A reader asked if I can share a list of blogs I follow. So I thought I should write a post about how I ended up with my subscriptions. When I was a kid I used to love to read books. A lot of books actually. Most of them were just story books initially, then I started reading “how things work” and computer related books as I got interested into computers and science. I used to enjoy our semi annual trip to Jyoti book stores back in the town where I grew up. I would go on a long walk through the collection of the books in that large book store while my parents waited patiently until I am done reading a few pages of several books and finally picked some. Not sure what happened, but as I grew up I stopped reading. I don’t read much these days. I have become more of a hands on guys and learning things on the job. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and I don’t mind either.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is about what I read currently and not about my life story. So as I was saying, I read a few books and some blogs here and there. Up until 2010, I was reading mostly about health and fitness because I was super crazy about fitness in my mid 20s. Then I started getting interested in investing and it stayed that way so far. So I unsubscribed to all the health and fitness blogs, and got rid of most of the health books. I subscribed to a few blogs on investing but I try and avoid oversubscribing because time is the most valuable resource as far as I am concerned; even more than knowledge. So I like to be very careful with my time. I like blogs which are short or the ones that don’t post too often or the ones that link to interesting posts on another blog without me having to read all the posts on the other blog.
As a result I ended up with the following subscriptions in chronological order (I will explain how I got to this list in a minute):
- Jago Investor (since 2010)
- FundsIndia (since 2011)
- Fundoo Professor (since 2013)
- PPFAS Outreach (since 2013)
- Safal Niveshak (since 2014)
- Seeking Wisdom (since 2014)
- Mr. Money Mustache (since 2015)
- Capital Mind (since 2015)
- Unovest (since 2016)
- Value Research (since 2016)
The blogs I follow reflects the tapestry of my investment journey. All the subscriptions grew organically as a result of my life experiences. The timeline gives you an indication of how I am maturing and what I was trying to discover at the time. My first encounter with investing with Jago Investor happened when I was still in the US and was making plans to move to India. While I have been already working for more than 5 years after completing my MS, I did not do a single investment. I would just send any excess money I had to my parents and they used to handle all my finances.
Just before moving to India I somehow heard about investing and decided to start doing it myself once I move. While searching for some blogs about investing in India, I randomly stumbled upon Jago Investor. I liked the simple style of writing and subscribed to it. I subscribed to it on October 20, 2010 and have been a subscriber since.
Once I moved to India in January 2011, I was looking for platforms that would let me invest in mutual funds because by that time I understood that investing in Mutual funds is the simplest way to let money grow. Again, google search to rescue and discovered FundsIndia. After reading about the founders and establishing that aren’t scammers I decided to invest in mutual funds via FundsIndia. As a result, I got subscribed to their newsletter which I read to this day. Their “Portfolio Alert” newsletter which comes once a week has links to other interesting and diverse blogs (novel investor, humble dollar, mullooly, tacit, validea, darius foroux, to name a few) on investing. While I follow all the links and read some of them, I never subscribed to any. Why bother when I have FundsIndia doing the summary and providing good links to read? I don’t have to waste my time reading all the posts in all the blogs.
By 2013 I have been reading books and blogs on investing like crazy. Of all the investing styles, I liked value investing the most. By this time I have read about father of value investing Ben Graham, about Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger. But I was looking for some good value investors in India. I was already a fan of Prashant Jain for his contrarian style of investing and was invested in his funds in HDFC since 2011. I read about late Mr. Parag Parikh and his style of value investing and behavioral finance. Read his book too. But I was still looking for more value investors.
I used to have animated discussions about value investing with my best friend since engineering college. Back in college we used to have a lot of fun discussions around electronics and now it is all about investing. He started his investments (and a startup) well before me and had far more experience than me. In one of our discussions he suggested that I read about Sanjay Bakshi (aka Fundoo Professor). So I subscribed to his blog in 2013.
Since I admire Parag Parikh’s investing style, I wanted to invest in his fund, but since he ran a PMS (Portfolio Managerment Service) and I was not interested in it I did not invest. But as soon as he started a mutual fund in 2013, I immediately started investing. As a result of investing in the fund house I was subscribed to the PPFAS Outreach newsletter which I read to this day. Some insights are good and they mostly reference morningstar articles.
In 2014, thanks to a cross link from Fundoo Professor’s blog I found Safal Niveshak. I read a few articles and it got me interested. Vishal Khandelwal who runs the blog is also a value investor. I was getting into Stoicism at that time and was also planning to retire way earlier then initially planned. Coincidentally the blogger not only quit work to do his own thing but also posts about Stoicism among other philosophies. Although not quite early retirement, I found a lot of common things between his and my thinking. So I decided to subscribe to his blog as well. This is also the first time I have heard of anyone in India who had risked it all and sort of retired early. Most Indians are a conservative bunch, so I found him to be interesting to have dared to step out of the ordinary.
At around the same time I was getting serious about doing value investing myself in addition to mutual fund investments. After having read so many books, I wanted to apply some formulas myself, do some analysis on a few companies and invest in the ones I liked. To be clear, this is not at all like stock trading. This is proper fundamental analysis with a view to invest for long term. I quickly found out that I did not have the tools to do analysis. The basic tool I needed was accounting 101. So I joined a course to learn accounting and had enough knowledge to read the three basic accounting statements – balance sheets, income statements and cash flow.
While trying to understand the concepts I stumbled upon Seeking Wisdom. The author again is a value investor and cross links to Fundoo Professor. I enjoyed his simple explanation of some accounting principles I was researching at the time. I also liked the way he thinks which again is similar to mine in some aspects. I subscribed there as well. I did not continue down this route because I did not feel competent enough to be able to find good companies at a reasonable price. I was not as smart as I thought I would be when it comes to value investing :).
For some reason, someone at work emailed (me or perhaps in a group email, I am not sure) about Mr. Money Mustache (MMM). I read the emailed article and a few others. Again coincidentally I was already thinking about minimalism, spending less and sustainability. The articles struck a chord with me. Again, here was this person who had many traits similar to mine. He likes workouts and keeping fit, prefers walking or bicycling instead of using a car for every small errand, saves like crazy and most importantly retired early for real at the age of 30! His articles gave me confidence that the 4% rule might work for me too. And I subscribed.
Because of cross link articles from both FundsIndia and JagoInvestor, I landed on Capitalmind blog a few times. After reading some articles, I liked his writing style mixed with humor. Some of the articles explain things very well, while some are too complicated for me to understand. Yet, I enjoyed reading the blog. I especially think this guy Deepak Shenoy has a lot of knowledge. He also runs a PMS, and does not charge high fees (unlike most other PMSs) so it might be worth investing in.
They also offer several other portfolios, yet I won’t invest because I don’t want complex taxes since there will be a lot of buying and selling of stocks involved. I like my super simple, low return mutual fund investments :). Anyway I subscribed to capitalmind too in 2015. They send out a weekend newsletter called Capitalmind Saturday Coffee which has a bunch of articles. Like FundsIndia, this newsletter also covers several blogs (collab fund, of dollars and data, microcap club, behavioral value investor, novel investor to name a few) and selects 5 good ones for me to read that week. So I don’t have to be subscribed to all those blogs and be reading all the posts.
Around 2016, I was looking for a way to invest into direct mutual funds and a simple and easy to use investment analysis tool. Someone at work suggested Unovest which would let me analyze data of multiple investors all in one place with one login. By this point I was handling mutual fund investments for myself, my wife, our daughter and my mother. Being able to analyze all of them in one place would be nice. So I opened a paid account and also subscribed to his blog. While the website was good with proper XIRR information about each investment etc, I found it to be quite slow with my portfolio.
Perhaps the reason was that I have a ton of transactions because I was invested in a couple of mutual fund with daily dividends and they had a transaction every single day in my cams statement. Although I raised a couple of tickets, the problem could not be resolved and I stopped using it. Hopefully it is fixed now, but by that time I started writing my own investment analysis tool. So it is free for me now :). Anyway, I did not unsubscribe from the blog though because his posts are quite good and align with my thought process. Anyway I started using Unovest to invest into direct mutual funds (as against the regular MFs offered by FundsIndia). Eventually I started using MF Utility to fo all my mutual fund investments.
Around that same time when I was looking for a good investment analysis tool, I tried valueresearch’s “my investments” as well. I was not happy with the amount of analysis available over there. Say for example if you want to find out your XIRR for investments between Oct 2013 and Jan 2015, there is no way to get it. And I love working with data. Anyway, to just check out their tool, I had to create an account and I got subscribed to their newsletter. I did not mind the articles, so I did not unsubscribe. Thankfully with my own investment analysis app, I did not have to look any more for any other tools. I can make it do whatever I want.
So there you have it. My story of how I arrived at the list of blogs that I am still subscribed to. During the last 14 years I did subscribe to a bunch more blogs and unsubscribed from them too. I don’t remember many of them. Thanks to my investments with various fund houses, I automatically get their newletters most of which I don’t read either because they are just marketing material, or gives basic information about investing (how SIP is good for everyone) or try to explain what markets will do in near future (no one can predict). It is interesting that not one of those newletters ever tell you to sell your funds even when the market is in bubble territory. All they say is invest.
Now you might be wondering that I may be susceptible to confirmation bias having subscribed to bloggers with similar views as mine. Don’t worry, I always try and look for disconfirming evidence. Hope the list was helpful to some of you. Even in that list I don’t read all of them. If a blog is too long, or if it goes into too much technical detail that I cannot understand or talks about individual stocks, I skip. What I found interesting is that all through my investing journey, there were a lot of coincidences. Or perhaps they were always there but I never looked for them until I was in the right frame of mind. I haven’t added any more new blogs to my list since 2016. I think I know enough to continue with my investment strategy which has worked fine so far since 2011.