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Thursday, 11 June 2020

The Journey to be a Full-Time Investor

Since I turned into a full-time investor, I keep getting a lot of questions on how, when and what to do to quit a salaried job. I don’t have a prescription. But I can share what I thought and did. I hope it helps.

#1 – Not running away from your job
The most important determinant for leaving my full time job was to have a passion that I wanted to follow. If there is nothing to run towards, I figured that the day to day life would become very boring after the initial few days or weeks, even if I had enough money to sit and do nothing. A meaningful occupation or passion is the most important factor for deciding to call it quits.

Luckily for me, investing is my passion. It is something I would do even if I did not make any money from it.

#2 – Make sure your family is onboard with your decision
Leaving a professional career was not easy. It took me 2 years to convince my family that it is not an end of the world if I did not get up in the morning and go to a corporate job. Since, I come from a very typical middle class Bengali family, with practically all extended family members working as professionals or in corporate jobs, there supposedly was a “social” problem if I had no job! My family members were worried about simple things like what would they say if relatives asked what I did for a living.

The most critical aspect, in my experience, was the uncertainty of not having the month-end sms announcing your salary credit! That is something which is not very easy to get over. That leads me to my next point.

#3 – Make sure you get your basic expenses covered from fixed income
This was something that my friend Aveek Mitra told me a few years back. He said if I was planning to be a full time investor it is important to make sure that my investing capital is never ever required for my monthly expenses and that I should be able to run the household expenses from fixed deposits.

I strictly adhered to this. And this made the decision to quit all the more easy. Because it does not really matter at the end of the month if your salary is coming from a company you work for or from a bank FD you have.

This also helped in eliminating the uncertainty of leaving a job that I was accustomed to for nearly two decades.

I understand that this criteria makes it very difficult to consider quitting because it necessitates a fairly large corpus to be put aside for fixed deposits. Unfortunately, quitting a job, in Indian context is more or less a permanent decision. It is very difficult to be able to find a job after a couple of years in case it’s required by financial exigencies. Best to be conservative than to be repent it.

Of course, if you have a spouse who can contribute to covering part of the monthly expenses, then you are in a considerably better situation.

#4 – Think about what you will do with your time
Being a fulltime investor sounds very cool and sexy. But it’s not. It is a lonely pursuit. Unless you love sitting and reading for hours every day, it is very easy to get bored very easily. It is best if you do not work from home. I have found working from home as a full time investor to be very difficult. My family thinks I don’t do anything and keep interrupting!! This wasn’t the case when I was working in my job. Have a network on friends who are also full time investors who you can speak to during the day because most of your other friends or family will be occupied in their own jobs and businesses. It is also important to have a hobby for time-diversification. As long as you are working, investing was possibly your hobby. But once your job is done with, you need something else to fall back on to divert your mind and relax.

#5 – Build a daily routine and be disciplined
Once you are a full time investor, you need to have a routine which you follow. Else you run the risk of slowly falling into chaotic stupor. I, for example, break up my work day into 2-3 big blocks of 1-2 hours each. I spend reading (books, magazines, articles, blogs), listening to concalls or videos or podcasts, stock specific work, moderation work and going through threads in ValuePickr, researching quant ideas etc. I will take each of these and put them on my calendar for each day.

#6 – Enjoy the journey
This is perhaps the most important and most overlooked. Unless you enjoy the process of investing and love the learning process, just running after the returns will be very boring and unrewarding. Only if you love what you are doing and feel energized every day, will it really be all worthwhile.

Disclaimer:

Abhishek Basumallick is the Head of the equity advisory www.intelsense.in for long term wealth creation and a pure quant focused newsletter at www.quantamental.in. Nothing in the article should be construed as investment advice. Please do your own due diligence before investing.


3 comments:

  1. I have been following your valuepickr threads,they are great source for learning,would love to meet and interact with you some day

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Abhishek, I've been on a similar journey since last 3 years.. its been tough and very difficult at times. Savings can be depleted in not time and also since markets crash reduce your networth.. All the best

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing. Crispy and very informative. Could you please share must to have skills/qualification in your opinion?

    ReplyDelete