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Money Apr 29, 2014

Rahul, Modi and Kejriwal: Meet the gambler, cash-in-hand man and the model aam aadmi

By Firstbiz Editors
Rahul, Modi and Kejriwal: Meet the gambler, cash-in-hand man and the model aam aadmi

Reuters

Now that we know how much of assets the three most high-profile candidates of India’s 2014 elections – Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal – have, Firstbiz decided to do a quick scan of those assets to see what they reveal about their financial savviness.

Here's what we found.

Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party candidate: The Cash-in-hand Man
Total declared assets: Rs 1.65 crore

With about Rs 59 lakh in cash and bank balances, Modi keeps almost 90 percent of his movable assets in liquid assets. About Rs 4.5 lakh, or a meagre 8 percent of movable assets, is invested in financial assets such, as tax-saving bonds and insurance policies.

The big asset in his portfolio is property, which accounts for 65 percent of his total (movable+immovable) assets.

Modi is clearly ultra-conservative when it comes to finances. He’s highly risk averse and prefers holding on to such a high proportion of his assets in liquid assets, which means he’s giving up the chance to put that money to work in alternative, higher-return investments. On the other hand, he should be pretty well prepared for any major financial emergency.

Overall, his portfolio suggests one thing: Modi might be great at promoting business interests, but he is probably never going to cut it as an industrialist himself. He’s way too conservative with his money to take even calculated risks. And he has too much liquid cash lying around earning nothing but minimal interest.

Most financial advisors would probably advise Modi to become more financially savvy by upping his investments in assets, such as equities and some debt instruments. 

If he’s wary about stock market investments, he could start small with a systematic investment plan. Indeed, given that Modi mania is believed to be driving the stock market to record highs almost every other week, he should definitely give equities a second look.

Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi candidate: The Model Aam Aadmi
Total declared assets: Rs 2.14 crore

Kejriwal’s combined declared assets (his and his wife’s) may be higher than Modi’s, but when it comes to financial wealth building, he, like Modi, has a lot to learn.

Modi and Kejriwal share one thing in common: their love for property. With almost 90 percent invested in property, and then some in gold (through his wife’s declared assets), the Kejriwals have a definite fascination for physical assets.

Kejriwal himself has absolutely no financial assets in the form of bonds, mutual fund investments, etc; in fact, his financial investments extend only to a bank balance of around Rs 4.1 lakh.

His wife has a little more stocked up in financial assets – about Rs 7.6 lakh in bank balances, and around Rs 36,000 in a mutual fund. However, more than 50 percent of her movable assets are in the form of gold – about Rs 9.2 lakh worth.

The family’s investments reflect a very cautious and financially conservative attitude that is averse to taking undue risks with money. In fact, the Kejriwals are possibly a very typical ‘aam aadmi’ family, which invests mainly in physical assets, such as gold and property, and shies away from equity-based investments.

Since about 90 percent of the Kejriwals' total assets are in the form of property, the family also has relatively few liquid assets. That could be potentially a dangerous situation in case of any financial emergency.  In addition, very few of his assets actually earn any income, assuming the declared properties are self-occupied.

The Kejriwals could certainly do with some professional financial planning advice. “Since he is a family man with a wife and two children, he should begin with having financial goals, like building a corpus for education for his children, their marriage and his and his spouse’s retirement,” says Mumbai-based Certified Financial Planner Pankaj Mathpal.

Most financial experts would possibly advice Kejriwal to invest more in debt and equity products. Like Modi, investments in equities and debt instruments under a systematic investment plan could potentially do wonders for his wealth creation abilities.

Rahul Gandhi, Indian National Congress candidate: The Great Gambler
Total assets: Rs 9.4 crore

A quick look at the Gandhi scion’s assets reveals that he is the most financial-asset friendly of the three.  He has nearly Rs 10 lakh in cash and bank balances, and another Rs 1.03 crore in financial investments such as postal savings, mutual funds and debentures.

The interesting thing about his asset profile is that he has also lent around Rs 7 crore to other persons/entities. That accounts for a huge proportion – around 85 percent – of his movable assets. Unlike Modi or Kejriwal, Rahul has far less money tied up in property – about 14 percent of his total assets.

His asset portfolio suggests that he is quite the risk-taker. “..this is very risky and as it’s an unsecured loan, he should try and recover the loan asap,” notes Mathpal, adding that the 40-year-old Gandhi  should start thinking about building a retirement corpus.

That’s probably good advice. It probably isn’t the wisest of ideas to become an individual banker; with the current slowdown, many large banks are straining under the weight of stressed loans. Rahul will have to monitor his loans carefully if he wants to prevent his assets turning bad. Given his inclination to take risks, he could potentially be a good businessman. Or not.

Unlike the advice for Modi or Kejriwal, most advisors are likely to suggest that Rahul should scale down his financial risk taking. The Congress leader could also modestly increase his exposure to real estate, as well as conventional financial instruments, such as equities and debt.

(Please note: Movable assets refer to cash, bank balances, financial investments, loans and advances made to other entities/persons, jewellery and other valuables and other claims. Immovable assets refer to property and land.)

For the earlier Firstbiz story on the asset composition of the three political leaders, click on this  link. All data taken from Election Commission of India website.

by Firstbiz Editors

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