Sign up for updates about articles

In case a publisher puts a particular article behind a paywall, then you may not be able access that article. And there is no particular frequency of articles. Also, each email will provide you with a link to unsubscribe

Paisa Vaisa logo 2

Podcast: The Boglehead approach to investing in India

Almost everything you have heard about financial planning and investing is wrong

Episode on Paisa Vaisa released in January 2020 and was recorded in November 2019; This podcast also very briefly explains Advice-Only Financial Planning, how you can find an Advice-Only Financial Planner and that even Fund Managers sign up as my clients


The battle for 1% p.a. will determine whether you will survive retirement

Learn to spot the tactics that your opponents are using

Published on FreeFinCal in November 2019

Indexheads Logo

Second order thinking explains why you should invest in index funds and also the most suitable index fund products

Business Standard 2

The average Indian active mutual fund does not beat the index


Why individual investors should avoid Alternative Investment Funds

You should invest in a PE / VC / Hedge Fund only if you can manage such a fund

Published in Mint in October 2019; This article covers Private Equity funds and indirectly covers Venture Capital Funds and Hedge Funds; Cached copy of the print version of the article

Business Standard 2

PMS investment is too risky, opt only if you have a large portfolio


Why it’s a myth to say that equity is safe in long term


Reading the S&P Index Versus Active Funds India report will change the way you invest

Indian mutual funds, as a whole, do not beat the index

Published on FreeFinCal in June 2019


How should you select a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) to engage with?

Your RIA's fees should be proportional to the RIA’s time/effort. Fees should not be primarily proportional to the client’s assets under management nor net worth nor income

Published on FreeFinCal in May 2019; This article explains why 'Advice-Only is the sub-set of Fee-Only that is best for investors'

Business Standard 2

Private Equity lessons for Personal Investing

Evaluate each investment as if your life depends on it—because it does 

Published in Business Standard on 6th April 2019; This article evaluates 'Credit Risk Funds' and the revised title of the article is 'Seven questions that private equity investors ask when making investments' ; Cached copy of the article which will download in PDF format 


The mature approach to personal finance


How even DIY investors can benefit from a registered Investment Adviser

Such a discussion may address issues, answer questions or at least, provide a second opinion

Published on in February 2019; The second-half of the article also covers 'Why you should avoid Structured Products' 

The Ken

The two-headed Goliath—Mutual Funds and their distributors

Exorbitant annual fees and commissions to distributors are hurting Indian mutual fund investors. There is a solution, but don’t expect your local distributor to tell you about it

Published on The Ken on 10th January 2019; In this article, I am recommending zero-commission plans / Direct Plans and index funds / ETFs; The article is behind a paywall, but free registration at The Ken provides access to a 200-word summary of all their articles; This is an excerpt from the summary:

'Investors have been pushed to take too much risk because equity funds have the highest fees/commissions; Indian mutual funds, as a whole, do not beat the index; distributors use ambiguity in the regulations to push schemes with the highest fees/commissions and mutual funds like this arrangement; no one can predict which mutual fund schemes will have the best performance even over a 10 year period. In addition, Indian MF fees and commissions are some of the highest in the world.'

These are two excerpts from the article:

'Unnecessarily high fees of [Mutual Fund] AMCs and unnecessarily high commissions of distributors force investors to pay fees of an estimated 2% per annum as opposed to a more reasonable 1%. This 1% of excess fees eats up 1% of an investor’s investment each year. While the exact amount is debatable, the long-term impact is clear from simple arithmetic. If an investor surrenders 1% of her investment each year, then cumulated over 30 years, she has lost 26% of her investment.'

'Sanjiv Shah [former CEO of Goldman Sachs’ Indian MF and co-founder of Benchmark MF] offers a damning verdict of this arrangement [between Mutual Funds and their Distributors]. “Due to a distributor’s skewed incentives, in many cases, a distributor’s value to an investor may not just be zero, but may actually be negative—the distributor may be subtracting value from an investor.” Shah gives the example of equity funds versus debt funds. Since the former pay higher commissions, he says, distributors push investors to invest more in equity funds, even if this could be harmful to the investor. A visible sign of this is that two-thirds of MF investments by individuals are in equity schemes, despite the vulnerability of these schemes to stock market crashes.'

IIM_Bangalore_Logo Thumbnail

Webinar on Financial Planning & Investing...

...conduced for IIM Bangalore alumni

A long YouTube video; Conducted in November 2018

Business Standard

You can mitigate domestic risks by investing abroad, here's how

Open a low-cost international broking account and invest in low-cost international exchange-traded funds

Published in Business Standard in September 2018; Cached copy of the article which will download in PDF format; Note: The correct date of publication of the academic paper referred to in this article is June 1999


Turn no-free-lunch from an opponent to an ally

Don’t waste your energy fighting the law of no-free-lunch. Instead use it as a tool for thinking, to avoid mistakes and also minimize costs through index funds.

Published on in September 2018;

Update: After this article was written, I was able to get verbal clarification from Parag Parikh MF about the redemption timeline for their Liquid Fund. Hence the Parag Parikh Liquid Fund is somewhat similar to the Quantum Liquid Fund.


Satisficing around financial products that almost do not exist

Some risks can’t be mitigated by products as such products almost don’t exist in India

Published in Mint in September 2018; The article covers Life Annuities and Disability & Critical illness insurance; Cached copy of the print version of the article which will download in PDF format

Quoted in:

Note: Brief quotes may not cover various nuances or the language may not be precise so please take them with a pinch of salt


"[When selecting an international fund-of-fund... Take into consideration the expense ratio of the feeder fund and the mother fund]. At present, when the US market is doing well, expense ratios may not [seem to] matter. But they will matter a great deal once returns normalise”

Published in Business Standard in December 2019; This article is behind a pay-wall


"[Instead of PMS] it is good to be in mutual funds, where the quality of data available for making investment decisions is much better. [I] prefer low-cost financial products, including ETFs [and index funds]. Mutual funds are also more tax efficient and expense ratios are low...There is less than seven years of aggregate performance data for each PMS in the public domain and no robust strategy-wise (e.g. large cap vs. small cap) performance data in the public domain. So, it is almost impossible for clients to figure out whether a PMS manager has the skills or was just lucky over a few years. Investors should stay with [more] regulated products rather than unregulated [i.e. less regulated] products... [e.g. investment newsletters]”

Published in ET Prime on 4th December 2019; This article is behind a pay-wall


"[Not prepaying a loan and instead deploying the money in equities is also not advisable.] That you will have to repay part of your loan over the next year is certain, while equity returns over the next year are by no means certain, so you cannot compare the two. And it is not possible for any liquid, low-risk investment to generate higher post-tax returns than the cost of a loan”

Published in Business Standard in October 2019; In this article, I am recommending that you should focus on repaying / prepaying loans; This article is behind a pay-wall


"[One positive feature of the Indian market is that retail and institutional investors have access to the same funds. The latter watch expense ratios very closely.] In categories where institutional investors invest, like Nifty50 exchange traded fund (ETF), [Overnight funds,] liquid funds, etc investors can take the advantage of the low fee, which fund houses offer primarily to attract big institutional money”

Published in Business Standard in October 2019; In this article, I am discussing that you should minimize fees that you pay to mutual funds; This article is behind a pay-wall


"[Do not tie up the bulk of your investment in products from which it is impossible to withdraw money when needed] Structured products, fractional property investments, and even insurance-cum-investment should be avoided for this reason"

Published in Business Standard in September 2019; In this article, I am discussing how to mitigating the impact of being laid-off; This article is behind a pay-wall


"Any business scheme that is opaque is likely to be risky"

Published in Business Standard in June 2019; In this article, I am discussing how one can spot Ponzi schemes; This article is behind a pay-wall


“My approach to financial planning primarily focuses on mitigating the downside instead of focusing on maximizing the upside. The reason is that maximizing the upside will require taking an irrational level of risk. And there is no predictable low-risk way to get rich through investing...”

Excerpt from 'My List of popular Fee-only Financial Planners in India (Part-2)' published on in March 2019 


"...[New SEBI norms] will prevent the launch of passive funds that take concentrated exposure to illiquid counters"

Published in Business Standard in January 2019; In this article, I am recommending against exotic index funds / ETFs; This article is behind a pay-wall


"...Even if some (say, 37 per cent) of funds outperform, it is difficult to pick in advance which ones will outperform over the next 10 years...”

Published in Business Standard in January 2019; In this article, I am recommending index funds; This article is behind a pay-wall


“In active funds, try to limit the expense ratio you pay because that is the only variable you can control”

Published in Business Standard in November 2018; In this article I am not recommending active funds but I am responding to a specific question about active funds; This article is behind a pay-wall

Mentioned in:

Mentioned in an article by Swapnil Kendhe, Fee-Only Financial Planner & SEBI RIA,

Published on in January 2019; The article mentions us collaborating on learning from each other's best practices


Professor Pattabiraman M, IIT Madras and he runs

"I respect Avinash’s realistic views on investment risk and reward and I especially agree with his point here..."

"Avinash Luthria from Bangalore is also a super competent advisor, part of my fee-only list."

Published on in January & February 2019

Next section: