Free Perfios at TFL, Free Plan at Investologic, Gold Mania and Planned Chaos

by Manshu on April 22, 2011

in Links

Hemant is running a contest on his site where he is going to give away one free copy of PERFIOS which is a personal finance software – the entry rules are easy (as they usually are in these contests), so if you are interested then do check out his post.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of building some kind of an automated planner on the site but that’s in initial stages, and I haven’t made much progress with it.

Investologic however has this free financial plan builder, which is a good start for someone who has some goals in mind, and wants to get a ball park on how much money is needed given the number of years ahead of him, inflation and returns numbers.

Roger Nusbaum has a good post on gold mania, and though his post is written from a US perspective I think the same is applicable in India as well.

A lot of people are getting carried away with gold purchases, and are totally convinced that it can never fall in value. While gold has its place in a portfolio, there’s no reason to go over board on it. It can go down in value just like any other asset so be careful. My own opinion on gold or silver hasn’t changed, and you can find it here if you’re interested.

I’ve saved the best for last.

I’m a big fan of Dilbert and it’s creator – Scott Adams, and have read his blog for a number of years now. Lately, he has been facing some trouble from people taking his quotes out of context and maligning his reputation.

He was trying to fight this by creating an alias and posting comments on blogs and websites where he was being attacked, but was forced to reveal his true identity by the site moderators.

He has written this brilliant post about the whole incident and his thoughts about it, and I think this provides a lot of insights on not only the thought process of celebrities who have to manage their reputation online, but also on how people think, on context, how something can be automatically loaded against you, perception vs reality and other things that affect us in our daily lives.

You can read the great post here.

Enjoy your weekend!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

herge April 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Just back from investologic. I think the calculator has a couple of flaws/inadequacies.
1. It doesn’t take care of inflation
2. It averages the time horizon of goals. Which is unnecessary. Suppose I have only goal instead of the 3 that it can accomodate, and say its 16 years aways, the calcualtor take the time reqd as 16/3 which is meaningless.

The attempt deserves a pat on the back by seasoned personal finance bloggers and enthusiasts. But is not ready to be let loose in public.

Beta versions should NOT be out in the open. It should be circulated among bloggers or others with experience and then published.

Someone who is completely new may get a very wrong figure to save!

Posted these sentiments there.
Some of the comments (incl CFPs are premature and amusing)

you have carved a niche for yourself in personal finance blogging. Please try things out and think things through before recommending links to your readers.

Hemant’s contest is an unabashed attempt to popularize his blog (and get clients!?). The contest should have had a quiz on finance to choose winners (I think you are aware of this and seem to have mention this gently!)

Reply

Manshu April 23, 2011 at 5:15 am

Herge – I appreciate your sentiments about both the issues, and the fact that you’re moved enough to post comments at both places shows that you are deeply passionate about this.

Let me now share my thoughts as someone who is at the other side of the fence.

First about the calculator – I linked to it because I know how much effort goes in making something like this and I feel that despite the limitations he is headed in the right direction. I’ve had several things that I have abandoned because well I didn’t get enough encouragement for them and felt that they are useless. For other things I’ve got feedback from people and constantly improved something to the point where the final version doesn’t look anything like the initial one and that was only possible because it was out in the open and people had a chance to comment on it.

Unfortunately it is not easy for bloggers to to get feedback since they don’t have much to offer in return. When I was starting out I used to email other bloggers requesting them for promoting my articles in their readers or allowing me to write a guest post for them which majority of them declined. From their perspective I had nothing to offer in return and they just declined my request. Most of them never even bothered to reply to me. The same thing happens today also. You would imagine that a site that gets more than 200K pageviews in a month is worth something, but my experience with a lot of people is that it’s not easy to get co-operation.

This can lead to a situation where you’re really disheartened and give up something much much before it has any chance of being a success.

If you think about popular TV series that ran for several seasons like say Friends for instance or Seinfeld – you will notice that the last season is much much better in quality than the initial ones – over the years they have perfected their shows and that’s true for most bloggers as well. If I see my initial articles and what I write now I think I do a better job now, but without the little encouragement I got from people who sort of didn’t want anything in exchange I was able to keep going on till now.

Blogs can’t grow in isolation – it just doesn’t happen. You need support and it’s much more difficult to get for a newcomer than you might imagine.

In Investologic’s case – I see something that has potential and even if it is rough now – can grow into something quite useful with positive feedback such as the one you have given.

I get multiple such requests every week (to promote books, articles and other content) but you will notice that I ignore most because I don’t see any value at all out of them. In this case I see some value and that’s why the decision.

About Hemant’s contest. Yes, he is trying to promote himself, but I don’t see anything wrong in that either.

In fact my promotions or give aways in the past have followed the same path. There are three parties here at play – Hemant, PERFIOS and the Reader, and the transaction should be of value to all three should it not?

PERFIOS will win because they get a popular platform to promote, the reader wins because they get a free software, but how does Hemant benefit out of it? Why shouldn’t he be allowed to promote his site? Isn’t it unfair for him if only the other two parties gain but not him? What’s in it for him to continually do this then?

Here again let me give you an example of something I’ve declined in the past to set a little perspective. I was talking about a give away with someone who sells digital products right, and he said the winner of the give away will get a massive discount and I said man you have to be kidding right? Why can’t you give it free? It’s a digital product isn’t it? And I wouldn’t participate in a contest the prize of which is a discount then why should I ask others to do it?

This obviously didn’t go down well with the person and it might have affected our relationship as well, but had to be done.

If you just look at a site like OneMint then you see that there’s an artilce published every day and that’s all there is to it, but there is a lot of behind the scenes work that doesn’t get shown ordinarily and you’re presented with choices every day that you have to act upon. Sometimes they are clear cut like Moneysights for instance which I thought was a great product and I loved to promote it but sometimes things like this where you know it’s rough but you also want to encourage the person to release iterations and do well.

That’s my thought as someone who is on the other side of the fence. I’d be interested to hear what you make of it and if it makes any sense to you at all.

Reply

herge April 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

Thank you for your detailed comment, which in turn displays your passion for blogging and personal finance. Yes I agree with everything you say. Yes early days for a blog are very difficult. That said, speaking in general, a blog can survive only if it provides something unique.

Take for example calculators, you could find one (including typing time )withing 15 sec. using Google. Now look at Manish’s calculator page at JI. That is unique. His retirement calculator is one of the simplest yet complete calculator on the web.
That is what draws in the crowd. Unique content.

If we are going to satisfy ourselves saying, in India there are millions who have no clue about personal finance so let me dish out the same old stuff I will get thousands of fans in FB etc. it is like planning for a goal without taking inflation in mind.

Now to be brutally frank, there is nothing unique about investologics calculator. He seems to be in the finance field (He addressed Hemant as ‘sir’ hmm… ). So I would expect him to be aware of the calucaltor’s shortcomings. My point is these should be discussed in the post. Then all is well. The new-comer know what he is getting. the old hand knows this is a young mans work. which deserves a pat on the back.

Reply

Manshu April 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Thank you for your response – I appreciate the frank feedback and will certainly keep it in mind for future.

Reply

Chirag April 24, 2011 at 4:55 am

I have added a note bellow the tool about inflation -that it’s not accounted in the tool. Will exclude the average years and make it a single goal calculator.
I said Hemant sir because he is much elder to me and more knowledgeable in fact.
Sorry for the trouble Manshu & Herge.

Reply

herge April 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

Thanks for reacting to my comment. Please post revised versions often.

Reply

Ams April 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Thanks for the post Manju

Reply

Deepak April 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I have been reading lot of FB but I find onemint really easy and simple to understand as I don’t have financial background I am a new bee in the field, you are doin a remarkable job of collecting all the pearls at one place. I hv always learned allot from you, you didn’t practice administrator rights instead you handle it in really great manner, only knowledgeable and skillful person can do. I am glad I am following a right person.

Herge – do you have anything to share at all with us apart from criticism, as I see from your writing you have good understanding of the field. Few things I would like to ask – don’t you think new comers come up with bright new ideas look at Mark Zukherberg of facebook.

Secondly what is wrong in respecting people with great knowledge? I have been reading tfl and watching Hemant’s interview, I find him great and will not shy in calling him Sir. He is a diamond and will shine anywhere u keep him, what is wrong if users of onemint shine with him.

I have IT background and don’t really hv great writing skills like you guys but I feel any person with common sense who read financial blogs understands onemint and what author is offering.

Congratulations OneMint for 200k hits a month, it will not be long when we see 2000000000000.
Keep up the good work, even if people don’t write you have made mark in everyone’s mind.

Jahanpana tusi great ho- I salute u Man

Reply

Manshu April 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Wow Deepak – I’m honored man – nicest thing anyone could ever say and I don’t think I deserve the half of it. Thank you very much!!!

Reply

herge April 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

My criticism was directed at two people, Manshu and Chirag. If you read the above comments you will see those issues have been settled amicably.

What do I have to offer?
Hmmm.
Goto http://www.citefin.com and search for ‘Financial planner’ and ‘excel’. You will find
a financial planner which you can use for your many personal finance needs. If you cant find it send me an email at hergech [AT] gmail.com and I will send it to you.
I have other goal planers written by me. You are fee to have a look and ‘have a go’ at me!

If something is wrong or inadequate one has a duty if not the right to point it out for the benefit of others.
If its a bright new idea I am all for it. The catchword is ‘if’ and this is not. Its old hat. Sorry that’s the truth.

I have a lot of respect for Manshu. My criticism stems from that. I think he is mature enough to figure this out and he has. I am sympathetic towards new bloggers like Chirag.
But wrong or inadequate cannot be sugar coated for the benefit of other readers and the blogger too. I think Chirag too realizes this and he has taken my comments on the chin.

“what is wrong if users of onemint shine with him (Hemant)” I dont have any issues with that. The ‘sir’ comment was a bit of deduction (perhaps wrong?) that since Chirag addressed Hemant as ‘sir’ perhaps he was from the finance industry. That is all. I meant no insults to anyone.

Reply

herge April 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

Here is the specif link for the financial planner excel download

http://www.citefin.com/showthread.php?t=1321#post2882

If you need specific help with this write to me.

Reply

Deepak April 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm

You might here agree upon my opinion that people who read femina or filmfare don’t visit onemint it is a specific community, you can guess it by reading user comments, and newbie’s like me understand what is on an offer, I  wouldn’t like to have a go on anyone if it is good people will like it.

Further we should end the loop here and understand “Time is money” and let everyone use the time in more productive way.
Accept my apology if I have hurted you in any manner and thank you for sharing FP at onemint.

Manshu- if god makes me 10% like you I wouldn’t  be ever complaining, you are such a great soul.

Reply

Deepak April 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

My only aim was to have productive and motivating criticism rather than pulling each others legs, I found those comments really sarcastic and demotivating for anyone, no one will dare to bring anything new with this sort of discouragement.

You might here agree upon my opinion that people who read femina or filmfare don’t visit onemint it is a specific community, you can guess it by reading user comments, and newbie’s like me understand what is on an offer, I  wouldn’t like to have a go on anyone if it is good people will like it.

Further we should end the loop here and understand “Time is money” and let everyone use the time in more productive way.
Accept my apology if I have hurted you in any manner and thank you for sharing FP at onemint.

Manshu- if god makes me 10% like you I wouldn’t  be ever complaining, you are such a great soul.

Reply

herge April 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm

“people who read femina or filmfare don’t visit onemint”.

Dont know what you mean. Many women have commented here. Femina has a personal finance section! I read femina and drool at the photos in filmfare! I also read onemint!

motivating criticism: There are inadequacies in the present version. Change them, point them out, produce something better. Good enough?

I am not pulling anyone’s legs. Am not a blogger.

Reply

Kush May 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

I think Manshu you are wrong about this opinion of yours about gold. Some numbers to ponder over which can be verified on the internet as well as through independent research houses or databases. “Gold and gold mining stocks represented 26% of all global assets in 1981 (high inflation), and 20% in 1932 (high deflation). Today, gold and gold mining shares represent about 1% of global assets.”

Practical test to verify whether gold is in a bubble or not:
Test # 1: Ask 100 random people or investment fund houses or managers whether they invest in gold or silver. Maybe 2-4 people invest in gold, that too in small quantities. This test fails. Gold will be in a bubble when at least 20%-50% of people invest in gold.

Test # 2: Are Aunties talking about gold like they are talking about property? They are talking about gold & silver but only in a belittling manner. They talk about steep declines in silver but not the rises. Are they actually investing 10%-20% of their assets in gold and silver. The answer is no. So, there is no gold bubble.

I would like to know how much did you profit from this ten year primary secular bull market in gold? If the answer is not much or just a little, then your opinion has little to no real value. However, it’s an opinion and of course you are entitled to it. But, if you didn’t capitalize in this gold bull market, it’s hard to take your opinion seriously.

What I have outlined above is how contrarians think. Gold is still a contrarian’s play. Gold or silver’s price may seem high, but it’s still a value buy. Everyone is confused about the price being high, but it’s not the price that determines bull markets, it’s the value.

Reply

Manshu May 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

To answer your question – I didn’t make a red cent in gold, and I have no problem in someone saying that my opinion on gold / silver or anything else is completely worthless.

Reply

Kush May 3, 2011 at 9:20 am

Good to know that. My suspicion is confirmed. However, I do enjoy your posts and feel that all your readers must be benefiting from other general posts like I am. For example, recently I saw your posts on Making a website, Indian Budget, and DTC Tax Code quite helpful.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: