(This column was first published on Value Research Online.)

In last week’s column, I had written about 30 things to do before the Sensex hits 30,000. This week has showed us that this won’t happen easily. The Sensex even slipped below 29,000 points a few days back, which again proves how fickle the equity markets can be. But we already know that, don’t we? And don’t cringe, I’m not going to harp on the same thing here again.

What I am going to talk about is one of the 30 points from my previous column that received a lot of attention. It was the point that said, “Take a picture of your friend holding up the book you lend them, it’s important to have proof for future reference.” To all the readers who said thanks for this tip, you’re all very welcome. But I’m surprised you don’t do this already. In all fairness, this isn’t an original idea that originated in my head. I found it long back somewhere on the WWW. I found it to be as brilliant as it really is, primarily because I have lost a few friends to books that were never returned, and secondarily because having proof is important.

Having proof is even more important when it comes to the investments you make. A lot of times, too often actually, we get queries from investors who don’t have an exact idea about what they have invested in. It’s usually either direct equity investments or some kind of corporate bonds or an insurance product that they get influenced into buying. Most of the times they don’t know what the investment is actually in, and often not even the name of the company that they’ve given their money to. The real problem arises because people don’t keep adequate and proper documentation of their investment. All they have is a vague idea of what they’ve put their money in, rarely any conclusive evidence of the same.

I can only imagine how catastrophic this ends up being for investors who know it’s their money, but they have no means of claiming it. It surely is worse than lending a book to a friend but never getting it back. Hence, it goes without saying that one needs to save the documents they receive when they put their money in any kind of financial product or service. There’s no easy way to make money, but not having proof of your investments is surely an easy way to lose money.