First, I wish to thank all my readers for sending me e-mails presenting their point of view on my series on Want To Be Rich? Some have asked me not to stop at part 9. Others have pointed out different points of view. I have therefore decided to continue the series till I exhaust all my ideas.
But before I restart, please understand that I do not claim any expertise on this subject. These are my views of managing money. It is intended to make you think about money and your future.
An important ground rule in your path to becoming rich is to understand that high returns are always associated with high risks. Always. So, if someone is promising you high returns but telling you that there is no risk, then that person is making a quick money - from you. So, please venture into high risk-high return schemes only if you have excess money and/or if you are young.
A relatively safe instrument of making money from stock markets is what in India is called the Mutual Fund Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). This is particularly affective when the share market is in an upheaval. The most important think to remember in an SIP is that you need patience.
The way it works is similar to a recurring deposit schemes. You put in a fixed amount of money to the scheme every month. When the share market is down your money will buy more units. When the share market is up your fixed money will buy you less units. This averages out the fluctuations.
I actually did an experiment. I invested in a mutual fund where I paid a lump sum outright at the beginning and at the same time started investing in an SIP. After a year, the outright payment has given me a return of -14.3% (a loss) and the SIP actually gave me a return of +13.5%.
You will get more information on SIP here and here.
I see SIP as a long term investment plan. I intend to keep it up for about 5 years to see how well it works.
I also see SIP as having better Return on Investment, if you consider the effort and time required to follow the share market directly. Direct investment will most definitely fetch you much better returns, but you need to invest lot more time to understand the share market.
As long as you do not put all your money in SIP, you should be fine.