This Exercise is immensely helpful

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

I wrote this down initially as an experiment for myself. I wanted to see how accurately I could recall some of the historical moments that I have lived through. It was so useful that I actually took a trip down memory lane and there were some fascinating learnings. We will probably have different learnings and realizations, but I will highlight a key one from an investor’s perspective at the end of this post.

First things First; Get a Pen and paper or open your note taking App. Second, Time Travel to your age 10 or even earlier and think of some of the most historical moments you can remember. In fact, RELIVE and cherish them for a moment.

Now, write down all the historical moments you have lived through.

I will share mine in the order I could recollect since my age 10 in 1984. I have shared it in an ascending order of years from 1984 till today. I will also create a visual of this and share it with you.

  • Assassination of Indira Gandhi
  • 1984 Riots
  • Conflict and Terrorism in Punjab
  • Getting a Telephone Connection at Home (It used to take 8 years to get one and under the OYT scheme, pay more and get it quickly. We got ours in 1988.)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Assassination
  • Narasimha Rao coming to Power
  • Liberalization Program
  • Gulf War (Kuwait invaded)
  • Harshad Mehta Scam
  • Babri Masjid Demolition
  • 1993 Mumbai Blasts and Riots
  • Cable TV Connection (Getting our First Cable TV connection; This was a move away from very limited Doordarshan TV programs to 24 /7 Private TV channels).
  • Kashmir Conflict
  • IT Sector picking up and Tech opportunities opening up – Outsourcing
  • Internet
  • Mobile Phone (My first mobile phone was as heavy as a rock – Ericsson one and a mobile outgoing call was Rs.16 per minute. So, people used to give missed calls and wait for you to call back. I am still laughing remembering some of these experiences.)
  • My First Car (Second Hand Red Colour Maruti)
  • Asian Financial Crisis
  • Indian Nuclear Program
  • Kargil War
  • Amazon
  • Y2K
  • Dot Com Bubble and Bust (I remember a sketch from New York Times or somewhere that our CTO Satish Joshi had shared. It showed a person with a bowl called Beg getting no money and another person with a bowl called getting millions of dollars J)
  • 9/11 (I was in New York on 9/11/01 going to office)
  • Microsoft Antitrust Case
  • Hotmail
  • Google And Search
  • India Shining Campaign
  • Facebook and Social Media
  • Kashmir Conflict continues
  • BJP Loses in 2004
  • Stock Market Run up 2005-2007
  • Launch of iPhone 2007
  • Global Financial Crisis 2008
  • Cryptocurrency – Bitcoin Launched by Satoshi Nakamoto (he or she or it/group of people)
  • Increased Financial Regulation Worldwide
  • Mobile Revolution
  • Social Media Take-off and Platformization
  • Brexit
  • Business Models of Platforms without owning any traditional assets (AirBnB, Uber, etc) and the role of Venture Capital
  • Huge Exits and IPOs
  • Direct Listings of stocks without the traditional IPO process (Spotify, Slack, and others)
  • SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies – I mention this as I will be writing about this soon).
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Polarized World

This is by no means a comprehensive list but some of the things that I could recollect and relive especially those of 1980s and early 1990s (the pre-internet days).

What about you? What are the ones that you wrote down or visualized or relived?

Enough of Nostalgia you might say.

Coming back to the point that I promised, you will see that India has gone through and experienced several challenges, setbacks, and triumphs. The last decade almost felt like a lost decade but the next one belongs to India on many fronts. I know many might agree or disagree. I am not debating about it here, but I had written a post about it called Signals and Noise. Based on what is happening geopolitically globally and despite what is happening politically in India in terms of sentiments, it looks like that this decade could belong to India.

A key point that I want to highlight though, despite of everything that happened from 31st October 1984 (Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s assassination) till today, the stock market as measured by the Sensex has delivered a 15.64% per annum compounded annually. This means that every 5 years your investment will double and there have been 7 such compounding cycles. We are in the 8th one. I am not predicting what the future returns are going to be. We are likely to live in a low return world with increasing costs and increasing lifespans.

This calls for prudent financial life planning and the time to start doing it was Yesterday. The next best time is Today.