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“For years, my father worked at a steel factory. Every day he’d go to the factory and breathe in clouds of hazardous chemicals. Every night he’d come home and hack up gobs of black chemical muck.
He didn’t compromise his health because he really wanted the steel industry to succeed. He did it to secure a financial future for us, his family. He did it to keep us dressed and fed, to send us to good schools so we wouldn’t have to work in factories.
My father would religiously put 10% of every paycheck into a savings account. It was something he learned from his father. And he told us to do the same. “You never know what the future will bring,” he’d say. “It’s best to have something tucked away.”
Plenty of my father’s advice holds true today. Having a strong work ethic and regularly setting aside a portion of each paycheck – these are still a huge part of securing your financial future. I’m teaching these lessons to my daughter.
However, I won’t be passing down the savings account lesson. If done right, investment gains can account for two-thirds of a person’s net worth vs just saving in bank accounts.
In other words, investing has become a necessity – just as important as hard work or setting aside a portion of each paycheck.”
Gaurav Chakravorty shared this story with me during our recent chat about his new investment firm, qplum.
Gaurav and Mansi Singhal, co-founders of qplum, started the company to change how we think about investing. I sat down with them for a Q&A session and here’s what they had to say:
What is qplum?
Mansi: qplum is an online wealth management service that helps families and individuals
make smarter, data-based financial decisions.
Why did you start qplum?
Gaurav: Times are changing. A lot of the old methods for achieving financial security no longer work. People need better advice and stronger solutions.
I mentioned before how we look to friends and family for advice on managing our money.
It’s important to have this kind of support network. Money matters can be tough to talk about. Who better to trust than our loved ones?
But sometimes their advice is incomplete or inaccurate.
Qplum is a place where you can ask questions and share your experiences. It’s an opportunity to create investments that grow in all market seasons.
Mansi: I agree. People need to know that they’re not alone. Everything seems scary and impossible when we think we’re alone.
I used to be a high-profile portfolio manager for big banks and hedge funds. I was very successful and made a lot of money for them. But I didn’t like how they had access to certain money management tools that regular people – like my friends and family – didn’t even know existed. We created qplum to make those tools available to everybody.
With these tools, you can accomplish any financial goal.
Don’t the big banks and trading firms live and breathe finance? How am I supposed to do what they do? What tools are you giving me?
Gaurav: Lots of people think investing is some complicated puzzle, and the banks and traders have some special wisdom for solving it. This isn’t what’s happening.
Nine times out of ten, big banks succeed because they create an investment mandate and set risk limits first, and invest later.
Mansi: Exactly. You don’t need to know everything about every asset class or market or trading technology. There’s too much to know. Besides – it’s not necessary.
Think about this way – You use your smartphone every day. You make calls, listen to music, use apps. Do you know about the chips that provide storage for the operating system? Or how the microprocessor handles keyboard and display functions?
No. You just use it for what you need.
So think of qplum as a friend giving you the newest phone. It gives you everything you need to meet your investment needs – measuring your risk, identifying a plan, executing it flawlessly and having a crisis plan in place before you need one.
Voila! You’re investing like the big players.
How does qplum work?
Mansi: You sign up with us, we listen to what you need and together we identify a portfolio of strategies for you. Then your money is placed in a separately managed brokerage account under your name.
We’re registered as RIA and execute your chosen portfolio on your behalf.
We explain everything in simple, no-nonsense language. If there’s anything you don’t understand, we want you to tell us.
Gaurav: And our job doesn’t end after you invest. We walk you through the entire process. We want to have meaningful and long-lasting relationships with all our clients.
Ok, so qplum is a robo-advisor. What makes you different from all the others?
Mansi: We’ve focused on the actual quality of advice instead of giving a perception that investing is a quick and slick process. While many low cost, high volume, so called ‘robo-advisors’ have introduced the intriguing concept of investing in less than 5 mins, the truth is there is no shortcut to investing. Our process and investment philosophy is very different:
We listen. This is the most important part of being an advisor. It’s the key to understanding the needs and goals of our clients. The qplum platform has a fully integrated system of ‘listening’ tools to ensure that we know what you need and give you complete control.
We offer a diverse mix of strategies, both beta (passive) and alpha (active), to satisfy the needs of every investor.
We design a solid risk management plan for your portfolio so it’s protected from market downswings and can capitalize from market upswings.
We believe in complete and utter transparency. We’ve published 20 years of back-tested performance for all of our strategies. We make sure that you’re never in the dark.
How much does qplum cost?
Gaurav: It depends on the level of management your portfolio requires. On average, it’s $50 per year for a $10,000 investment.
Mansi: Eh hem…That’s less than what I pay for Netflix every year!
Is there anything else you want to share with my readers?
Mansi: I just want to bring it back to what Gaurav was talking about. Community.
It’s important to know that you’re not alone. There are people out there who not only want to help you deal with your fears and achieve your goals, but can actually make it happen. We hold regular webinars and monthly meetups so people can talk openly about finance issues. You’re always welcome to join us.
Gaurav: If you’re a first-time investor or unhappy with the way you’re currently invested – email us at [email protected] or [email protected]. We’ll sign you up for beta-track so you can start investing with a smaller monthly deposit. Just make sure to include ‘Making Sense’ in the title. Beta-track is an invite-only feature that we’re offering to Making Sense readers.