How the stock market boom has made investor dreams a reality

Bull markets do not sustain indefinitely, and investors who haven’t seen a full cycle can suffer during an abrupt halt. (Image: Pixabay)
Bull markets do not sustain indefinitely, and investors who haven’t seen a full cycle can suffer during an abrupt halt. (Image: Pixabay)


  • Deploy outsized gains sensibly, diversifying them in multiple assets like debt and gold
  • Unsure how to do this? Approach a Sebi-registered investment adviser

A new generation of young investors is unlocking wealth through the stock market, riding the crest of a four-year boom—their journeys highlighting the transformative power of strategic investing in today’s dynamic financial landscape.

From law students to merchant navy officers, these millennial and Gen Z investors, armed with technology and financial literacy, are turning modest beginnings into substantial gains, fuelling dreams and changing lives.

Take Raunaq Bali, a 25-year-old law student, for instance, who turned his internship stipend into a profitable portfolio, and bought his first scooter, laptop and black robe. He is not alone. This story of youthful ambition and strategic investing resonates across the nation, signalling a new era of wealth creation.

Zerodha, one of India’s leading stock trading platforms, captures this trend. Zerodha users have collectively earned 50,000 crore in profits over the past four years, even after accounting for losses. Besides, another 1 trillion in profit is currently parked in their trading accounts, out of a base of 4.5 trillion.

That said, while our story features four people clocking significant gains, before taking the plunge do due diligence and not just buy into the exuberance, as untold stories of heartbreaks and losses are equally commonplace. So, always be mindful of the risks involved in stock trading.

The New-Gen Investors

Raunak Bali's investment journey began during the lockdown, leveraging Zerodha’s educational platform, Varsity, to learn the basics. His disciplined approach and strategic stock picks, including ITC and Tata Motors, led to substantial gains. “I didn’t get to buy the March 2020 dip as I didn’t have money," he said with a chuckle.

However, what Bali achieved is rudimentary, yet inspirational. He invested his monthly internship stipend of 5,000in stocks and doubled his portfolio, using the proceeds to make a down payment of 30,000 for his two-wheeler, and 36,000 for the laptop. He also redeemed 10,000 to buy into his professional identity—the black robe.

For Bisha Halder, 41, a merchant navy officer, life mostly meant spending time at sea, away from family. But with improved internet connectivity, he learned stock picking while sailing, and saw his investments double over the past four years. The profits enabled him to buy a Ford Endeavor for 35 lakh, and pursue hobbies like scuba diving and wildlife photography, and even got a membership at an elite club in Kolkata.

Halder follows a fundamental style of investing, and is now contemplating reducing his time at sea, with complete retirement on the horizon if the markets remain favorable.

Kasturi Sanap, 34, an engineer-turned-finance professional, used her stock market gains to take a career break for over a year, allowing her to focus on her family and have her second child. “It wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have those stock market gains." Sanap suffered heavily during the covid crash, but persisted with her disciplined approach to see her portfolio rebound swiftly, enabling her to withdraw 60,000 every month during her career break.

Abhishek Date, 27, a research analyst, has seen his initial investment of 15 lakh zoom to 29 lakh since 2019. “I’m just 27 and I already have a portfolio of 29 lakh, which is unbelievable." Date is more excited about compounding his money, prefers mutual funds for future investments, and does not have a spending plan.

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Dreamers to achievers

Law Unto Yourself

Bali decided to do some research on the stock market during the lockdown. He used Zerodha's education platform Varsity to learn the basics and quickly opened a demat account. In October 2021, during Diwali, when his mom handed him 6,000, he used that money to buy ITC and Tata Motors shares.

The cigarette and auto stock-pick worked, and his portfolio climbed to 9,000. He later liquidated it and bought Adani Power shares. Bali wanted to bet on the price movement, following the swing trading strategy. That worked well, and his portfolio increased to around 13,000.

Around April 2022, he started writing legal content as part of a paid internship, working remotely from his home. He reinvested the 5,000 monthly stipend into equities, setting aside 1,000 for SIPs and the rest in large-cap stocks. “I thought small companies were risky and wanted to preserve my capital."

His investments in three IPOs also paid off, yielding good listing gains. He tried his luck with intraday margin, leveraging 5x of his investments. “I used to wake up and watch stocks in focus for the day." Leverage trading worked also in his favor. That’s when he bought the two-wheeler, laptop, and a black robe. He has now extended his internship for another year.

Also Read: Dear retail investor, here is how to account for politics in your investing

Now, Bali has become an "investment advisor" for his college mates, who seek his advice. But, he only tells them what not to buy, rather than what to buy.

His graduation is just a month away, so, he has decided to invest only in mutual funds as he’ll have little time to monitor stocks as he gets to wears his black robe and set sail on another successful journey. “I would rather pay 0.7% expense ratio than lose everything," he said, echoing his father's advice that the stock market “is not a child’s play".

The World Is Your Oyster

Halder leveraged his free time at sea to learn about stock markets. His focus on undervalued companies with strong future potential yielded impressive returns. His diversified portfolio, informed by sources like Zerodha Varsity and the Valuepickr forum, now supports his expensive hobbies and significant purchases.

Halder started his sailing career right after finishing 12th grade in 2002, earning a decent salary for the first 10 years. However, he wanted to build wealth, and soon realized that buying apartments on EMI wouldn't suffice. This prompted him to learn about investing during his free time. With improved internet connectivity, he deepened his knowledge using resources like Zerodha Varsity and the Valuepickr forum.

Halder follows a fundamental investing style, seeking companies with strong future earnings potential that the market is yet to recognise. Since he started investing in 2011, his Zerodha console shows an extended internal rate of return (XIRR) of 115%.

After the market recovered from the Covid lows, he booked profits and bought a Ford Endeavor for 35 lakh, and started pursuing hobbies such as wildlife photography, scuba diving, and photographing large underwater species like sharks. “If markets were not kind to me, I would probably not be able to pursue these interests and buy expensive gears."

He is now planning to quit his job as a merchant navy captain if markets remain favourable. He declined to disclose his exact portfolio amount but indicated it now amounts to multiple crores.

Back to Drawing Board

In 2013, Sanap pivoted from her three-year engineering career to pursue an MBA in finance. She secured a placement in 2016 but struggled to save money in the first year as she was servicing her EMIs. In January 2018, while preparing for her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams, she started investing small amounts, which enhanced her understanding of companies.

Then the covid crash in March 2020 saw her portfolio plummet from 50 lakh to around 20 lakh, primarily with her mid- and small-cap investments taking a severe hit. But she remained resilient, and rather than selling the stocks, she withdrew 10 lakh from her fixed deposit, and reinvested it in stocks.

“I thought the valuations were attractive." Sanap, who has cleared all levels of the CFA examination, said her portfolio quickly recovered and doubled within six to seven months.

Around the same time, realizing her biological clock was ticking as she approached her 30s, and considering her substantial savings through equity, she opted for a 18-month career break and welcomed her second baby in April 2022. “This would not have happened if there were no stock market gains to look after my daily expenses."

Pushing the Envelope

Date bought his first stock while in 12th grade, opting for shares of Navneet Education, which sells CBSE textbooks and stationery. However, his real investment journey started after completing his master's in economics. He landed a job as a research analyst at a magazine, earning 45,000 a month, and managed to invest 25,000, after meeting his daily expenses.

In 2019, Date invested in chemical and fertilizer stocks, benefitting from the sector's rally. He then allocated a significant portion to small- and mid-cap stocks, as he saw potential in undervalued companies battered by the impact of demonetization. His strategy paid off well as the stocks rebounded.

“I think I got lucky." Date's portfolio has grown to 29 lakh with an investment of 15 lakh.However, he is now investing only in MFs, including Canara Robeco Large cap, Mirae Asset Midcap, and Nippon Small-Cap fund. He is currently working as an assistant manager at The Clearing Corp. of India Ltd.

A reality check

It's important to note that bull markets do not last indefinitely, and investors who have not seen a full market cycle can face challenges when the market reverses. In each bull run, a new wave of such investors emerges.

“Everyone is a genius in a bull market. Jab bull market ata hai woh sab ko deta hai (everyone earns in a bull market), but until you complete a full cycle, you don’t know if you made money due to your wisdom or was it just because the market was having a good season. Every flower blooms in spring," said ace investor Vijay Kedia of Kedia Securities.

Also Read: Chain smokers may survive for 30 years, F&O traders die sooner: Vijay Kedia

Investors should, therefore, deploy their outsized gains sensibly, diversifying into multiple assets such as debt and gold, besides equity. If you’re unsure how to do this, approach a Sebi-registered investment adviser. If the gains are frittered away, or worse still, leverage is taken to amplify them, you may see your dreams turning into a nightmare.

Also Read: Message for managers of other people’s money: Read the economy right

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