Thursday, October 17, 2013

Author Interview: Akhil Khanna

Congratulations on such a huge success of the book! Did you expect it to be so well received?
The book Lets Talk Money – Road to Riches Made Easy is an honest attempt from my heart to impart financial knowledge to middle class readers from non-financial background, so that they are in a better equipped to decide the level of risk they would want to take with their hard earned savings. I was confident that anyone who would spend time and effort in reading this book would not be fooled into investing their money blindly in something which does not suit their risk profile. 
There are mainly two hurdles that prevent an investor from understanding the financial system, one is procrastination and the other is the belief that someone else out there in the world will make their life financially better or is actually interested in making them rich. Every investor has to realize that no one is more interested in your financial well being than you yourself and for that you have to devote time and effort to understand money and the rules of the game as they exist today and change from time to time.
Untouched topic, in a way. How high was the anxiety?
The anxiety level was pretty high as I never considered myself to be a writer till I started researching and began to understand the making of the Global Financial Crisis five years ago. As I did not have any experience in teaching, I thought the next best way to make people understand the severity of this financial turmoil was to write about it. Having written well appreciated articles on the financial crisis over the last four years, I decided to make an attempt in making investing simple for readers from non financial background and came up with this book which a high school student can comfortably understand and implement.
Tell us something about your struggle with getting published. We have a fair idea that it isn’t a cake walk. But how was the real deal for you?
This is my first attempt to write a book. A new author is rarely backed by established publishing houses. My manuscript was turned away by a number of publishing houses because it is a non-fiction book and not a topic of mass appeal. I am grateful to Times Group Books for the confidence they placed in my manuscript and their willingness to publish it.  I had made up my mind that in the worst case scenario I would go ahead and publish the book on my own as my intention to bring financial literacy to the middle class non financial background was bigger than the profit or loss made in publishing and marketing the book. 
Teaching people from non finance backgrounds, about their finances, in a simple, easy-to-understand language. Was it a difficult gamble to play?
There was never any gamble to the idea because I believe that if anyone older than a high school student from any profession takes out time to read the book “Let’s Talk Money”, he/she will be able to manage the individual savings in a better manner and enjoy a better standard of living in the long run. The only thing required to manage one’s money is the intention and willingness to do so. The whole financial system is much simpler than it is made out to be. We have to keep in mind that a normal investor is not out to become a financial wizard but is looking for enough information that helps one to broadly decide the level of risk one wants to take with the savings. Such a call can only be taken when an individual knows the level of risks associated with the different investment alternatives available. Moreover an understanding of the overall macro economy is important because there is no investment strategy that works at all times and it is necessary to change investments in response to the changes in the financial environment.
How and when did you decide to be a published author? Was it always a plan, or did you start thinking on the lines when you thought you had a plot with you.
Writing the book was never a plan. In fact I had never imagined myself as author in my wildest dreams. Things turned in the year 2007 when I was handed over the responsibility of managing the family portfolio of investments. I found that most people belonging to the middle income group invested in some asset class based on either recommendation of their friends and relatives or based on advice of the experts in the media. Following this investment method, a large no. of them lost a substantial portion of their savings after a period of few years. This led me to research about the reasons why an investor should invest in a particular asset class. My research led me to believe that a global financial crisis was brewing, which was likely to affect almost every human life on earth. I started writing articles on Global Financial Crisis in 2009 which were published on the net and were well received by the readers. 
I realized that people can better manage their savings if they understood money in a simplified manner without the fancy jargon thrown at them. Moreover if the middle class of the society were shown the bigger economic picture with logical reasoning, they would be in a position to take judicious decisions as to the level of risk they would like to expose their savings. The response to my articles gave me the confidence to write this book which explains money management to a non finance person using illustrations which they can relate to in their day to day lives. This book identifies and evaluates various investment options and tries to logically link the effect of the ongoing Global Financial Crises on these investments.

Is it difficult to write with a full time job?
As I run my own business, scaling down my commercial activities to pursue my objective of researching the Global Financial Crisis and writing the book was not much of a problem. 
What next? New genre; or you would want to stick to finance?

My main aim regarding “Lets Talk Money” was to simplify the basics of investing and the explanation of the ongoing Global Financial Crises to a normal investor as I believe that this unstable financial environment is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. Moreover the inherent weakness in the political systems and democracy prevalent today is likely to ensure that this crisis gets much worse before it gets better. I have tried to assign logical reasoning and highlight the key issues which led me to my conclusions.  The sequel of “Lets Talk Money’ is only likely if there is a change in the way the global central bankers and politicians tackle the ongoing crisis. Till then all the likely outcomes that I can think of are already covered in this book.
Who do you read, who are your favorites?
I used to be a regular reader of fiction thrillers since my schooling days which started with Hardy Boys and moved to Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, Jeffery Archer etc and some others like the Dilbert series. In my thirties my taste in books changed to a variety of topics like Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Present, Who stole my Cheese, Many Lives Many Masters etc. Since I started researching the Global Financial Crisis five years ago, 1most of my reading time is devoted to financial news and blogs to keep myself updated on the developments in the financial world and the implications of the changes. 

1 comment:

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