Anand B is a Happy Kuverian. A 38 year old Software Engineer and father of two daughters, Anand lives and works in Bengaluru. We spoke to Anand about his experience with Kuvera, India’s friendliest Direct Plan Investment Platform.
Please tell us about yourself, where did you grow up and your story?
My high school was in the quaint sleepy town of Pondicherry and I finished my engineering graduation in Chennai. I moved to Bangalore for work in 2000 right out of college. The transition from a small town to conservative city to cosmopolitan city was amazing. The 3-star hotel during orientation, working culture, MG road, sense of freedom were quite novel. The salary at that time was a princely 18K per month. Compared to salary drawn by today’s graduates, it may be a pittance. However, our expenses were not more than 6K per month since 4-5 friends rented an apartment and stayed together.
I used to send 10-12K back home every month which my father promptly put into FDs, PPF and LIC policies. This was not ideal but helped in 80C investments and later for downpayment towards my house purchase. I bought an apartment in 2005 – the same one I am staying in right now. My marriage was soon after in 2008 and my kids were born in 2010 & 2012.
I have always been a voracious reader interested in learning diverse topics. I started learning personal finance from 2002 through Rediff, sharekhan, etc and soon started managing my income myself. I started investing in mutual funds since 2006 and it has been a great learning journey since then.
What is your approach to financial planning?
It has been a bit haphazard. During my initial working years, the house purchase determined cashflow. Once I started having a surplus, I made small mutual fund investments through my bank. Like most folks, I chased best mutual funds. Though I made my share of mistakes with asset allocation, I have been able to consistently choose good funds.
With the benefit of experience, I believe goal oriented financial planning is the best option for the individual investor. I have mostly been a DIY investor but recently engaged a financial planner for comprehensive planning.
How did you learn about Kuvera?
Google. I was planning a massive asset rebalancing based on my financial planner’s advice. I wanted a simple, fast, clutter-free interface. After trying out many options such as OROWealth, clearfunds, Unovest, I zeroed in on Kuvera.
I had then corroborated this on my favorite finance site freefincal.com
How were you investing in Mutual Funds before? Did you know about Direct Plans before Kuvera?
I was investing through my bank between 2006 and 2009. I switched to FundsIndia and consolidated all my investments through them between 2009 to 2013. When SEBI introduced direct mutual funds, I immediately moved to online investments through direct AMC websites. BTW, smart switch (now TradeSmart) is a great feature at Kuvera. In 2013, I had to submit paper forms at CAMS physically to switch from regular to direct funds as few funds did not allow online switching in the same folio.
When MFU was launched in 2016, I switched to it immediately. If I had not found Kuvera, I would have been investing through MFU.
Why do you invest and why Mutual Funds?
I invest for achieving my financial goals one of which is attaining financial freedom. Mutual funds are the most liquid and transparent cost-effective way to achieve them today.
What were the biggest problems that you have faced with investing and financial planning in India?
Investment vehicles have been steadily improving. From paper-based investments to demat to online transactions, we have come a long way. I cannot imagine a site like Kuvera 5 years back.
In the service industry, lack of transparency is still the biggest problem. The SEBI RIA is a great initiative and prevents many conflicts of interests. In fact, my financial planner is SEBI RIA.
For the investors, I see “ostrich effect” and “overconfidence” to be the most detrimental cognitive biases. We think finance can be done by anyone and are not willing to pay a fair price for consultation. We then fall prey to product sellers and fee-based planners with conflict of interest. We also ignore the compounding effect and tend to postpone long-term goals in favor of topic du -jour.
Can you describe your experience with Kuvera?
To put it succinctly – You hit the nail on the head. The interface is simple, fast and uncluttered. The fact that Kuvera is not based on MFU is a plus as it can slow things down otherwise. The goal tagging is the killer feature for me – essential for goal-based financial planning. All the other features – portfolio import, goal tagging, smart switch (now TradeSmart), SIP, STP, referrals, and portfolio comparison feature are intuitive. I also like the Coins feature that looks like a behavioral finance technique.
I was initially skeptical about the no-fee model. However, after completing > 25 lumpsum, redemption, SIP, STP transactions through Kuvera for my asset rebalancing and tallying them with CAMS statement, I am a convert. I am still curious about monetization but that’s something for Kuvera to solve 🙂
I told Gaurav that I am ready to pay a flat annual fee for the *current* services offered. I think Kuvera is that good!
What goals have you planned for?
I have 11 goals at the moment. To me, any need of money at a future date is a goal. This can be 0.5 / 1 / 2 / 10 / 20 years away. Apart from the standard goals of an emergency corpus, children education, marriage, retirement, I have short-term goals for insurance premiums, school fees and one tagged surplus cash for any tactical cash calls.
How did you choose which schemes to invest in? Will you recommend Kuvera to your friends and colleagues?
I have a mutual fund shortlist that I maintain from 2012. I look at the funds Sharpe ratio, downside capture, beta, alpha and standard deviation over 5-7 years period to shortlist the funds in the category. I then fall into a confirmation bias by looking at the funds rating across valueresearch and morningstar 🙂
Absolutely. I have already recommended to my friends and a few have joined already.
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