Meeting financial goals with Hemchandra – Fibonacci series


I have always harped on why the rate of interest and the tenure are the two most critical factors to make the law of compounding be a major friend for you.

In India we have had a lock down for the last 3 weeks. So we are all working from home. But on weekends, because there’s no place to visit or friends to meet, we are getting a lot more time to do research. On one of these research journeys a few days back I was reading about the Hemchandra – Fibonacci series.

It seems about 3000 – 4000 years ago when there was very little written text as a medium of transfer of knowledge, Indian sages used to build the scriptures in such a way that there was scientific pattern so that the texts were rhythmic and easier to learn.

So what’s the series – we will not go into the mathematical part of the background – but concise to say that it defines any number to be the sum of the immediately preceding two numbers. So if your first number is 1 and the second number is also 1 then the third number will be (1+1) meaning 2. The fourth will be the summation of the 3rd number and the second number (2+1) equaling 3. The fifth will be summation of 4th plus 3rd (3+2) equalling 5. Now starts the interesting part the sixth number is fifth plus fourth (5+3) equals 8 and the 7th number is (8+5) equaling 13…..see the image above

This rattled my mind completely. Which brings me back to the introduction. I had always stressed that starting early even with a small amount and being invested over a long term are the basis of wealth creation. Which meant that those who started late in life on this journey could not benefit from the “number of years” part of the equation.

But understanding this sequence changed everything… explain this let’s make a few assumption. For comparison we assume that the first person starts at age 25 while the second one starts at age 40. Let’s call the first person Anil and the second Tom.

Now Anil starts investing USD(or Rupee) 500 per annum from age 25 till age 57 at a rate of interest of 15%. At age 60 he will have a corpus of USD(or Rupee) USD (or Rupee) 505436 while he would have put in only USD (or Rupee)16500 (500*33 years), the compounding would have created the magic to turn this into such a large sum. This is what I have been harping over the last few years to everyone who is even willing to give me half an ear of attention. Even with small amounts if you start early you can become wealthy because of compounding.

Now comes the interesting part. Suppose you are in your mid 30s or early forties, you can still make a similar or larger amount of corpus for yourself if you follow the Hemchandra-Fibonacci concept.

At age 40, Tom starts with investing USD 500(Rupee) in the first year at the interest rate of 15%. He has the same agenda to have a corpus by age 60 and invests till age 57. In the second year he again invests USD (or Rupees) 500. In the third year following the principle he adds the first 2 years investments and invests USD 1000/-. In the fourth year he invests 1000+500 (Adding the previous 2 years) equaling 1500/-. In the fifth year he invests 1500+1000 (adding fourth year plus third year) equaling 2500/-. In the sixth year he invests 2500+1500 (adding the investment of fifth year with the fourth year) equaling 4000/-. If he continues in this fashion by the eleventh year i.e at age 52 he would have amassed a larger corpus than Anil at age 60.

So what’s the catch here. The catch is that you have to maintain the disciple of ensuring you are investing the sum of the previous two years. As an example in the eleventh year of the above situation with Tom, he would have to invest 44500/- and over the years he would have a total sum of 116000/-

I have not included the maths of how I have made the calculations, but if you are interested, I could share them with you separately.

Now knowing human nature its very difficult for human beings to ensure discipline of increasing the investments to be the sum of the previous 2 years ( Read Charles Duhigg “The Power of Habit” or Marshal Goldsmith “Triggers”). Second the physical ability to earn so much money that you can spare a summation of the previous two years is quite difficult except if you are an entrepreneur in a high growth market with a high growth product or service (what Richard Koch calls the STAR principle).

For most mortals its better to start early and put investments in automatic route in a Systematic Investment Plan so that the money gets puled out of your account before you get to use it. Its easy and because you don’t have to think, it gets done. But if you have crossed the age of 35, you don’t need to lose heart. As long as you can continuously increase your annual investment at a significant rate you could still meet your long term plans and retire rich.

Till the next time.

Carpe Diem!!!

Investments as confidence builder

Financial Independence, Uncategorized

I have been writing about how investments can help in getting financial freedom. Have written extensively on how even a few percentage points of differences can make substantial differences in your earnings in the long term. Have also shared about how having different buckets of investments can also help you plan your vacations or other activities, which can make you happy.

Yesterday I was reading a book by Dean Graziosi – Millionaire success habits. While this book is not about investing styles and strategies, I would highly recommend you reading this book for the overall enhancement in the quality of your life. It helped me identify a few blindspots which I didn’t know I had.

In one of the chapter’s. he talks about stacking some money from whatever you earn to increase confidence. This was a new take on a topic dear to me.

I have also written earlier about how even very small amounts invested over long periods of time can make you wealthy, because the amount is never the issue…. it is the duration and the interest rates which determines how wealthy you can become.

Dean’s logic is that when you stack even small amounts, it gives your brain the satisfaction that there’s money for a rainy day and therefore you feel better, more confident and your decision making improves.

I would think confidence is a precursor to multiple things other than just pacifying your hyper active brain and taking decisions. When you are confident, you are buy definition not fearful. As per a study human beings have 70-80 thousand thoughts in a day out of which more than 70% are negative thoughts. Since our brain still has “fight” or “flight” response to most things these negative thoughts spiral into some of the other kind of fear.

Fear can be from you losing your job to your health to speaking to an unknown person or speaking in public. Most of the fears however boil down to either not having money (food) or health which are the most primal fears going back to the time when we lived in forests and hunted for food.

By stacking money and investing it you can give your brain positive inputs so it does not go into the fight or flight mode.

In addition the compounding equation starts playing. An ideal way to do this would be putting regular amounts into SIPs from mutual funds or into SIPs of ETFs. You can start SIPs in India from as low as Rs500/- (USD 7/-) per month.

Most people, like Tony Robbins says so often, over estimate what they can do in one year but under estimate what they can do in a lifetime. This Rs6000 (Rs500*12months) will become close to Rs100,000/- (USD 1500/- ) if invested for 20 years at an interest rate of 15%. If every year they were to invest a similar amount, then after the 20th year, EVERY YEAR, even if they don’t invest anymore they will definately have Rs100000/- coming without effort and securing their future.

Now if you know that even the small amounts of money that you are stacking will ensure your future, you would be able to take on your “present” with more confidence. And if you make your “present” better, your future will automatically turn out to be better because your future is based on the foundation of your “present”


Financial Independence, Uncategorized

I just finished reading the book The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg.  I had bought this book long back but it was lying on my Kindle… forgotten.

It has been my habit, that whenever I saw a new recommendation, I ended up buying the book.  Especially so when it was available on Kindle because then there was the instantaneous gratification of having the book in my possession.  This was not a good habit because I always had a huge backlog of books to be read.  Now I have taken a sabbatical from buying any more new books, till I finish the complete set lying on my bookshelf as well on my Kindle.   I haven’t bought a book in 3 months and I have a feeling that I may not need to buy for another 6 months because of the backlog.

This book is a very interesting read and Charles shows with very interesting examples of how it’s very difficult to break a Habit He talks about the loop – “Cue – Habit – Reward”.  If you are not cognisant of this loop you cannot change behaviour.

Recently on ETNow there was a news item which mentioned that the amount of SIP flows had not changed dramatically even-though the stock market had been faltering over the last 12-18 months.  {If you have been following my posts then you would know that a SIP is a Systematic Investment Plan where money is directly debited from your bank account every month automatically}

This news item came as I was finishing this book and it got me thinking – is it that the flows have not reduced because of a habit as Charles Duhigg says or because of inertia or because the investing population in India has become so mature that they realise that in equity investment the short term rise and fall of markets have little significance.

Only one of my friends asked me, if she should change the scheme in which she had the SIP to another scheme for the SIP.  She did not mention about stopping her SIP.

I doubt if the population investing in Mutual Funds has become more mature.  This could be pure conjecture but the SIP culture in India is not more than 5 years old.  So a population maturing in 5 years becomes doubtful.

What could play is that people have inertia. So they do not go to the mutual fund agent or to the mutual fund site to stop the SIP.  My wife I think is from this constituency and the fact that I keep telling her that equity is for long term.

After reading the book I realised that there could be a third play here.  The media and the association of mutual funds has made SIP investing more like a movement. Now as Charles points out, once something becomes a movement then it creates leaders from individuals at the community level and the movement keeps going from strength-to-strength.

He gives a clear example of Rosa Park and Martin Luther King and how that one incidence in the bus and the links that Rosa Park had propelled the civil rights movement in  the USA.

I have a feeling something similar is happening here with the SIP movement.  Since people in offices and homes are now all talking about SIPs there will be a lot of peer pressure on a person if she thinks of shutting – off their SIPs.

Another thing which I think could be happening is that since the individuals have got into the Habit of living on a smaller amount in the bank, they do not feel a pinch if the amount they have out into a SIP does not appreciate for a few months.

Due to the amount of SIPs continuing the amount of money coming into the stock market has not fallen dramatically.  Due to this the market has not fallen because when the foreign institutional investors take money out the domestic institutional investors keep buying.

the AMFI and channels like ETNow need to be congratulated on creating this movement with their sustained initiatives in India.

Do you know of any such movements for creating a better financial future in your country…I would like to hear.

Till next time….

Benefits of SIP – nothing to do with the image above

Financial Independence, Uncategorized

I am a person whose attention span is very limited.  I end up getting attracted to the next bright object all the time.  It’s extremely easy to distract me.  Due to this, even in my office I have taken a room which is in the corner so that my distractions are limited.

Whether its books – my other hobby – the moment I am given a reference of a new book, I end up buying it from Amazon for my Kindle.  I have more than 30 books which I have bought and not even started reading and there would be another 30 which would be in semi-read state.  This does not account for the number of physical books that I have which are lying unread and semi-read, in my book-shelf.

Similarly its with investments.  I see a new theory or a new company or a new investment avenue and I start researching it on how I can benefit from it.

That’s where the benefit of investing via a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) comes in.  It’s forced money which gets deducted from my bank account.  And since I don’t want to get a message saying that the SIP was not executed because of a lack of funds, I end up ensuring that there are always enough funds to cover my SIPs.

I originally started my SIPs with just Rs1000/- per month in 2013.  Thats about USD16/- that’s all.  Over a period of  time I have been increasing the amounts in various mutual fund schemes.

While I was investing in the equity mutual funds, I was also studying some of the good companies.  I read a whole lot of books on this – I have shared names of the books in an earlier post – and took every opportunity to watch videos on Youtube where legendary investors shared their knowledge.

Once I was able to analyse some of the good companies which had good management, I started SIPs for those individual stocks, again with very small amounts.  The “kick” of investing in individual stocks is

  1. I don’t have to pay a service charge to the mutual fund manager.  The 2.5-3% service charge that they take for managing our money can substantially reduce the overall wealth you can create.  I have shared complete tables of these calculations in earlier posts.
  2. When the company declares a dividend or gives bonus shares then the pleasure I get is immense.  This does not happen when you have mutual funds.

Having mentioned the two points above, I still have a lot of SIPs going into mutual funds, because I am not in a position to identify mid and small companies on my own because of paucity of time.  Having a fund house do that for me makes more sense even if they are charging me a percentage, which eats up into my returns.  Once I take my retirement, I intend to even do this on my own.

Another psychological advantage of SIPs is that your brain now works to live within the limits of the money which is leftover after accounting for the SIPs. This is a very important factor for people like me who end up choosing the next bright object.  This keeps me focused on ensuring that I take up any new adventure only after I have paid for my SIPs.

From a financial perspective SIPs ensure that you get the advantage to being able to buy more when the price goes down thus ensuring you take advantages of the draw down in the market.  On your own you would never be able to time the market so well.

I even started a few SIPs for my son so that he gets the advantage of age on his side.  Even to my friends, I force them to start these for their children at as young an age as possible so that they get the power of compounding on their side.

Whatever your age or whatever you earn, you can start investments into a SIP and make your money work while you sleep.

Especially women (and girls) – they have this big “mindblock” on not knowing finance.  With a SIP you don’t need to know anything about finance or stocks.  You just need to tell your financial advisor about the amount of risk you are comfortable and she will suggest a scheme for you.  You could also go to sites like or moneycontrol where they showcase the risk ratings of funds.  You could just choose from any of those.

Till the next time.

Carpe Diem!!!