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‘Not real money…’: What Nikhil Kamath said Bengaluru’s paper wealth

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Nikhil Kamath

, co-founder of

Zerodha

, has called the nature of wealth in Bengaluru, suggesting that much of it may be superficial rather than tangible. He pointed out that individuals in the city often accumulate wealth through

stock options

and similar paper assets, particularly those employed in the tech sector.
“…it’s not real money. If my friend here in the first row were to start a company, and I buy 0.1% of his company paying $1,000 for it, that makes his company worth $2 billion.

So while you were talking about Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore as three different republics, Bangalore has the most

paper wealth

, and very little expendable wealth,” he said in an interview to The Print.
Kamath emphasized that the primary source of wealth in Bengaluru is

tech companies

, which can create an illusion of affluence without substantial disposable income.
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“If you were to look at people from each of these three places, you will see that stark difference. Another difference Bangalore has from Bombay and Delhi is the paper rich from here, made money in tech companies and tech companies have no cash. And one will realise that with more cash, people are more cavalier with their spending patterns, I would say,” he said.
“Paper money is complicated. Paper money gives you the appearance of wealth without the generic stuff that wealth brings with it,” he added.

Reflecting on his own career beginnings, Kamath recalled his first job at a call center in Bengaluru, where he earned Rs 8,000 selling insurance. He noted the contrast in experiences as his peers graduated and entered the workforce.
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Nikhil Kamath also said that he continues to live in a rented house by choice rather than owning one. He explained his stance, citing concerns over what he views as inflated property values. Kamath expressed that he doesn’t put money in real estate because the valuations are “ridiculous and retarded”.
“The only one home that I have is where my parents live and that is more for emotional reasons, it will never make sense for me to buy a home because the rental yield I am dishing out is significantly lower than the capital deployed, the returns they give me,” he said.

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