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Personal Finance

An IIT Bombay junior working in Big Tech put 50% of his life’s savings in crypto

Bitcoin had 9x in April 2021 from April 2020. 900% returns in 1 year were impossible in any asset class. He was certain that crypto was going to be the future. Multiple friends and influencers were telling him to go all in. His IQ was high, and therefore, he believed he made only smart investments

Today, he is sitting on a crypto portfolio that is 60% down, 30% of his life savings evaporated, with layoffs all around him

There will be countless others like him, smart yet trapped in a tough spot. I, therefore, don’t give personal financial advice because it is dangerous. He is angry, anxious and stressed. His reaction told me an important truth.

Money is as much about EQ as it is IQ

Due to the emotion associated with money, it is easier to drive engagement. It is hard to tell if large-scale financial advice is given for engagement or to help viewers make money. But the reality about investing is that if everyone knows about it, nobody eventually makes money

I am, therefore wary of any financial product being marketed aggressively

Stories of how people’s lives transformed due to an investment abound. Most are untrue or edge cases due to probability. People flock to these get-rich-quick stories. FOMO, which my junior succumbed to, is a powerful force that repeats across history. These work because people believe they need more. But that is not how you make money

I believe we don’t need any of these strategies because the basic rules of money are simple yet hard to follow

Most financial advice effectively focuses on optimization. Improve your rate of return by 1-2%, save tax by a few %, and get more hotel points. These appeal to you because they are easy to do. But the real way to make money is not through these appealing hacks, and all of us know it

Work hard to upskill, live way below your means, and save as much as you can

These three do not appeal emotionally but are the biggest needle movers for wealth. Upskilling can improve your income by 10-15%. Living below your means saves you from losing 30% of your wealth to FOMO. Saving 10% more beats any wealth-making strategy.

I wrote about wealth here, where the strategy to make money is simple, and execution is hard