If you are regular on Facebook & seek advice from the personal finance groups, then it is for sure that, you are a follower of Asan Ideas for Wealth. Yes, you guessed it right. Our today’s guest is the founder of this awesome Facebook group – Ashal Jauhari. His FB group AIFW is helping thousands of people by sharing free advice on Indian personal finance.
Ashal is a very humble person who believes in collective wisdom. Many people don’t know that he is a Chemical Engineer who is contributing such knowledge in the personal finance space than many people from the finance background can’t do. So let’s meet the man behind the most popular FB group on personal finance.
MDLT: Who Is AshalJauhari?
Ashal: I’m a plain, ordinary, simple Indian from the crowd of 1.25 Billion of fellow Indians. Yes, I’m son to my parents, husband to a dear wife and father to 2 sweet little kids (One Son and one daughter). I originally belong to a small city in Uttar Pradesh, named Badaun. Due to my job, currently living in Ahmedabad, Gujarat with my family.
MDLT: Why is he so famous in personal finance niche in India?
Ashal: Honestly speaking I don’t know that whether I’m popular in that niche or not. I’m merely interacting with people online and in the process of sharing the knowledge with them. Each day, it’s me who is getting more and more benefit from these interactions. If people want to call it a ‘Niche’, they may call it. In the core of my heart, I know the truth that ocean of knowledge is flowing all around and I’m sipping just few drops from that ocean.
MDLT: What is personal finance?
Ashal: We need a resource to fulfil all (or most) of our financial goals in life. The management is necessary to use this resource, which we call, “Money”. This management is ‘Personal Finance’.
MDLT: How much educated our country is in personal finance?
Ashal: Contrary to popular belief that we, the Indians are financially illiterate, I beg to differ. I can’t provide data in %age terms but yes, majority of Indians are educated in personal finance. One may argue about level of knowledge say, secondary or Sr. Secondary or Graduation or Post Graduation or Doctorate (If I may borrow these words from normal education set up 🙂 ), but the fact is none of us are illiterate in personal finance. You don’t see people draining down the money into sewer. Yes, sometimes greed override the knowledge part and we notice scams like Speak Asia or Shardha and many others.
MDLT: Are you a blogger?
Ashal: Although I do maintain a blog with the name, asanideasforwealth.wordpress.com but I don’t post regularly there just for the sake of posting and to create traffic. I only post, once I feel a desire to write something. I’m not running blog to attract Advertisements from Google ad sense or to make any profit.
MDLT: Why don’t you write about personal finance in your blog? You are one of the experts.
Ashal: As I told, I do have a blog but I don’t write to earn any profit or for sake of traffic to my blog. Regarding the tag of ‘EXPERT’, honestly speaking, I’m not at all an expert. Many people who don’t know me, are in the impression that I’m from finance background. Truth is, by profession I’m a Chem. Engr. Yes, I do believe in 100% knowledge sharing and doing just that.
MDLT: What is “Asan Ideas for Wealth”?
Ashal: First I started my blog with the same name in 2008-2009 and later on in 2011, started the facebook group with the same name – Asan ideas for Wealth. As on date, AIFW is a large group, having members 10000+ and counting.
Ashal: As on date, there are 10000+ members in the group AIFW. Some of the very popular names of Indian Personal Finance blogging/advisor community are member in AIFW, Like P V Subramanyam of Subramoney, Pattabiraman Murari of freefincal, Dhirendra Kumar of VROL, Shrikant Meenakshi of fundsindia, Manish Chauhan of jagoinvestor, Basavraj of Basunivesh. All the members of AIFW are Indians, as we focus only on Indian personal finance space. Yes, as the Indians are all over the globe, we do have members in AIFW from all over the globe. Be it Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Gulf, Europe, America, Canada.
MDLT: Your FB page is more popular than a top personal finance blog? How is that feeling?
Ashal: This is news to me that AIFW of FB is more popular than a top personal finance blog 🙂 I, along with all the members of AIFW, are merely helping each other to learn personal finance. In the process, common people are getting benefit. We believe in collective wisdom.
In AIFW, we do not stop anybody from asking questions. Each member is free to ask as many questions as s/he wants to. Even those members who actually reply all these queries are also ordinary people and thus we get real life examples or solutions of problems. This thing connects immediately with the people who are asking questions. Also such interactions are free of Jargon and most of the time we use ordinary language.
Within AIFW, we don’t try to serve a FISH to eat. We try to learn, how to FISH. This approach of learning, may be the reason of popularity. Personally, I’m immune to such popularity and rating kind things. The financial well being of AIFW members is more important to me than getting top ranks on popularity.
MDLT: Are you providing professional service? You can utilize your FB page as best platform for that?
Ashal: NO. I’m not into paid advisory thing. I can’t fulfil RIA guidelines of SEBI on account of educational qualification and hence, to be on correct side of the law, I’m not into professional services. As I’m not into professional services, I don’t want to use my AIFW group to earn any single Rupee from it.
MDLT: Why did you jump into Personal finance?
Ashal: I assume, this question is asked for my online presence in personal finance. From my heart, I’m a very selfish person. To improve my own knowledge of personal finance, I had 2 choices.
- Try to learn each book, article, blog, be it paid or free on personal finance.
- Share whatever little bit of knowledge
I have been doing that and in return, I’m getting knowledge from so many people from India as well as abroad. In terms of money, option 2 was beneficial to me and I opted that 🙂 On a serious note, Personal Finance is my Passion and day in and day out, I’m following my passion. The love, respect, admiration, friendships are the perks of my passion that I’m earning is in plenty.
MDLT: How did you meet Jagoinvestor? Why are you so active while commenting on Jagoinvestor.com?
Ashal: In Sept 2005, I incidentally landed on moneycontrol mesageboard (popularly known as MMB). I started reading discussions and answering questions there. In 2008, one person from MMB community, sent me the link of jagoinvestor.com and I come to know of it. Slowly I moved fully to Jagoinvestor.com and specially the forum part of JI.
Due to my involvement in JI forum, many people think that Me and Manish Chauhan (of JI) are business partners but that’s not true. Interestingly, we are yet to see each other face to face physically. Till date, all our interaction has been either on Phone or through chats and emails. Off late, the traffic is so high in AIFW itself that I’m finding it tough to answer in JI forum. Still I try to visit there occasionally and to answer few queries.
MDLT: Do you think writing on personal finance niche is easy?
Ashal: Writing is easy. Creating a niche is not easy. Subra for subramoney, Pattu for freefincal or Manish for JI, all these people have created their own niche and each one of them is totally different in terms of content offered on their respective blogs. One more important point, this niche by the people mentioned above or even others whose names I have not mentioned is not created over night or by some intelligent (read SEO techniques) blogging. It’s the sheer hard work of these persons that common people like me can connect easily with these blogs and can learn few things on their own.
MDLT: Could you share about your experience in Personal finance workshops?
Ashal: Till date I have not attended any personal finance workshop as a speaker. The first one I’m going to attend on 23rd August 2015 in Bangalore. So I can answer properly only after that for my experience as speaker.
MDLT: How many such workshops you have attended or organised? And how was the experience?
Ashal: Till date the no. is ZERO. Yes, through AIFW, Pattu and fellow members have arranged few workshops.
MDLT: Do you have any plan to go commercially with the FB page? Or you would love to continue as passion only?
Ashal: I do not have any plan of making money from AIFW. Personal finance is my passion and it’ll remain so.
MDLT: 5 quick personal finance tips you would love to share, that we ignore all the time?
Ashal: Although I’m not a competent person to answer such thing, still trying with my own understanding as well as the experience of interacting with so many people.
- ‘NO’, this one word can save a lot of problems in our financial lives if we can say to many things imposed on us even if we are either unable to understand properly or due to any obligation. As the old adage goes, “ A stitch in time saves nine”, I w’d say, “if you call a timely ‘NO’, You w’d open the path to ‘GROW’.”
- Don’t procrastinate your personal finance decisions.
- Start INVESTING as early as possible.
- Try to avoid instant gratification
- Before making any financial decision, take time to decide, take help from others but once the decision is taken, don’t try to ask, for the correctness of decision. Reason – “ We always make correct choices/decisions. It’s the outcome or result of these choices that people around us, judge the correctness or wrongness of those decisions.”
And one extra from my side apart from the 5 above. None of us is perfect. So don’t try to search that perfect product to invest in, that perfect time to invest in or that perfect outcome. The important thing is to start. As the tagline of ‘Nike’ says, “Just do it.”
I thank dear Santanu and team MDLT to give me time to express myself. I wish all the success to MDLT.
Thank you so much Ashal Jauhari for your time in answering all the questions & sharing your honest thoughts. If you want to know any other financial tips from him, please feel free to put your comments below.