The dictionary meaning of investment is to commit money in order to earn a financial return or to make use of the money for future benefits or advantages. People commit money to investments with an expectation to increase their future wealth by investing money to spend in future years. For example, if you invest Rs. 1000 today and earn 10 %over the next year, you will have Rs.1100 one year from today.
An investment can be described as perfect if it satisfies all the needs of all investors. So, the starting point in searching for the perfect investment would be to examine investor needs. If all those needs are met by the investment, then that investment can be termed the perfect investment. Most investors and advisors spend a great deal of time understanding the merits of the thousands of investments available in India. Little time, however, is spent understanding the needs of the investor and ensuring that the most appropriate investments are selected for him.
The Investment Needs of an Investor
By and large, most investors have eight common needs from their investments:
1. Security of Original Capital;
2. Wealth Accumulation;
3. Comfort Factor;
4. Tax Efficiency;
5. Life Cover;
8. Ease of Withdrawal;
Security of original capital: The chance of losing some capital has been a primary need. This is perhaps the strongest need among investors in India, who have suffered regularly due to failures of the financial system.
Wealth accumulation: This is largely a factor of investment performance, including both short-term performance of an investment and long-term performance of a portfolio. Wealth accumulation is the ultimate measure of the success of an investment decision.
Comfort factor: This refers to the peace of mind associated with an investment. Avoiding discomfort is probably a greater need than receiving comfort. Reputation plays an important part in delivering the comfort factor.
Tax efficiency: Legitimate reduction in the amount of tax payable is an important part of the Indian psyche. Every rupee saved in taxes goes towards wealth accumulation.
Life Cover: Many investors look for investments that offer good return with adequate life cover to manage the situations in case of any eventualities.
Income: This refers to money distributed at intervals by an investment, which are usually used by the investor for meeting regular expenses. Income needs tend to be fairly constant because they are related to lifestyle and are well understood by investors.
Simplicity: Investment instruments are complex, but investors need to understand what is being done with their money. A planner should also deliver simplicity to investors.
Ease of withdrawal: This refers to the ability to invest long term but withdraw funds when desired. This is strongly linked to a sense of ownership. It is normally triggered by a need to spend capital, change investments or cater to changes in other needs. Access to a long-term investment at short notice can only be had at a substantial cost.
Communication: This refers to informing and educating investors about the purpose and progress of their investments. The need to communicate increases when investments are threatened.
• Security of original capital is more important when performance falls.
• Performance is more important when investments are performing well.
• Failures engender a desire for an increase in the comfort factor.
Perfect investment would have been achieved if all the above-mentioned needs had been met to satisfaction. But there is always a trade-off involved in making investments. As long as the investment strategy matches the needs of investor according to the priority assigned to them, he should be happy.
The Ideal Investment strategy should be a customized one for each investor depending on his risk-return profile, his satisfaction level, his income, and his expectations. Accurate planning gives accurate results. And for that there must be an efficient and trustworthy roadmap to achieve the ultimate goal of wealth maximization.