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Self-confident Silvers!

Agewell Foundation is committed to reassure, assist and be there for older people always, in all ways

 

Old age, often, is not a happy phase of life for many seniors. We, as a society, tend to neglect the elderly or are callous about their needs. Himanshu Rath is one of those who has been working with some of these hapless aged persons and trying to restore self-confidence and dignity in their lives. 

 
Over time, he got together a group of professionals, senior bureaucrats, university professors, artists, writers, judges and others who sincerely believed in the same cause, and set up Agewell Foundation. The Foundation seeks to reach out to a larger audience of older persons to act as a catalyst of change in bridging the gap between generations and ensure a life of respect and comfort for old people. Its mission is to initiate steps towards creating senior citizen-friendly environment, advocacy for the needs and rights of senior citizens, extend a helping hand to them wherever required and cultivate a sense of moral and social responsibility towards senior citizens. 
 
Agewell Foundation interacts with older persons and their care-givers at all levels—family, community and State. There is a need for such organised effort, even when seniors are living with their families, says Mr Rath. “People hate loneliness, alienation and marginalisation in old age. That’s why they prefer to keep mum and keep suffering abuse and mistreatment.” 
 
Seniors are reluctant to take any legal action even when they ill-treated. “One of the most common reasons is that old persons fear losing family members’ support. They are afraid that reporting the crime will result in tension and stress in old age, as the abuser may discontinue relations once accused, charged, or convicted,” said Mr Rath.
 
Today, Agewell Foundation is a large organisation and has a dedicated team of professionals and trained counsellors. It has set up a two-tier network of over 7,500 primary and 80,000 secondary volunteers spread across 640 districts of India and interacts with over 25,000 old persons on a daily basis through its volunteers’ network.
 
Agewell’s projects include a helpline for older persons, Eklavya-Employment Exchange, research & advocacy centre, family membership (for old people who live alone), Aadhar Nationwide Volunteer Action Network and healthcare centres. It organises medical equipment distribution camps for the destitute and elderly, sensitisation programme for school children, Dharohar Scheme (for safekeeping of Wills), ‘share the warmth’ campaign during winters, police personnel sensitisation & training programmes and runs a handicraft unit.
 
Agewell Foundation’s work is well-recognised through a network of affiliations and international alliances, including with Global Action on Ageing (GAA) and American Association of Retired People (AARP), both in the United States, and Seniors Together in South Lanarkshire (formerly known as Better Government for Older People–BGOP), United Kingdom. Since 2011, it has been granted special consultative status by ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) at the United Nations. 
 
Mr Rath says that despite their efforts, “we have a long way to go in advocacy for senior citizens and protecting them from abuse and exploitation.” A survey by Agewell Foundation found that, on an average, 25%-30% of India’s elderly population suffers abuse. According to another 2014 study by HelpAge India, 59% of sons emerged as top abusers of senior citizens, contrary to popular belief that they are abused by daughters-in-law.
 
Agewell Foundation works closely with corporate houses through their CSR (corporate social responsibility) programmes, as a beneficiary as well as in structuring their programmes. It provides consultancy services for audit, supervision, events and PR (public relations) for CSR initiatives and offers training programmes to communities on dealing with inter-personal issues and sensitise people to seniors’ issues. 
 
Donations to Agewell are eligible tax-exemption under Section 80G of the Income-tax Act. It also welcomes individual volunteers. 
 

 

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Review of ‘Being Right or Making Money’
One of the finest independent research houses shares its timing model
 
Ned Davis started his independent investment research firm, Ned Davis Research (NDR), from a residential apartment in Florida, far away from Wall Street, in 1980. Over the years, the firm has developed a reputation as an independent, institutional research company, by offering unbiased, in-depth analysis. Nearly every major institutional investor subscribes to its research backed by sophisticated analytic tools that detect patterns from of a huge, decades-long, database of statistical information on the markets and the economy. 
 
Davis and his colleagues have published a few books, including an oversized chart-book, Markets in Motion, which showcases the depth of their research. Being Right or Making Money, published many years ago, has been out of print for years. The hardcover edition was being sold for $430-odd on Amazon. A new edition of the book was published in 2014.
 
NDR’s research stands out for its methodical approach to market-timing. For equity market-timing model, the firm used more than a 100 proprietary indicators picked from market data of price and volumes, sentiment (including valuation) and macroeconomic data, mainly monetary data. NDR has timing models for bonds, commodities and gold as well. All the indicators are robustly back-tested so that the firm has a clear idea of the odds. From this, it makes informed guesses about what the market will do now. Unfortunately, while individual investors will get a glimpse at how NDR builds its timing models, they will not be able to replicate it. For retail investors, it is impossible to get access to all the data and update the model regularly. 
 
The book would be useful mainly for portfolio managers, mutual funds and equity research divisions of broking houses. But Davis does have a set of dos and don’ts for individual investors, based on his 40 years of experience: 
  1. Don’t Fight the Tape: This is an old Wall Street maxim. It means you need to stay with the broader trend. Davis uses dozens of indicators, such as new high/lows, up/down volumes, crossover of 50-day moving average over 200-day moving average, etc, to decide whether the trend is up or down. According to NDR, moves with a lot of confirmation are the healthiest and huge moves are, usually, global in nature. 
  2. Don’t Fight the Fed: Money moves the markets. The United States’ Federal Reserve (the Fed) exercises enormous influence on money flows which, in turn, deeply influences stocks. When the Fed is easing money flows, stocks rise. When the Fed is tightening, stocks fall. Stay in sync with monetary trends set by the central bank. Money left over from economic demands ends up in the financial markets, at least in the US. 
  3. Beware of the Crowd at Extremes: All trends run to the extremes and then end abruptly. This surprises the majority who continue to extrapolate the recent trend. At that point, it pays to be a contrarian. How to spot such extremes? Extreme optimism equals low cash, while extreme fears shows up in high cash levels.
  4. Rely on Objective Indicators: The surest way to lose money on stocks is to go by faith, gut-feel, intuition and so on. You need to rely on hard, cold data that has been tested to work in the past. 
  5. Be Disciplined: You need the discipline to ignore the noise created by the media. Stay away from rumours, guesses and hot tips. Stay away from everything other than what you have actually tested and found to be working in the past.
  6. Manage Risk: According to NDR, “We are in the business of making mistakes. Winners make small mistakes, losers make big mistakes.” NDR ensures that its mistakes are small, by using stop losses and a lot of trend-sensitive indicators.
  7. Remain Flexible: While it is important to remain disciplined, you should also be flexible because markets change and causal relationships change, though over the long term. 
  8. Money Management Rules: “We are more interested in making money than being right,” writes Davis. “Be humble and flexible.” Retail investors are usually unaware of it and end up investing either too much in a stock or too little. 
  9. Study History: Those who don’t study history are condemned to repeat it. The core of the market—an interplay of liquidity, sentiment and valuation—has remain unchanged over the years. Davis advises model-builders to go as far back as possible in history, to collect and analyse data.

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