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Where to invest in 2024: F.R.I.E.N.D.S edition

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January 24, 2024

Summary

What’s Inside

"Where are you investing this year?" I'm sure you have heard this at least five times since 2024 started — either from a friend, a colleague, a spouse or a roommate. Usually, it's followed by: "Aren't AI stocks the best deal this year?" or "Have you thought of investing anywhere other than mutual funds?". And if this weren't enough, for some, advice from parents on investing in real estate would make it to this list. 

Investment opportunities are endless…While there will always be noise around what investment tools are the best, we're here to help you find the right ones based on your financial situation in 2024. And to keep things fun, we're using the hit TV series F.R.I.E.N.D.S as an allegory.

Could these investments be more perfect for me?

F.R.I.E.N.D.S is still relevant 30 years later. There's a reason why it's constantly on India's TOP 10 shows on Netflix. Across generations, folks still look at it for dating advice, friendship tips, survival tactics, and much more. We've all had a 'hard relate' moment with the characters.
But today, we're viewing them through a fiscal lens. What are their spending patterns, and what could be their best investment options in 2024 if they were non-fictional? 

Whether you find yourself confidently strutting through life like a modern-day Joey Tribbiani or analysing every detail with the precision of Ross Geller, the investment world has something special in store for you in 2024. But, before we jump in — let’s cover some basic financial terms.

Basic Investment Terms

Risk

First things first - what is your 'risk appetite'? Think of risk appetite as your comfort level with taking chances or dealing with uncertainties. It's like buying a t-shirt from an unknown brand at a massive discount or buying a t-shirt from a popular brand at a premium offline. The outcome and quality of the t-shirt you buy from an unknown brand online is a risk you're willing to take. On the other hand, you're opting for lower risk when purchasing a t-shirt from an offline store, paying in full. 

Types of investments

Risk 

A Few Examples of Investment Tools 

High-Risk

Options

Futures

Collectibles 

Moderate-Risk

Real Estate 

Equity Mutual Funds 

Large / Small Cap Stocks

High-Income Bonds / Debt  

Low-Risk 

Government Bonds / Debt

Money Market / Bank Account 

CDs / Notes / Bills 

Cash and Cash Equivalents 

Return

What is 'return'? Simply put, the income you generate from an investment is the return. Investment risk and return are highly correlated. There might be investment avenues which offer high returns but at a higher risk. And alternatively, there may be higher risks alongside not-so-high returns. Here's a quick overview of some investment products in this regard: 

Financial Products

Avg Return

Market Volatility

Liquidity Risk/ Reinvestment Risk/ NPA

Credit Risk/ Collection Risk

Operational Creditors

REITs

7-8%

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

P2P lending

10-12%

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Invits

8-9%

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Solar Projects

10-12%

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Now that you have a fair idea of what risk appetite and returns are, I'm sure you have started putting yourself in the shoes of one or more characters already! So let's get started! 

Ross Geller 

In the show, Ross is often portrayed as financially responsible and stable. As a palaeontologist, he likely earns a decent income, and throughout the series, he's seen as the most economically accountable among the group.

If you are conscious about your money like Ross, you would have saved enough to cover your emergencies. Because he has a permanent job, it is safe to assume there won't be any issues with his future income flow. 

Considering all these factors, it would be safe to say that Ross can invest a good chunk of his portfolio in high-risk investments. If you relate to Ross and his financial patterns, here's an investment portfolio we've curated:

Investment Portfolio

Portfolio Allocation(%)

Expected Return

High-risk investments

50- 60%

More than 20% ( Market Linked Returns)

Moderately risky investments

40-30%

10-15% (Market Linked Returns)

Low-risk investments

10-20%

6-8%

Monica Geller 

Monica is depicted as financially organised and savvy. Her chef career suggests a stable income, and her meticulous nature extends to her financial habits. Monica's financial stability becomes more apparent as the series progresses. If your personality resonates with Monica's, you also enjoy saving money and may often be the voice of reason within your circle. 

In the series, Monica discusses her interest in stock investment with her friends and seeks financial help from Rachel Green to meet her marriage expenses. If you're someone who's looking at high-ticket expenses in the future and is open to higher-risk exposure, here's a curated investment portfolio for you: 

Investment Portfolio

Portfolio Allocation(%)

Purpose

Expected Return

High-risk investments

20-30%

Wealth Creation

More than 20% ( Market Linked Returns)

Moderately risky investments

40-50%

Long-term goals like Marriage, opening her restaurant

10-15% (Market Linked Returns)

Low-risk investments

20-30%

Emergency Funds and Short term goals

6-8%

Chandler Bing

Chandler's financial situation is initially ambiguous in the series. But Bing later revealed that he has a well-paying job in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration. While this was a speculation, he did have a higher income than most characters, but still feared commitment and struggled to manage his money responsibly. His financial habits turned positive after he started a committed relationship with Monica. 

If you have a stable monthly salary and are similar to Chandler, it is advisable to set up automated investments. Sticking to a monthly budget and avoiding debt will also help with the cause, but monthly SIPs are the way to go. Here’s one way of looking at it:

Investment Portfolio

Portfolio Allocation (%)

Expected Return

High-risk investments

10-20%

More than 20% ( Market Linked Returns)

Moderately risky investments

40-60%

10-15% (Market Linked Returns)

Low-risk investments

20-40%

6-8%

Rachel Green

At first, Rachel is introduced in the series as 'financially dependent on her father'. However, she gradually becomes independent. Her career spans wide — from her early struggles as a working-class waitress to earning a footing in the fashion industry and becoming more financially stable and responsible.

If, like her, you are starting in the professional world and are currently in your first or second job, invest wisely and incrementally. As your salary and work experience evolve, increase your investment amount based on your risk appetite like so: 

Investment Portfolio

Portfolio Allocation(%)

Expected Return

High-risk investments

20-30%

More than 20% ( Market Linked Returns)

Moderately risky investments

40-50%

10-15% (Market Linked Returns)

Low-risk investments

20-30%

6-8%

Joey Tribbiani

Joey is consistently portrayed as ‘financially challenged’ throughout the series. As an aspiring actor, he faces financial instability and often relies on the support of his friends. Despite his limited financial resources, Joey is generous and willing to share what little he has with his friends. More often than not, he relies on Chandler for rent and bill payments. When he gets some money, he spends it and sometimes ends up with nothing. 

While Joey is a fun-loving, carefree personality, as life progresses, he may want to look at stability. If you can relate to Joey, there’s nothing to worry about immediately; there’s time to set your financial foot firmly. Given Joey’s nature of spending, his objective should be creating an emergency fund so his investment portfolio will be skewed towards low-risk investments. Here’s a breakup of how your portfolio could look like:

Investment Portfolio

Portfolio Allocation (%)

Expected Return

Moderately risky investments

20-30%

10-15% (Market Linked Returns)

Low-risk investments

70-80%

6-8%

Phoebe Buffay

Phoebe's financial situation is the most unconventional among the group. She has a unique and quirky approach to money, having lived on the streets and developed a self-reliant attitude. Despite her unconventional background, Phoebe is portrayed as resourceful and is not overly concerned with material wealth. Her free-spirited and alternative lifestyle often drives her financial habits.

If you’re like Phoebe - a person who is more focused on short-term goals and wants to live their life to the fullest and in the present rather than relying on long-term goals, here’s how you can plan out your investments:

Investment Portfolio

Portfolio Allocation(%)

Expected Return

Low-risk investments

100%

6-8%

Disclaimer

Investment and securities are subject to market risks. Please read all the related documents carefully before investing. The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and not to be taken as a recommendation to buy or sell securities, mutual funds, or any other financial products.
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