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Navigating the depths of personal finance with Pichai Chawla, the visionary of unseen opportunities

by Niranjana Mittal

Against The Current.

By: Grace Clarke

Personal finance becomes a key concern as individuals establish themselves professionally. When you venture into the business world and start to make a living for yourself, you begin to wonder about other avenues to generate income. The pursuit of multiple revenue streams, whether for personal gain, family support, or business growth, necessitates meticulous research, a deep understanding of financial instruments, and an acknowledgement of risk. As with many, my own forays into the murky waters of investment have encountered moments of confusion and uncertainty. While online resources offer a wealth of financial information and recommendations, the limitations of self-learning can hinder the development of a comprehensive understanding. So, what better way to get a grasp on financial literacy than sitting down for a discussion with an expert from the community?

Introducing: Pichai Chawla, a seasoned expert in personal finance and investments, renowned within the Thai investment community for his knowledge and insightful contributions. His expertise is widely recognized through his active presence on various platforms, including his influential Facebook page (@pichaichawlaofficialpage) and features in popular finance channels such as Money Chat Thailand, Kim Property Live, and Super Trader Republic on YouTube and Facebook. Additionally, Pichai is also an accomplished author, with notable works including Get Rich Through Real Estate Without Using Money. He is also credited as the originator of innovative financial principles such as the 3 Percent Principle, which underscores the notion that only a small fraction – around three percent – of individuals achieve significant financial success through their investments. Beyond his involvement in the personal finance realm, Pichai currently serves as the Executive Director of the Chawla Chiang Mai Group, renowned for its property and franchise operations, including the B2 Hotel Group, a boutique and budget hotel chain. The group’s presence extends across 24 key locations in Thailand, showcasing its significant expansion and impact in the hospitality industry.

Taking this into account, I had the privilege of meeting this expert at a café, offering a chance to explore his knowledge and insights in the field. We met bright and early in the morning, my notes brimming with questions for his expertise. Pichai greeted me warmly, his demeanour welcoming and composed as we embarked on our conversation.









Could you tell us a bit more about your personal story – such as your upbringing and studies?

I completed my studies at Chiang Mai University, specialising in Business. The majority of my understanding in this domain was gained through practical, real-world experiences.

What inspired your interest in personal finance and trading?

Around 20 years ago, my intrigue with investments was sparked as I observed that many individuals, including those in my immediate circle, were not achieving successful returns on their investments. This observation presented an intriguing challenge that captured my interest. Over time, this curiosity evolved into a perspective where I began to see personal finance as a cognitive process – a principle I developed independently. It all stemmed from a simple question: “Why do individuals often face financial losses when venturing into stock market investments?” This question prompted me to delve deeper into the matter, leading me to recognise that only a small fraction of investors actually succeeded in generating profits and accruing interest on their investments. This notion also inspired the development of my 3 Percent Principle, emphasising the significance of breaking away from conventional groupthink in investment choices. Instead, it underscores the value of employing individual strategic thinking and creativity in financial decision making. While this principle might appear straightforward, consistently applying it requires significant resilience. Implementing it often challenges our existing beliefs, ingrained knowledge, and the information we encounter daily. This difficulty may explain why only 3 percentage of people are able to fully achieve success with this principle.

Can you share more about your journey in becoming a public figure, particularly the experience of transitioning into the public domain to provide insights about the financial sector within the Thai-Indian community?

My theory began gaining attention when it became apparent that many people in Thailand had not previously considered the concept of the 3 Percent Principle. This led to opportunities for me to share my theory with the public through mainstream media, subsequently building a following. Ultimately, it reflects the reality of our capitalist society, where only a small fraction of individuals achieve significant financial success. My theory highlights the limitations of blindly following prevailing business and financial trends, emphasising that success cannot be guaranteed by simply making popular decisions. This principle extends beyond business into everyday decision making. Many individuals rely on graphs, numbers, and personal experiences to guide their financial investments, but they often overlook whether they are following the same path as the majority. Consequently, they make decisions based solely on these factors without considering if they’re falling into common patterns.

How do you approach forecasting economic trends, and which tools or methods do you find most effective?

Firstly, it’s important to distinguish between business and investments. Business operations and keeping ventures afloat are largely within our control, irrespective of the current economic climate. As a businessperson, I prioritise continually improving my business rather than fixating on the immediate state of the economy. Conversely, when it comes to investments, it’s essential to remain mindful of economic fluctuations while making decisions. For instance, despite predictions of an impending US economic down turn in recent years, US stocks actually saw an upward trend. I viewed this as an opportunity to diverge from the mass’ consensus. When the majority avoids certain investments due to perceived overvaluation, I see it as a chance to join the minority and capitalise on potential growth. My approach may appear unconventional to some, but that’s precisely the point. By deviating from mainstream economic trends, investors like myself gain greater flexibility and choice. Following the herd mentality, whether it’s focusing solely on large-scale companies, cryptocurrencies, or other popular trends, limits our investment creativity. Embracing individual paths and swimming against the current allows us to unlock new opportunities and expand our investment horizons.

Given your positive outlook on investing in the stock market, are there specific industries or sectors you believe hold significant growth potential in the current economic landscape?

Following my personal philosophy rooted in the 3 Percent Principle, I believe that cryptocurrencies currently hold promising potential in the market. Take Bitcoin, for instance: while many perceive it as an opportune moment to invest due to its upward trajectory to USD 70,000, I see it as an optimal time to sell. Those uninterested in cryptocurrencies typically aren’t the primary focus when considering investments in this market. However, for those engaged in it, the continued upwards market growth might seem like a clear signal to invest further. Yet, by following the principle, I advocate for a different approach. While the majority may view the rising market as a cue to invest, I believe it’s actually an ideal time to sell your Bitcoin and exit the market.









Can you provide some details about your role as a public figure and why you’ve specifically selected Facebook as your key platform for sharing your financial expertise?

I opted for Facebook due to its widespread usage among the general public, making it easily accessible to a broad audience. However, while I acknowledge the convenience of online accessibility, I must emphasise that not all my insights are infallible. At times, my perspectives may evolve, or change. Nonetheless, I strive to share insights, financial news, and ideas as accurately as possible.

Can you discuss the unique challenges or opportunities you’ve encountered in your professional journey as a financial expert?

I believe that the realm of investments presents both challenges and triumphs in equal measure. Through my candid sharing on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, I’ve highlighted the complexities of navigating the investment landscape. However, as one gains more experience, decision-making becomes more refined, particularly when considering popular investment trends. By taking into account the investment preferences of the majority, individuals can gain valuable insights to inform their own investment decisions.

Investment often requires a more hands-on approach. How do you personally manage this, in terms of work-life balance?

I maintain a balanced approach to my activities, primarily focusing on thinking and planning. When I have moments alone, my mind naturally gravitates towards business and financial strategies, leading me to jot down ideas in a notebook. Additionally, I make it a habit to stay updated on financial news. However, rather than just absorbing the content, I pay close attention to how the news is presented. Observing the delivery methods, including graphs and numbers, allows me to gauge various perspectives and reactions. See, understanding how different individuals interpret news is crucial in my field. This skill of reading people has been valued for centuries and remains relevant today.Unfortunately, it’s a tactic that’s often overlooked in modern times. To stay ahead, one must possess the ability to comprehend others’ viewpoints and reactions effectively.

What advice would you offer to individuals in the community who are just entering the realm of personal finance?

My advice to individuals navigating the world of investments is to discover a principle that resonates with their approach. One trusted method is the Value Investment (VI) rule, which involves selecting stocks believed to be undervalued. This strategy, often deemed as the conventional way to invest, can yield significant returns over time. The VI principle focuses on a company’s long-term value rather than short-term market fluctuations, making it a fundamental approach to investing. For those seeking a more unconventional approach, my 3 Percent Principle emphasises the importance of deviating from mainstream strategies and charting your own waters to avoid blindly following trends or conventional ideas.Understanding investment techniques is relatively straightforward, as you can select the one that aligns best with your style. While the VI principle often delivers satisfactory results, significant gains may require a willingness to take calculated risks and break away from conventional thinking. Therefore, I encourage individuals to be open to making decisions that may seem unconventional, particularly when they believe an investment holds value or has reached its potential. In the fast-paced world of investments, timely decision-making is crucial for success.

On a more personal note, can you tell us more about yourself and your activities during your free time, and what you’re working on now?

With the transition away from a traditional 9 to 5 office job, I now find myself with more free time on my hands. This freedom prompts me to seek out novel ways to occupy my days, often contemplating potential business ventures to pursue. In these moments of leisure, I also enjoy the simple pleasures of exploring different coffee shops, with a particular penchant for savouring the classic latte. As for what I’m working on now, and what I’m hoping for the future, I intend to expand my expertise on the subject by launching classes centred around my theories and sharing insights on personal finance and investments. I’m in the process of developing both online and offline courses tailored for individuals seeking to enhance their understanding of investments. These classes are undergoing careful planning and will be made accessible in the near future, so if you’re interested in learning more about personal finance, keep an eye out!  

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