life goals.
Over a period, with experience and guidance, you will embrace risk and volatility, create a long-term vision for your portfolio and always keep your eyes glued to the finishing line to ensure that the financial marathon is completed with the least stress and maximum satisfaction.