Ever take a machine for repair and find it working perfectly in front of the repairman? Ever expect an important call and have the network fail you exactly at the time of the call? Ever make the perfect coffee only to be called away to a meeting that lasts just long enough for your coffee to get cold?
You can blame all of these situations and more on a sadistic guy called Murphy.
Here are the stories of 4 people from different walks of life and different parts of the country who Murphy just wouldn’t leave alone, no matter what their savings choices.
A Bengali Bhadralok (gentleman)
Shyamal Kar, a senior clerk with the West Bengal government, travels daily to Kolkata from Dankuni, a sleepy town in the outskirt of the city.
Mr Kar, almost 50, is very cautious when it comes to investing money. All his money is either ‘safely’ parked in fixed deposits of government banks or with the government-owned LIC. His criterion of safety is simple: ‘money must grow slowly and steadily’. He has no stomach for volatility in stock markets (considering all the other indigestion problems).
However, he fell for a ‘guaranteed’ return scheme, which promised to double his investment in 2 years. Mr Kar, who hasn’t seen his money grow more than 6-8% a year, couldn’t resist the offer his trusted LIC agent had for him.
Five years later, Mr Kar is still waiting for his money.
Murphy must still be enjoying his little joke.
A Delhi Real Estate Junkie
Pawan Bali (32), an employee in an IT company in Noida, is very relieved today. He is finally taking possession of the flat booked in 2008. Another flat booked as an investment in 2012 seems like a lost cause. The building is yet to rise above the 10th floor; construction was stopped due to environmental issues. Pawan’s flat is on the 15th floor.
60,000 is the EMI for the loans taken to buy the flat. His monthly expenses are going up every month and his wife is not happy.
He now wants to get rid of his second flat, but rates have plunged, and buyers are not interested in buying projects that are mired in legal issues. Pawan’s investments are now literally hanging in thin air.
A 20-something go-getter from Mumbai
Devang is a sales executive of a renowned MNC. He’s barely 28 and his monthly salary is already in six figures. An MBA in finance and marketing, Devang wanted to make some quick bucks before he gets married.
He invests in stocks and mutual funds, but he wanted more of a kick from his investments. Just like in Salman Khan’s movie ‘Kick’, normal was just not good enough. He decided to enter the derivatives market. Futures and options suit his go-getter personality. Every morning, he would give instructions to his broker to take positions in a particular stock, and by afternoon unwind his positions.
Things went well till his losses or profits were limited. One day he took a highly leveraged bet, which went wrong and now he is saddled with heavy losses as well as debt. Our go-getter is now yo-yoing between friends and relatives in order to ‘raise’ money and pay off his debt. Sigh! He now has to cancel the honeymoon to Europe, or bank on his in-laws for a good dowry. Kicks are all he gets from himself these days.
A Chartered Accountant from Vijaywada
Jyothi Reddy, a Chartered Accountant, just got a big bonus from her real estate employer. Jyothi, though a finance professional, is rooted to her family ‘values’ when it comes to investment. And when it comes to value, nothing is more valuable than gold, more so since she is a woman. She’s not averse to stocks and mutual funds, but they are just the fringe players in her portfolio.
As soon as the bonus was announced, Jyothi started planning a visit to one of her favourite city jewelers. But the same jewelers cheated her when she needed to sell the gold to pay for her daughter’s treatment. She got a very small fraction of what the gold was now worth and all the money was spent.
It’s not fair to blame Murphy for everything, though. Although all four of them wanted to save smartly, they just made some bad choices that brought their house of cards down. Their inherent need to invest in gold, real estate, and guaranteed returns proved to be their undoing, even though Indians are traditionally good savers.
Go beyond what tradition mandates when it comes to investments. Maybe then, Murphy can’t get you.
Or maybe, he will? Unpredictable and finicky bloke that he is?