The 12-year Print Run Ends
The issue you are holding in your hands is the last printed copy of Moneylife magazine. From the next issue, we become a purely online magazine. Moneylife was launched with the premise that financial consumers are not told the truth about financial products; we promised to bridge this gap. This was not an easy task and goal; most new financial products were useless or downright harmful for the vast majority of savers and investors who had begun to look away from physical assets like gold and real estate to protect their incomes from the dragon of inflation. 
 
And our start was ominous. For our second issue, we got an advertisement for the UTI Contra Fund. As it happened, I had written an article in that very issue advising readers not to subscribe to it because it was just a fad. I turned out to be right; but UTI Mutual Fund was not amused and we stopped getting ads from this big advertiser for the next few years.
 
Our first issue had an article that discussed the Fund of Funds concept and pointed out that it was a gimmick. Again, not something advertisers liked to hear. Conversely, the opportunities to write nice things about bad products or puff pieces on people and organisations were aplenty and would have been hugely profitable. A leading stock exchange made it clear within six months that we should either be ‘nice’ to them or forget about advertisements. We refused to write about initial public offerings of corporates even if it meant losing guaranteed advertisements. 
 
In 2006, utterly toxic unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs) were selling like hot cakes. This was a depressing story of organised, countrywide loot of financial consumers, sanctioned by the regulator. Our second issue said, “ULIPS are like Tulips” and told investors to stay away. The business media was a ready ally of insurance companies hawking toxic ULIPs because they were advertised hugely and sponsored awards for ‘Best ULIPs’. In June 2008, our Cover Story on ULIPs called them a ‘Seductive Killer’. Needless to say, we missed out on all the revenue from ULIP advertisements. No other publication has done even 10% of the writing that we have on the various ways in which insurance products duped people. Advertisers disliked us; but we often told their head honchos that they may want to read Moneylife’s content to keep their own money safe, because it is guaranteed to tell the truth. I wish many readers would have appreciated this a lot more and persuaded their friends and family to subscribe. 
 
While the ad support was too thin, distributing free casseroles or backpacks to buy the loyalty of subscribers and vendors, as our competitors were doing, seem mindless too. Meanwhile developments in communications technology portended a challenge and an opportunity. So, we decided to take our content digital—much before our competitors. A free daily newsletter and the advent of social media gave us a branding boost while it meant acquiring new skills. Our other business moves also underlined our philosophy of putting readers first. Moneylife Foundation started in 2010 with frank financial literacy seminars, multiple helplines, counselling, etc, and has grown from strength to strength. Once we were confident that our research on stocks and mutual funds was often better than that of professional investors, we launched a financial advisory service. Moneylife has become a viable group because of multiple sources of revenues and a genuine commitment to help and protect financial consumers. 
 
The hassles of print publishing have only increased over these years. Antiquated British-era rules required me, as a publisher to stand in a witness box at Esplanade Court (Mumbai), every time we needed to change our address, printer, price, logo, etc; distributors don’t pay and postal delivery is erratic. Thankfully, we will leave these  problems behind now and focus on delivering better content much faster in the digital space. For those of you who have been with us all these years, we thank you and hope you visit our website as regularly.
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COMMENTS

narayanan ananta

5 months ago

Felt orphaned(since May 9th), no more print copy ! Commendable 12 years of rare gr8 work&sacrifices by Deb - Suchi team. So, so inspiring.








Feel sad mightily (& orphaned, since 9May...). So, so inspiring the Deb - Suchi team, for the outstanding work & sacrifices. Is there any way one could come and work for free for you, your team, please? The nation needs patriots like u, for decades more...for sure.

RAMA SRINIVASAN

6 months ago

Feel sad. Nothing can compare with a printed page. Digital is alright for quick perusal.
Printed magazine is readily available for reference.

Manoj Kaushik

8 months ago

Good decision ! The energy saved can be utilized on more analysis. I have been a subscriber since long and looking at the value that Moneylife delivers, I would continue to be a subscriber.

Publications cant survive on subscriptions alone, I can't even comprehend how you managed without beefy ad revenues that never came your way, because you were exposing the toxic products/malpractices of the very same advertisers.

If you remember your Stockletters were getting circulated on WhatsApp groups. Many of the subscribers (including me) brought it to your notice after which you started stamping the subscriber Email ID on the stockletters. That helped in curbing the circulation, I never came across them in any WhatsApp group after that. I think the magazine would also need something of that kind, else it would circulate on WhatsApp groups for free.

And finally with the print run ending, I hope that now you would be able to take much needed holidays......

Best Wishes for all your endeavors.

Manoj Kaushik

ramchandran vishwanathan

9 months ago

Its been an excellent journey. I attribute most of whatever little i know to your magazine & your seminars . I remember you guys used to get interviews of individuals who have strived hard to make it BIG . Your initiative of going Digital is in line with the trend . We will always support you unconditionally

Abhinav Dayal

9 months ago

A decision like this takes courage - well done. Good luck for the digital only initiative, I am hopeful that this is a resounding success.

Gagan Arora

9 months ago

I came across Moneylife and its services only a year back via a google search "direct equity or through MF". And after watching through the freely available content on Moneylife youtube channel. My thinking towards financial word specially equity investment has changed completely. I am thankful to Mr. Basu, Ms. Dalal & Mr. Bala and all other unnamed heros at moneylife office for their continuous effort to enlighten end users. Kudos to all of you. I am going to miss the print version and have to manage with digital for now.

Mohan Sivanand

10 months ago

As a reader of Moneylife from the start, I am saddened that I'll no longer be able to relax in bed reading a paper copy of the magazine. Anyway, now I'll do the same with my iPad and the online edition. Reading about the hassles you have experienced with advertisers, after you only wrote the truth, I must say I've often wondered how you could ever have avoided that (few magazines have written against ULIPs, the stock exchanges, or advised against the very financial products that are advertised in Moneylife itself—brave!). What I admire is the fact that you had kept quiet about these incidents all along since they were internal matters.

What's unique about Moneylife is that "church and state" (editors and management) are merged and yet there's absolute honesty; journalistic ethics come first. This doesn't happen elsewhere, and state usually tries to interfere with church. An old example of a merged church-and-state magazine was Reader's Digest when its founders (a couple named DeWitt and Lila Wallace) were owners as well as co-editors for many decades but set many examples for good journalistic practices. For instance, they were the first to refuse cigarette advertising and forgo millions after medical reports on the harms of smoking first emerged. And, like you, the magazine editors still do not accept any advertising that is not good for the reader. The Wallaces did very well all round. Wishing you the same.

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Mohan Sivanand 9 months ago

Mohan.. Debashis and I are deeply touched by your very generous comments here. And that you have taken up for us in these comments page. As the former editor of Readers Digest, you can understand the effort that was required and the sacrifices made. In fact, Debashis and I have not had a holiday of over 3 days in the past 10 years since he started the magazine. We hope the end to the herculean effort of page making, proofing and printing would give us the flexibility of working from anywhere. But we are really more excited about being timely, providing links that explain stories better and make full use of the digital space. Thank for your support and good wishes. Warmly,
sucheta

Rajeevan B

10 months ago

Very nice initiative. Since cost of printing is over, need to consider reducing the subscription rate of magazine.

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Rajeevan B 9 months ago

Actually, ending the print run does not reduce costs. We make fresh investments in building and app for better access and technology. Plus, if you have noticed, we charge less for a full magazine than other subscription based websites have charged for a single story a day. We do as much or more work, bring in longer experience. Also, you may not have noticed but the cost of employees, offices and everything else has been rising at double digits, not to mention the huge cost of compliance! The magazine closed because of these issues. We also do not charge the premium that unbiased coverage and sacrifices entailed in delivering it can command. But we dont promise to hold prices at this level either.

Mohan Sivanand

In Reply to Rajeevan B 10 months ago

Mr Rajeevan, why are you so bothered about the tiny subscription cost when you can make millions if you only paid heed to the financial lessons that Moneylife teaches?

Abhishek Dey

In Reply to Rajeevan B 10 months ago

For all the work they've done, the subscription cost is really low. Let them keep our money and grow. I see it as an investment in our better financial future and not cost of subscription.

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Abhishek Dey 9 months ago

Many thanks Mr Dey. We deeply appreciate your understanding.

Shivram Ramakrishnan

In Reply to Abhishek Dey 10 months ago

I completely agree! I would not mind if the subscription rates were increased too. Our country needs more people like Mr Debasis Basu and Ms. Sucheta Dalal.

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Shivram Ramakrishnan 9 months ago

Thank you Mr Ramakrishnan. That is very kind.

Nikhil Rane

10 months ago

You both had done absolutely exceptional work in financial journalism.
I have a question, If you don't Have expenses of printing and delivery then can you reduce or change pricing structure for moneylife subscribers?

REPLY

Shivram Ramakrishnan

In Reply to Nikhil Rane 10 months ago

Or why not request the Moneylife team to reinvest this cost savings in spreading more financial literacy in India.

Ravinder Makhaik

10 months ago

Debashis & Sucheta it is a commendable effort to keep the Moneylife print edition going for 12 years.

Even edition with deep pocket promoters are finding it hard to support print editions today. Technology has changed readership and distribution patterns, best to keep up with the times.

Old timers like me do miss print edition though a guy like me living in the hills has never laid hands on a print version of Moneylife but an online version does fill in the gap.

All the best for the future. Financial and Stock market literacy is gaining importance by the day and you guys are doing a great job.

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Ravinder Makhaik 9 months ago

Dear Mr Makhaik ... Thank you so much for your understanding and support. It is deeply appreciated.

NS Sekhar

10 months ago

Hardly matters to many of us who mostly read online content..wish you would continue to come out with well-researched investor friendly articles..

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to NS Sekhar 9 months ago

Thank you Mr Sekhar... that is exactly what we are hoping to do. In fact, you would have noticed that stories are already more detailed with easy access to background links, which was not relevant in the print magazine, since it was not clickable! Thank you for your support!

archana_rahatade

10 months ago

Its better idea to be complete digital, its faster and hassle free for us also. All the best.

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to archana_rahatade 9 months ago

Thanks Archana... it is people like you who gave us the courage to make the switch!! We were ahead in our digital platform and losing steam because we stuck to print -- there is only so much we could do with our resources!

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