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The Wisest Owl by Anupam Gupta is a book on personal finance and also the wisdom of SEBI Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) in the form of in-depth interviews and their views on the most commonly asked questions in personal finance. It also has inputs from Professor Sanjay Bakshi (blogs at Fundoo Professor, professor at Management Development Institute, ), Ashal Jauhari  (Admin of the FB group Asan Ideas of Wealth or AIFW), Pattabiraman Murari (Owner of personal finance blog, Kayezad.E. Adajania(journalist and head of personal finance at, Rohit Shah on Checklists for my money

Wisest Owl by Anupam Gupta

Investment Advisors in book Wisest Owl by Anupam Gupta

About the Book, The Wisest Owl,

This book has six chapters covering the following topics 

  • A brave New World: How since Mar 2020 Indians are investing more and more in equities, record DEMAT accounts are being opened, and Investment in Mutual Funds has increased, Indians are moving to Financial from Physical Assets.
  • Kal Aaj or Kal, how investing in India has changed. Kids today are growing up with choices whereas their parents grew up in India with compulsions and their grandparents in an impoverished India with severe constraints. To understand this generation gap one can see the web series Tech Conversations with my Dad by TVF featuring Jitendra Kumar and Gajraj Rao or BuzzFeed’s list of 41 things that are just too real if you have Indian Parents.
  • How FinTechs changed Personal Finance:  Banking, financial services, and insurance(BFSI) industry in India have seen a profound change in the past decade. The Dark Side of Technology
  • The FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early),
  • A Framework for the future( World of Financial advisors, books to start learning about financial products) 
  • Checklists for my money( Checklist of basic financial products, Questions to ask before you commit to an investment, Questions to Ask before hiring a SEBI Registered Investment Advisor, 2 sample financial plans, financial freedom by forty for Sanjay age 25 years, and Retirement at Age Sixty Five for Ancha age thirty-five with a salary of 25 lakhs).

About the Author, Anupam Gupta

Anupam Gupta is the host of the popular finance podcast Paisa Vaisa. Paisa Vaisa has almost two million downloads and won the Best Business Podcast award at the Asia Podcast Awards held in 2019. You can check out the podcasts on his YouTube channel, Paisa Vaisa with Anupam Gupta.

He has co-authored the book, The Victory Project: Six steps to peak potential, with Saurabh Mukherjea. You can check out our review at The Victory Project Book: Simplicity Paradigm, Review

He is a CA(Chartered Accountant). He has over 2 decades of experience as an investment research analyst and a research consultant with leading brokerages such as CLSA, Barclays, and HDFC Securities.

Interview with Investment Advisors

The Book, The Wisest owl, has the wisdom of six SEBI Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) at end of each chapter in form of an interview. These are Dilshad Billimoria, Harsh Roongta, Lovaii Navlakhi, Melvin Joseph, Suresh Sadgopan, Vishal and Shalini Dhawan

The format of the interview covers the following areas:

  • A brief introduction to the RIA(Registered Investment Advisor) with their qualifications, work experience, and achievements
  • Journey into their lives and how they got around to setting up their practice
  • Highlights and insights from the adviser’s experience
  • Advisor views on the most commonly asked questions in personal finance

Commonly Asked Questions in Personal Finance

Anupam Gupta, in his book, The Wisest Owl, interviewed various established Investment Advisors and asked the most commonly asked questions in personal finance which are:

  •  Should I rent or buy a house?
  •  Is passive investing better than active investing? 
  • Are stocks more lucrative than mutual funds? 
  • Do debt funds generate better returns than FDs? 
  • Views on International investing
  • And finally, Crypto or no crypto? 

List of Investment Advisors Interviewed

Name Year of Firm Setup Website
Dilshad Billimoria  2001
Harsh Roongta 2015*
Lovaii Navlakhi 2001
Melvin Joseph 2010
Suresh Sadgopan 2004
Vishal Dhawan, Shalini Dhawan 2003
Rohit Shah

Common Mistakes made by Indians

We liked the part about, Common mistakes that Ashal Jauhari, Admin of the FB group Asan Ideas of Wealth, encountered (page 51). We found ourselves nodding on so many of these. Which one are you guilty of?

Pattu’s reply to the most common mistakes made by people in personal finance is, “Obsession about saving tax, buying real estate not knowing where to draw the line

  1. Not being able to say No to their near ones, even if they are aware that a product pushed by them is not good for their financial life
  2. Not purchasing adequate insurance, be it for life or health or for any other assets and risks
  3. Not maintaining an emergency corpus
  4. On the pretext of avoiding the volatility of equity, people happily chase returns on the fixed-income side of their portfolio
  5. Either not investing in equity  at all or investing too much into it
  6. People will first purchase a product and then try to link it with their needs and requirements. It should be the other way round

Checklist of basic financial products

We loved the chapter, Checklist for my Money. It covers following

  • Checklist of basic financial products.
  • Questions to Ask Before You commit to an Investment
  • Questions to Ask Before Hiring a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser
  • Basics of Financial Plan with two case studies, financial freedom by forty for Sanjay age 25 years, and Retirement at Age Sixty Five for Ancha age thirty-five with a salary of 25 lakhs).
Financial Product General Guidelines Fine Print
Bank account  Bank charges

The range of products and services are more important than the rate of saving bank interest

Hidden bank charges related to investments, foreign exchange transactions etc

Be wary of Relationship Manager selling high-commission products

Emergency corpus Minimum six months of expenses, accessible at (max) twenty-four withdrawal To be parked in high-quality fixed deposits or carefully chosen liquid funds
Credit cards Look for wide acceptability, low annual fees/lifetime fees, low-interest rates, and good reward point Always pay your dues in full on or before the due date, use the cash withdrawal facility only as a last resort/emergency and repay the withdrawal amount as soon as possible, always know the cancellation procedure for the card
Health Insurance Check your specific medical needs, have adequate cover, and have a separate plan over and above what your employer provides Exclusions, waiting periods, room rent limits, fill up your proposal form in all honesty, never hide any detail, pay your premiums on time
Life insurance Calculate your cover carefully, reassess your cover every year, customize your policy, and consider comprehensive coverage instead of add ons Talk to an adviser,

Read and understand the policy before filling it, declare every detail in honesty,

Appoint a nominee for every policy

Do not mix investment and insurance

Equity brokerage Check the range and quality of services and execution, research(if required), and commissions and costs charged Unsolicited tips, power of attorneys to control your account, assured return schemes. Regularly check your Demat statements
Equity Mutual Funds Check whether regular or direct scheme, dividend or growth scheme, total expense ratio, check if scheme philosophy and fund manager track record are aligned with your goals, and check the riskometer Consider index funds and have a long-term plan aligned to your goal
Debt Mutual Fund Understand concepts of duration, interest rate risk, credit rate risk, defaults etc; check the riskometer, align the fun scheme with your goals Consider passive debt funds and be clear on the objectives and expectations from debt funds

A gigantic Opportunity Called India

Sensex will reach a target of 2,00,000 in the next 10 years, Raamdeo Agarwal, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said in In Mar 2021

The Indian economy has been staging a sustained recovery since the second half of 2020-21. In the pandemic year, the IMF forecasted (in its October outlook) India’s GDP to fall by 10.3 percent. We ended up with a lower fall of 6.6 percent. In 2021-22 the IMF forecasted a growth of 9.5 percent but India’s GDP grew by 8.9 percent.

The IMF has cut its FY23 GDP growth projections for India from 7.4 percent in July to 6.8 percent in its October World Economic Outlook.  The reasons range from lower-than-expected GDP print in Q2:FY23, elevated inflation, sluggish advance indicators such as the PMI and IIP growth, and the uncertain global conditions which are expected to adversely impact India’s exports and supply chains.

But  Is India poised for strong economic growth? Will the stock market be buoyant after having recovered from March 2020’s pandemic’s panic-driven lows?

To quote Yogi Berra, “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future”.

Indian Economy Outlook: Firing on Multiple Cylinders

Indian Economy Outlook, bull run

Indian Economy Outlook

The dark side of technology

Digital technology has given us comforts and conveniences that could scarcely be imagined even a generation ago

But there are drawbacks to progress. Some critics lament the power of a few giant social media outlets to shape public opinion

Cyberthieves steal personal information and use it to drain bank accounts or make fraudulent online credit card purchases Hackers can take control of cars or shut down an electric grid.

Email, mobile phones, and social media, while revolutionizing communication, take a toll on the productivity of office workers mesmerized by their Instagram/Twitter feeds or addicted to instant messaging.

A booming stock market, wildly gyrating cryptocurrencies and a large enough number of people hungry to make a quick buck will also give rise to shady schemes and scams. Here are few examples from the recent past

In Jan 2022, SEBI cracked down on a stock recommendations scam that used Twitter and Telegram.

Rise of Financial Influencers

Today, on the internet, there is free advice on almost everything, including money. The influencer economy in India is pegged at 900 crores and is growing at 25%. The impact of influencers was known in fashion and lifestyle but the pandemic pushed them into finance as well.  Covered in Page 47 of the book

Popularity is easy, and credibility is tough.

Note: The example is not from the book.

“For Everything Crypto Just Vauld”,  in October 2021 Vauld caught a lot of people’s attention. It also came up with a super attractive fixed deposit with an interest rate of 12.68 per cent, an enticing offer indeed. They roped in popular financial influencers, finfluencers, to talk up the crypto “Fixed Deposits”. While the strategy may have paid off the company initially, questions are now being raised on the “influence” that finfluencers wielded on genuine and gullible investors, who may have jumped into investments without fully understanding the risks they entailed. Twitter was abuzz with angry reactions

Financial Influencers and The Vauld Fiasco

Financial Influencers and The Vauld Fiasco

Books and Authors recommended in the Book

Money and our relationship with it—our fears, greed, insecurities and over-confidence—define who we are and what we do- Monica Halan

How do you realize your financial dreams and prosper in your financial journey? How do you learn more about personal finance. Books set up this foundation and then one can update his/her knowledge. Some of the Authors and their books that are mentioned in the book are given below.

You can also check out our article Best Books about Stock Market, Psychology, Personal Finance, Mutual Funds

Saurabh Mukherjee: is the founder and Chief investment officer of, Portfolio Management Services(PMS), Marcellus Investment Managers Author of books like, Gurus of Chaos, Unusual Billionaires (on corporate success in 2016), Coffee Can Investing (on building a portfolio consisting of rare companies, in 2018), The Victory Project(2020), Diamonds in the Dust(2022). You can check out our review at The Victory Project Book: Simplicity Paradigm, Review

Monika Halan: Lets talk money(2018), She is a Writer, Author, and Speaker. She was Consulting Editor with Mint, Adjunct Professor at NISM. You can check out the review of the book in our article, Let talk Money by Monika Halan, a Personal finance book for Indians

Deepak Shenoy, book Moneywise, head of Capitalmind. Website Capitalmind provides a subscription for stock market analytics, a set of algorithmically discovered portfolios, and a well-knit community.  Book Moneywise,  takes you on a journey about how to grow your money by investing, the pitfalls, and the things to watch out for. You can check out  the Excerpt from Money Wise: Discovering who you are

Morgan Housel, The psychology of money. The finance industry talks too much about what to do, and not enough about what happens in your head when you try to do it. Book The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel describes flaws, biases, and causes of bad behaviour that the author observed when people deal with money. It explores our relationship with money and how it connects with life’s bigger picture. A simple and easy read, must for everyone. You can check out our review of the book here, Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel: A must read book

Ben Carlson, a wealth of common sense. He is the Director of Institutional Asset Management at Ritholtz Wealth Management. He has spent his career working with various nonprofit, institutional and high-net-worth clients to help them plan and invest their money wisely. He is also author of the blog, A Wealth of Common Sense. A Wealth of Common Sense helps all investors make more informed decisions using sound thinking as a guiding framework to help alleviate some of the lasting damage from the market crash, Why long-term thinking trumps short-term gains, Which market myths are true and which you can ignore, How to identify market and portfolio risk etc.

Should you read the Book, The Wisest Owl by Anupam Gupta

One more personal finance Book (In tone of Karan Johar’ one more remix song from Aank Maare in Simbaa).

There are many personal finance books in India now. This is not a typical personal finance book, you would not find information on Which funds to invest or details about PPF. The book assumes one knows and understands personal finance products.

The book is different from other personal finance books available in the market. It covers a lot of topics, new topics, like The FIRE or Fin Influencers or the dark side of technology. It gives you a bigger picture, of how Indians investing habits have changed. And on a gigantic Opportunity Called India.

The Checklists and answers to the most common financial questions make this book priceless, it gives you an opportunity to hear from India’s top Investment advisors, and financial experts.

  • Should I rent or buy a house?
  • Is passive investing better than active investing?
  • Are stocks more lucrative than mutual funds?
  • Do debt funds generate better returns than FDs?
  • Should one do International investing
  • And finally, Crypto or no crypto?

The thing I did not like about the book was the pictures, and charts. And no mention of the tax.

I am also curious to know “Why is the book called the Wisest Owl”. Is it because Owl is related to Goddess Lakshmi? Why is owl related to Goddess Lakshmi?

I read the book and enjoyed it a lot. (Much more than I expected to).

Related Articles:

What do you think will Sensex be like in the next 10 years? Do you think India’s economy and the stock market will continue to grow? What are your answers to answers to the most common financial questions? What is your checklist for buying financial products? Do you have a financial plan?


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