Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Art of Valuation

How do you determine if something is expensive? Is a book available at Rs 5,000 expensive? Is a pair of shoes available at Rs 3,000 expensive? Is a music system selling at Rs 2 lakh expensive? Or is the latest iPhone 11, which will probably be around Rs 1 lakh, expensive?

At the outset, it’s easy to say that most of these things are “expensive.” The metric of expensiveness that most of us unconsciously use here is what the average product in the category costs. A book is available at Rs 200. Why buy one at Rs 5,000? A phone comes under Rs 10,000, why buy an iPhone that’s over Rs 1 lakh? Another metric that’s consciously applied is they money you have at disposal. If your bank account has just Rs 5,000, a Rs 3,000 pair of shoes is a big ask.

Both the metrics mentioned above are not the true gauge of expensiveness. Expensiveness should be judged against features, quality, excellence and so on. For instance, a Rs 5,000 book that captures the best information and presents it to you in a highly appealing form isn’t expensive. It’s actually cheap. By reading it, you will get useful information that will help you in the future in directly and indirectly making money. If not anything, it will help fulfill your intellectual appetite and will be a joy to read. 

The iPhone is elusive to many, given its high price, yet it may not be expensive. With the superior safety that Apple products provide you, combined with the cutting-edge technology and the pride that comes with owning an Apple product (I don’t know many proud Android or Samsung or Xiaomi users), it’s actually a bargain. If you don’t have the required amount to spend, that’s a different story. But that doesn’t make the iPhone expensive.

When you invest in stocks, you don’t look at the stock price alone. You read it in conjunction with other fundamental factors such as earnings. Similarly, don’t see things from the price perspective alone. Compare the price with the excellence the product offers. You will be surprised to find many bargains around you that you once felt were eye-watering. 

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