Browse Category: Financial Independence

How to achieve Financial Independence? Explained in simple language

How to achieve Financial Independence? Explained in simple language

Almost everyone in today’s era wish to have financial independence. At least most of the people I have met wish so. Isn’t it?

However most of them have no idea how to become financially independent?

financial independence

 

Oh yes, I have heard this term many times in TV talk shows and have also read about it in the newspapers. It sounds too complicated to me. Can you explain to me what is Financial Independence in a simple language?


Financial Independence is a state which is achieved when you have earned and saved enough money so that you do not have to work anymore to support your lifestyle for the rest of your life. In short, you do not have to work to earn money. Don’t get confused. You still can work even after achieving financial independence. You can do whatever work you like, you can work just for pleasure. Financial Independence means you no longer have to slog that 9-10 hour shift everyday in order to pay your monthly payments, credit cards etc.

 

Wow, this sounds great. Can you throw some light on how can I be Financially Independent?

There is a simple time trusted formula with few set of rules for achieving Financial Independence.

  1. Your spending should always be less than your earnings
  2. Increase the GAP between your income and savings – Earn more
  3. You must invest what you save judiciously

If you follow the above 3 step formula, none can stop you from achieving financial independence.

high-income-1

 

Hmm… looks simple per say but how to implement this into practical life?

Ok, let’s take each step one by one

 

  • You must always spend less than what you earn:
      1. It’s quite possible to spend less than what you earn. If you are able to control your spending habits, you will be able to achieve this equation. First tool to achieve this is Budget. A simple budget can save you from many things. It will tell you where your money is going without you making a note.
      2. Don’t splurge in buying that big house just because you can afford it. Buy the right size house. Home ownership can be a quite expensive affair.
      3. Don’t buy big automobiles. Remember, your car is not your asset. Monthly payments on big cars will never let you move towards financial independence.
      4. Be little frugal in your living. Cook at home, eat out less frequently. This will not only save you money but also save your health in the long run. Stay fit and be WEALTHY.

 

  • You must strive to Increase your earnings:

 

      1. Importance of education can never be denied. If you are well qualified academically, you have a better chance to land a high paying job. Keep working towards increasing your income by augmenting your qualifications, certifications. This will boost your ability to save and invest more towards your main objective, which is financial independence.
      2. If you are good at something, try to earn some income from it. For example if you are good at graphics designing, use your spare time to take up some freelance projects which can earn some side income for you.

 

  • You must invest wisely:

 

    1. Savings are important but savings alone will not make you financially independent. Invest wisely so that your money grows at a healthy rate
    2. Use a mix of equity, debt and use diversification so that your investments remain recession proof.
    3. Invest from day 1 of deciding that you want to achieve financial independence. Do not wait for the right time to invest.
    4. Avail tax exemptions to minimise the loss of money to taxes.
    5. Structure your investments properly and practice goal based investing

 

If you are able to achieve a healthy saving and investment rate month on month and manage your investments properly, you can be financially independent sooner than you expect.


We at WealthSamurai always believe in a healthy savings rate and proper investments as the best tool to take control of your financial life.

That’s really a helpful. But how do I know the details like where to invest, which stock, which fund to buy?

 

Once you start tackling the three points mentioned above you will get more insight into the micro equations like where to invest, what amount to invest, what percentage of diversification is required etc. But important is to take the first step towards financial independence and keep going.

 

Happy Investing !!!

 

Why you must Start investing in Equity markets through mutual funds

Why you must Start investing in Equity markets through mutual funds

Most of us are scared of the equity markets. We have some or the other excuse NOT to start investments in equity. For some, it’s risky, for some it’s too technical. Some feel that it’s too complex to understand and they are not qualified enough to understand the nitty gritties of the market ups and downs.

 

mutual fund investments

 

If you have never invested in mutual funds, you are at the right place. This post briefs you on how and why you should invest in mutual funds for various financial goals and milestones in your life.

Search for higher returns on investments make people to look out for investments in equity markets. Investment in equity markets bring “high risk” to the table. Everyone can not be an equity expert to understand the technicalities of the market swings, when to enter the market or when to exit the market. The loss of the principal amount is the biggest threat which keeps most of the investors away from the equity markets.

An equity Mutual Fund is the best tool for common investors to enter into equity markets. It helps them to reduce the risk, earn higher returns and since they are professionally managed, they play fair game.

By definition, “A mutual fund collects money from individual investors and invests the money on their behalf in the stock market, bonds, government securities etc. and it charges a small fees to manage the investment.”

 

investment in mutual fund

 

I am listing down 5 compelling reasons on why one should invest in mutual funds.

 

  1. Equity Mutual funds give higher returns :
    Ultimately every investor aims for a higher return on his/her investments. Equity mutual funds have given much higher returns in the past if you compare it with the fixed income instruments like fixed deposits / recurring deposits / bonds etc. Mutual funds have controlled exposure to the equity markets which in turn gives higher returns to the investors. If you see the returns from equity mutual funds over the last 15 years, most of the funds have given returns around 14%-15% compounded annually. This is much higher than the inflation figures

  2. Mutual funds are professionally managed:
    Mutual funds are professionally managed by qualified and trained fund managers usually picked up from top schools.  Fund manager’s daily job is to study, track the stock markets and tweak the fund’s composition accordingly. Also all the mutual funds in India are governed by SEBI which is a government agency which is governed by the government.

  3. Mutual funds can make you a disciplined investor:
    Mutual funds have amazing concepts of Systematic Investment Plan (SIP), Systematic Transfer Plan (STP) and Systematic Withdrawal plan (SWP). Armed with these plans, you need not have to bother about logging into your account every month and buy fuds, or switch funds. You can set up SIP, STP or SWP and sit peacefully while mutual funds work with your investments

  4. Mutual funds have greater liquidity:
    Unlike some investments like PPF, Government Bonds, mutual funds have an excellent liquidity. Except ELSS – Equity Linked Saving Scheme mutual funds (which have a lock in for 3 years), equity linked mutual funds can be sold and redeemed within 3 working days. Liquid mutual funds can be sold and redeemed in 1 working day. Thus one does not have to worry about liquidity related concerned when he is investing in mutual funds.

  5. Equity mutual funds are highly customizable:
    Equity mutual funds comes in various shapes and sizes. There are diversified funds, thematic funds, sector funds, large cap funds, small cap funds, mid cap funds, index funds, tax saving funds, arbitrage funds and so on. You can chose funds as per your choice and investment horizon. Mutual funds are not rigid like Government bonds or PPF scheme where you do not have right to alter the composition. Also the switch facility from one mutual fund to other givers it more flexibility.

  6. Mutual funds provide you ease of investment:
    Mutual funds are so convenient. No need to stand in long queues to invest your money or no need to do loads of paperwork to park your money. A simple online account can work for you. Usually one can approach their bank to open an online trading account through which mutual funds can be bought and sold by merely clicking mouse.

 

benefits of mutual funds

 

Looking at the historical data, there is no denial that equity mutual funds gives you much better bang for your money. The returns are much higher than the traditional investment avenues. If you want to get rid of earn-save-spend cycle, you have to look for professionally managed schemes which gives you higher returns.

Look no further, make a good portfolio of mutual funds to get better returns and invest money for your future retirement and goal based investment needs.

 

Happy Investing !!!

6 Sins people commit when computing retirement corpus

6 Sins people commit when computing retirement corpus 

“I will think about investing for retirement when I am a few years away from it. Let me live life to the fullest till then. I want to enjoy my life” – said a bubbly young software engineer staying in the same township where we stay. He is fresh out of college and just started working for an Information technology major.

 

retirement planning


Most of the young Turks working with handsome salaries have the same thing to say. Financial experts say that one must start investing from month one of getting a job. This can save you from unnecessary stress at the fag end of your work life.

The biggest issue with the shortfall in retirement corpus is the delay in investing. Most of the people forget this. They consider the exercise of early investments in their career unnecessary and run short of money in their sunset years.

When you are running a marathon, you have to perform consistently throughout the run. You can not start after 30 minutes and then run faster to take place on the podium. This will end up in a big disaster. If you delay in starting the race, you will never be able to finish it on time. Same is applicable when we talk about creating retirement corpus.

I am going to discuss six issues which people miss out while planning their retirement corpus. These issues are applicable to most of us who are planning to accumulate a decent size retirement corpus. If these issues are tackled, they will help one immensely in planning a perfect retirement corpus.

  1. Not considering inflation:
    Inflation is an important factor while working on any goal based investment like retirement. To keep it simple – if my grocery budget was ‘X’ some 10 years ago, today it is ‘3X’ then I have to keep in mind that it could be ‘8X’ 10 years down the line.

    If you do not consider inflation while planning for retirement corpus, you will end up having less money accumulated when you hit the retirement age. This will result in you outliving your retirement corpus and will surely be a disaster.
    inflation
  2.  Underestimating the expenses in retired life:It’s a common perception that expenses will fall once you are retired. You do not have to maintain a formal wardrobe, commute expenses will not be there, you will be free from monthly payments / EMI etc.This may not be true. The medical expenses skyrocket and same is true for the travel and travel related expenses. And as your dependency increases on others, the expenses related to household help will also increase exponentially. So you must consider this while accumulating your retirement corpus.

    a good retirement plan
    Thumb rule for any retirement plan – Remember your money has to outlive you

  3.   Delay in investing for retirement:It’s a straight equation. If you do not start investing early, you will end up with inadequate money in your retirement corpus. Even if you accelerate your savings after realizing this at a later date, still you will not be able to generate adequate corpus. Late start will deprive you from the benefits of compounding.

    Albert Einstein is purported to have once remarked that the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest. If you start early, use compounding effectively, the end result could be a huge avalanche of money. The key is to start early and remain into the game.Do not delay your investments

    The Magical power of
    compounding

  4.  Not riding equity markets for better gains:
    The thumb rule is that during initial years of professional life have a good exposure to the equity markets through Mutual funds, direct equities etc. But once you approach retirement age, bring down the equity exposure and park money in debt.

    Make sure to ride a good equity wave for around 25-30 years. This long period will give you excellent returns and will also spread out your risk with your investments the equity markets as the long duration will take care of ups and downs of the equity markets.equity markets - bulls and bears
    The Magical power of
    compounding
  5.  Not evaluating and taking advantage of TAXATION:
    Most of us fail to take tax advantages on investments. The money we lose in doing so can be substantial over a period of few years. This results in waste of money and one has to toil few more years to make up the losses.Few points to ponder
  • Income from fixed deposits is taxed as per your tax slab. 
  • Income from recurring deposits and any other fixed deposit scheme is taxed as per your tax slab.
  • Income from savings account is taxed as per your tax slab
  • Income from equity mutual funds when invested for more than 1 year is tax exempted
  • Income from equity / company shares over 12 months is tax free – long term capital gains are not taxedTake stock of the taxation before you invest money for your retirement corpus. You can save loads of money only by investing in proper instrument.

    taxation6. Reckless spending habits can wreck havoc in your retirement planning:
    One should stick to the safe withdrawal rate once the retirement kicks in. Drawing recklessly can drain the corpus much sooner. Remember Thumb rule for any retirement plan – Your money has to outlive you.The solution is to budget. Budget is one of the major steps in road to financial independence. If you master the art then you can be assured of sealing the money leaks in your month on month expenses. This way you can make your retirement corpus last longer.

    budget
    A simple guide to make budget

    To conclude, we at WS always believe that it is your life and your money. Only you have to plan it as none else would be interested in doing it for you without any personal interests. So take charge of your life, plan out things, work on a proper retirement plan and early financial independence so that you can spend your golden years in peace.

    HAPPY INVESTING !!!

A high income does not guarantee a RICH YOU

A high income does not guarantee a RICH YOU

Almost everyone among us aim for a higher income. We all work very hard towards achieving the fat pay package which we always dream of. For most of us, it’s a straight equation – more the income – more the bonus and we can be rich throughout our life and can retire rich in peace with loads of money.

high income

 

 

Unfortunately with respect to finances, the equation is not so straightforward and simple. Had it been so straightforward, guys with high salaries would have become filthy rich and all of them would be happy by now.

More money, more income is sadly not the answer to financial woes of human beings.

Don’t get me wrong!

Here I am not denying the importance of the high income for an individual. A high income gives you a head-start in planning personal finances for you. It also gives you distinct advantages in the process of building wealth.

Here are the 5 indicators which points that you can not be rich even with the high income

  1. You are trying to keep up with joneses : This one is a major pitfall. While uncontrolled spending can leave anyone broke, keeping up with joneses will never allow any high income household to become financially responsible. whether  we are working in corporate jobs or living in a tony neighborhood, there is a lot of peer pressure which compels us to own latest cars, expensive homes, latest gadgets, to party every weekend etc. Easy credit availability by the banks also fuels this mentality and the advertising ensures that you feel outcast if you do not buy the latest gadget or the fastest car.financial peer pressure

    Do you often succumb to Financial Peer Pressure?  

  2.  You think investments are to be done only when you are nearing retirement : Many individuals are highly qualified in their respective streams. They did well in studies, mastered the art of their trade and earn a lot. Many are doctors, engineers, designers – earning high incomes. But they seldom pay attention to investments just because of ignorance. Their incomes are high, their expenses are high. Their monthly income is usually equal to their expenses. Since their expenses are met month on month, they do not think of investments. Also they do not feel the need of taking consultancy on the investments.

    When it comes to decision making about finances and investments, most of us like to postpone it to some other day. This stands true not only for decision making about investments but also for evaluating existing finances. Unknowingly, one ignores an important fact that there is a REAL cost which is associated with the delay in investments. Most of us tend to get away with this as there are no immediate visible effects of these delays. Nor we proactively calculate the potential damage it can cause.

    If you keep delaying, you need more amount as investment at a later stage to achieve desired funds. The early you realize this, better it is for you. You must know how to use the magic of compounding to your advantage.
    delaying your investments

    Delaying investments can cost you DEARLY 
     

  3. You keep accumulating depreciating assets : When you have a high income, it’s easy to reach your financial goals of life and retire rich with sufficient money. Unfortunately most of us start pouring money towards depreciating assets. We tend to spend money on the asset class which loses its value quickly. We fail to identify these money drains and our money keeps losing its value over time. 

    By the time we realize this, it’s usually too late and a lot of money had already gone into the drain.

    Latest cars, high end furniture, multiple vehicles, latest gadgets, luxury brand accessories are some of the items that comes under this category.
    Car is not asset

    Your Car is not your ASSET ! 
    Financial success : It’s not about the Stuff you gather
     

  4.  Your fixed expenses are very high: If you compliment high income with less expenses, the leftover is the investable surplus. This investable surplus can be systematically invested to build wealth.

    If the income is high and so the expenses, you will not be left with investable surplus. The lack of investable surplus will never let you accumulate wealth. The major expense month on month is the fixed set of expenses. Expenses like home loan / mortgage payments, monthly payments towards car and any other vehicle, utility payments etc.

    A bigger house translates into a higher monthly payment for mortgage, higher utility bills, higher maintenance cost, higher home association charges. Same stands for cars. A bigger car translates into a bigger monthly payment, a bigger insurance premium, a bigger maintenance cost, a bigger wear and tear costs.

    One need to identify fixed monthly costs and try to keep them at minimum. Buy the right house you need, do not overspend. Same stands true for your vehicle. 

    Overspending - hurdle in personal financeOverspending – the biggest block in financial freedom
    What are money leaks? How to find out your money leaks and plug them?)
     

  5.  You do not budget and you think that you are managing money well : Poor spending habits, uncontrolled expenses can be a disaster to your finances. They can even put you in a really bad situation financially.

    But if you are not budgeting and not tracking your expenses, it can also cause a big disaster to your finances. It can not only put financial stress on your retired life, but also your day to day finances can get affected badly.

    Tracking expenses becomes more important when your income is high. In case of high expenses, it’s good to track expenses and find money leaks. If you do not track expenses and budget, you can easily blow up your monthly income and will never come to know where all your money went. This will not leave you with any investable surplus to build wealth and achieve financial independence.

    So, take charge of your money. Do not count budgeting and writing expenses as a burden. If you start budgeting and writing expenses, you can avoid many common issues and problems related to money which you are facing in your day to day life.

    Simple Budget
    A simple budget can save you from 5 big troubles

    Here is how to make a simple budget? 


    Always remember

 

 

  • Money alone doesn’t bring happiness but it sure can help
  • You only have to take care of your money and ensure that it grows – none else will do it unless they have their own personal interest attached to it
  • Money can not solve all your problems. Yes but it can help you sail through most of your problems

 

Happy Investing !!!

 

A simple budget can save you from 5 big troubles

A simple budget can save you from 5 big troubles

Most of us are scared of the word Budget. We think that the word is too technical for our comfort and should be best avoided. Also, most of us don’t like to budget or keep track of our spending. We are least concerned about the reason for this behavior as we think that the life goes on without budgeting also.

Simple Budget

In spite of living in a Hi-Tech era, we avoid using technology to track and plan our finances.

If we start creating a simple budget and start tracking our expenses, we can cure 5 of our life’s major financial troubles. I am sure these financial woes are common to most of us reading this stuff.

Trouble #1
You have absolutely no idea about your money.

  • Only thing you know that salary credit in the beginning of the month.
  • You are clueless where your money has evaporated halfway down every month.
  • You rely on credit cards for month end expenses – not by choice but more because of compulsion.

 

How making and sticking to a budget can change this?
When you start creating a budget and record expenses

  • You know exactly how much money goes where
  • You can cut down on certain unwanted expenses so that your money lasts till month end
  • You are not clueless about your money- you have a proper track of income and expenses

 

Trouble #2
You are not saving any money

  • You do not have any emergency fund
  • You have trouble with money when it comes to fulfil your needs and goals quite often – e.g. you wish to upgrade your kitchen, but you don’t have savings to do so or you want to go for a holiday abroad, but you can not do so as you don’t have sufficient funds.

How making and sticking to a budget can change this?

  • When you start budgeting, you start saving and investing money
  • A systematic goal based savings and investments can ensure that you have money for your future needs and goals
  • You become more systematic with your money when you start budgeting
  • You can plan annual vacations well and as a family you can have a good time

 

How to make a household budget

 

Trouble #3
Your mindless spending habits

  • You don’t realize but your entertainment expenses are very high
  • You are spending way more than you should on eating out
  • Your clothing expenses are all time high
  • You are paying over the roof for your internet and phone bills

 

How making and sticking to a budget can change this?

  • You will come to know about your money leaks when you make budget.
  • You can free up loads of money vanishing through money leaks
  • You can cut down all unnecessary and expensive money spending when you start writing expenses

 

Trouble #4
You struggle to get what you want

  • You are unable to save for your retirement
  • You want to buy a house but you are unable to arrange for the downpayment
  • You are unable to save and accumulate money for your kids education
  • You badly want to travel abroad for holidays but you can not afford to do so


How making and sticking to a budget can change this?

  • When you budget, you have track of expenses and leftover money
  • Leftover money can be invested wisely
  • With goal based investing, you can ensure you have enough money / savings to fulfil your dreams

 

Trouble #5
Cash Flow problem is common with you

  • You do not have a cash buffer
  • You are unable to go even for a casual meal at a good restaurant over the weekend if some guests drop in
  • You do not have enough money for emergency repair of your vehicle

 

How making and sticking to a budget can change this?

  • With budgeting, you can save cash and have an emergency fund which can tackle emergency situation for you
  • Again writing expenses can plug money leaks and free up money which can be utilized towards emergency fund
  • Freeing up money leaks can also help you in building cash buffer which is useful for events like casual dinner out etc.

 

So, take charge of your money. Do not count budgeting and writing expenses as burden. If you start budgeting and writing expenses, you can avoid many common issues and problems related to money which you are facing in your day to day life.

Remember – Budgeting and tracking your spending is the first step towards financial independence and this has been emphasized by every financial planner.

 

Resource:
Here is how to make a simple budget?

 

Happy investing !!!

 

Want to enter equity markets? Index based ETF funds are the safest bet

Want to enter equity markets? Index funds are the safest bet

Most of us do not invest in equity markets because

  • We are afraid of stock markets as we do not know how they work
  • We think we do not have enough money for investments
  • We think that investment is something which is to be done when you are nearing retirement
  • We think we do not have basic education to invest money in stocks  

what are index funds

 

All have investments in mind but we love to delay it due to reasons best known to us. We all know that we have to accumulate enough retirement funds as we need regular income when there is no salary for us. Still we try to avoid investing money.

It has been historically proved that stock market gives the best returns on your investments. If one is looking to create a retirement corpus, stock market can not be ignored as the returns generated through them beat the inflation by a good margin.

If you do not know anything about equity markets, if you have never invested in equity markets / funds, still you have one option which is quite safe and which does not require you to be an equity market expert. It is INDEX based Exchange Traded Funds. Index funds have consistently outperformed markets and so called equity experts if you look at a longer duration. In fact one of the richest fellow in the world and a great investor Mr. Warren Buffet says “Consistently buy an S&P 500 low-cost index fund. I think it’s the thing that makes the most sense practically all of the time. Index funds make the best retirement sense ‘practically all the time’

 

warren buffet on index funds

 

So what are index Funds?

By definition, an index fund is a type of mutual fund with a portfolio constructed to match or track the components of a market index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), BSE or NIFTY. An index mutual fund is said to provide broad market exposure, low operating expenses and low portfolio turnover

 

So what makes index funds safe as an investment instrument in equity markets?

  • Index fund is a way to avoid the risk that comes with picking of individual stock: Index fund spreads out your investment into the stocks which are top performing on any equity index. This way you are not buying individual stock, but a set of stocks which are like top performers of any equity market.
  • It helps you to buy not “the top company” but it lets you buy all top companies at a very low cost.

 

Costs matter a lot in the investment scenario. Most of the equity diversified funds charge a fund management cost of 2.5%-3.5% per year. In comparison to this, index funds usually have fund management cost of 0.5%-1% per year. So when you invest in index funds, you are already ahead of any equity diversified fund by 2%-3% and anyone who knows a little bit of arithmetic can say that over a period of 20 years this can make a huge difference in investment corpus.

 

Then why ETFs are not recommended by investment advisors / financial planners?

When you talk to an investment advisor, his or her salary is linked to the income they generate for the fund houses. More the fund management charge, more their salary. So it’s obvious that they would recommend top ranked funds which has more fund management charge than the plain vanilla index based ETFs.

There are no free lunches so anyone unless he has a personal interest can not give you honest advice regarding your investments.

 

about index funds


So what is the recommendation regarding index based ETF?

As pointed out by investment mogul Warren Buffet

  • Start buying index based Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)
  • Buy them every month through Systematic plan
  • Stay invested in them for a very long duration
  • You can bank on index based ETFs for your retirement plan
  • When markets are battered or down – do not panic, keep investing regularly. This will help you average your cost of investment.

 

If you stick to the points mentioned above, you do not have to worry about your retirement corpus.

So with index based ETFs:

  • You are saved from headache of actively managing stock portfolio
  • ETFs give you exposure to the gains of stock market over a long period.
  • You can plan your long term corpus goals for retirement / kids education with ease through index based ETFs
  • You can keep the cost of your investments low through ETFs.

 

Happy Investing !!!

Financial problems with an average family

Financial problems with an average family 

Most of us falls under an average family category. Average family usually comprise of husband & wife with one or two kids. In some cases husband and wife both are working and in some only husband is working hard to run the family and wife takes care of the kids and home.

 

average family

 

Everyone strive to be rich and wealthy whether it’s poor class or middle class. We all would like to enjoy the luxuries of life and we keep working to achieve the goal of becoming wealthy. But have we ever thought what keeps the poor class and middle class struggling to become rich? If everyone is working hard why an average middle class family remains a middle class family ? Why don’t they become rich say after 5 years of slogging ?

Let’s take a look at the financial problems with an average family which keeps it pulling back from realizing its dream of becoming wealthy.
average family

 

  • No financial planning: The single biggest problem for most people is that they just do not plan their finances. It just keeps coming and going. Even if they are not happy about the results they got so far, they do not change the way things are they do in their life.
  • Overspending: Many people with not very high incomes have very high ambitions. This is likely to get them to grief. In the stores too, gadgets and appliances are priced as EMI to lure people. It looks cool to have latest gadget and appliances hence people tend to stretch themselves and overspend. We have seen earlier how supermarkets are big traps?  
  • Not talking finance at home: Children are kept away from the finance topics at the dining table. Finance is perhaps the second most taboo topic at home! So many children grow up without knowing how much of sacrifice their parents have gone through to educate them. This makes children ignorant about finances and they repeat financial mistakes their parents made in the past.
  • Parents spending on education and marriage: There are just too many kids out there who believe that they need to worry about savings, investment and life insurance only when they cross 40 years. This means your father, father in-law or a bank loan has funded your education and marriage. Kids should take on financial responsibility at a much younger age than what is happening currently. Or rather parents should take lead and make their kids financially responsible.
  • Marriage between financially incompatible people: Most marriages under stress are actually under financial stress. Either the husband or the wife is from a rich background and the other partner cannot understand or cope with the spending pattern. Or the spending habits of partners are different. One is frugal and one is spendthrift causing severe financial imbalance in the family.
  • Delaying saving for retirement: “I am only 27 years old why should I think of retirement “ seems to be a very valid refrain for many working professionals! Every year that you delay in investing the greater the amount that you will have to save later in your life. Till the age of 35 it might be feasible for you to catch up, but after some time the amount that you need to save for retirement just flies away. We have seen earlier that delaying investments can cost you dearly. 
  • Inadequate life and medical insurance: With all the risks of lifestyles, travel, etc. illness and premature death are common. We buy vehicle insurance because it is forced upon us, but we ignore life insurance! Imagine insuring a INR10 lakh car, but not insuring (or under insuring) the person who is using the car — and paying for it, that is, you! We have seen earlier that Why we need insurance?  
  • Not prepared for medical emergencies: Normally big emergencies — financially speaking are medical emergencies. Being unprepared for them — by not having an emergency fund is quite common. Emergency fund has now come to mean the credit card.This is good news for the bank, not for the borrower. We have seen earlier that what is an emergency fund and why we need it?  
  • Lack of asset allocation: Risk is not a new concept. However, it is a difficult concept to understand. For example when the Sensex was 10k there was much less risk in the equity markets than there is today. However at 10k index people were afraid of the market. Now everybody and his aunt wants to be in the equity market — and there are enough advisors who keep saying, “Equity returns are superior to debt returns.” This is true with a rider — in the long run. It is convenient for the relationship manager to forget the rider. So there could be a much larger allocation to equity at higher prices — to make for the time missed out earlier. We have seen earlier that goal based investing is a good approach to have proper asset allocation. 
  • Falling prey to financial pitches: The quality of pitches has improved! Aggressive young kids are recruited by brokerage houses, banks, mutual funds, life insurance companies, etc. and all these kids are selling mutual funds, life insurance, portfolio management schemes, structured products, et al. Selling to their kith and kin helps these kids keep their jobs, and there is happiness all around! These kids, themselves prey to financial pitches, have now made it an art when they are selling to their own natural “circle of friends and relatives.”
  • Buying financial products from obligated persons. This is perhaps one of the worst things you can do in your financial life. A friend, relative, neighbor, colleague who has been doing something else suddenly becomes a financial guru because they have become an agent! Charity begins at home, not financial planning.
  • Financial illiteracy: Most people do not wish to know or learn about financial products. They simply ask, ”Where do I have to sign” — so buying a mutual fund is easier than buying life insurance! Selecting products based on the ease and simplicity of buying is a shocking but true real life experience in the financial behaviour of the rational human being!
  • Ignoring small numbers for too long: What difference will it make if I save INR5,000 a month? Well over a long period it could make you a millionaire! So start early and invest wisely. It will make you rich. That is the power of compounding. We have seen earlier the magical power of compounding
  • Urgent vs important: Most expenses, which look urgent, are perhaps not so important — the shirt or shoe at a sale. That luxury item which was being offered at 30 per cent discount is such an example. These small leakages are all reducing the amount of money you will have for the bigger things like education or retirement. We have seen earlier that how to tackle money leaks.

 

financial problems

The list can be long but the points mentioned above can well be attributed as hindrances that are responsible for middle class not becoming rich. So if you want to become wealthy, tackle these issues in your life one by one. I am sure you will be able to cross the fence sooner after tackling the above mentioned issues.

 

Happy investing !!!

 

Seven Baby steps towards financial freedom

Seven Baby steps towards financial freedom

Do you know how marathon runners are trained?

If someone thinks he should run a marathon, and goes for the run very next morning what will happen? It will be a disaster for him. Right?

baby steps to financial freedom

 

A marathon runner must start small initially with 1 kilometer, 2 kilometers run and so on. He has to gradually attain the 42 kilometers mark. He has to gradually build stamina, develop endurance, have many practice sessions before he hits any competitive race.

All this happens over a period of time. This can not happen overnight. Hope you all agree with me on this. A runner has to set small milestones first like a 5 kilometer run, 10 kilometer run, a 25 kilometer run and so on. Once all small milestones are reached, a runner can confidently go for a full length 42 kilometer marathon.

Same is with financial planning. If you are at ZERO level or you have just started journey towards setting finances in order, thinking about financial freedom will look impossible to you. Journey towards financial freedom is a long journey. You have to create numerous milestones which will make the journey also interesting and you will always be motivated throughout the journey. Achieving these small milestones will also give you a sense of accomplishment in the course of the journey. Not to forget, these milestones will also keep you away from backtracking.

Below are some important milestones you can create in order to stay focused and not to lose interest while journeying towards financial freedom. The order is important as you can not run a full marathon without conditioning yourself for a half marathon. Isn’t it?

 

climb to financial success


Step 1
Start making a budget. Write down all expenses month on month. It is important. It will help you in knowing your spending  pattern.This will also give you an idea about your investable surplus – the money which you can utilize for investments moving forward. (How to make a simple budget)

Step 2
Save about 6 months of expenses in cash or liquid funds. This amount should be easily accessible to you. This is your emergency fund. This is meant only for emergencies like some medical attention or in case you lose your job. This will keep you afloat when you do not have any income to take care of expenses and will help you in not falling in debt trap during any personal emergency.

Step 3
Gradually but steadily pay off all your consumer debt. Consumer debt is considered as a bad debt for an individual. Debt for TV, appliances, vehicles, furniture etc falls under consumer debt. One these debts are tackled, you free up a large monthly investable surplus.

Step 4
Start saving for retirement. Most of us will not receive any pension or annuity. Keep somewhere around 25%-30% of your monthly salary as your investment for retirement. Make a good balanced folio and start investing. Your folio can be a combo of Debt, mutual funds, PPF etc.

Step 5
Start investing for your kid’s education. You can dedicate an equity linked mutual fund for this. Also you can open a PPF account when your kid is born and maximize investment into it every year. A combo of PPF and an equity linked mutual funds can do wonders for your kid’s future.

Step 6
Pay off your mortgage/home loan. This will remove a big burden from your head. It is good to feel debt free. But this is little tough as usually the amount is quite high. But I strongly recommend you to do this as paying off mortgage will free up a huge chunk of money for you as an investable surplus.

Step 7
Keep re-adjusting your portfolio once in a couple of years and enjoy life. Keep reading, pursue your hobby, keep traveling but remember that your money has to outlive you.

These are small steps. You can start any time, at any age. Important is you make a START.

Happy investing !!!

Stay Fit and be WEALTHY

Stay HEALTHY and be WEALTHY

 

Across the nations and across the cultures there is one very old saying “Health is Wealth”. This stands true even today as it was a thousand of years ago.

 

stay-healthy-stay-wealthy

 

 

Yes, i have read it multiple times since childhood – Health is wealth. But how come health is related to your finances?

If you are fit & healthy, you will have less health related issues. If you try to stay fit till old age, you will save a fortune by NOT spending money on health related issues and remember Hospital visits cost a bomb these days.

Hmm…yes true. It makes sense. Can you brief me on how someone can become wealthy by staying healthy?

You can save a fortune by staying healthy. If you are fit & healthy, you will have less health related issues. If you try to stay fit till old age, you will save a fortune by NOT spending money on health related issues and remember Hospital visits costs a bomb these days.

The very first thing that comes to mind while discussing about health is to eat healthy. This means

  • No Junk food
  • Diet comprising fresh fruits / poultry (you must have heard – an apple a day keeps the doctor away )
  • Balanced diet comprising of all micro-nutrients

The benefits of eating healthy are

  • You have improved physical health
  • You have improved mental health
  • You can avoid being overweight
  • You can have a longer disease free life

Then comes Avoiding drugs/ addiction / alcohol. Drugs abuse can cause

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • HIV AIDS
  • Hepatitis B & C
  • Lung diseases

If you are drug addiction free then

  • You can stay healthy
  • You can have a longer life  

Ok ok, yes it’s clear now that by eating healthy and by staying away from drug abuse, one can stay healthy and can have a long life. Anything else that can make a person healthy ?

One very important aspect of healthy life is doing moderate exercise – and that too regularly.Doing regular exercise can do wonders to your body

  • It prevents chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer etc
  • It improves strength so that one can stay more independent in old age
  • It promotes healthy growth in kids when they see you exercising regularly
  • It makes you look and feel good

Doing regular exercise also

  • Makes it easy for you to concentrate on work
  • Sharpens your memory
  • Let you stay focussed for longer durations
  • Boosts creativityReduce stress levels
  • Makes a person happy

In addition to all mentioned above, one more key is not to miss your regular medical checkup. This will preempt treatment for any disease you catch in early stage.

And to make sure that your health does not affect your finances, you must insure yourself to cover cost of medical treatments and have adequate life cover.

Thank you for explaining in such a simple language how health affects finances and one must stay healthy in order to create & preserve wealth.

Yes, and the bottom-line is by staying healthy you can save your finances which otherwise would go waste in taking rounds of hospitals and paying consultants/practitioners to cure your chronic diseases. This can cause you and your family a big mental trauma in addition to the financial losses.

 

So, Stay HEALTHY and be WEALTHY. Happy investing !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you an impulsive buyer?

Do you often drag yourself into impulsive buying?

 

“An impulse purchase or impulse buying is an unplanned decision to buy a product or service, made just before a purchase.One who tends to make such purchases is referred to as an impulse purchaser or impulse buyer. Research findings suggest that emotions and feelings play a decisive role in purchasing, triggered by seeing the product or upon exposure to a well crafted promotional message.”

impulsive-purchase

 

In your day to day life, knowingly or unknowingly you go through instances where you succumb yourself to the lure of impulsive buying. The product companies are out there in every shop, every mall, every online marketplace – blaring adverts, offers, packaged deals to you. We have seen earlier that Supermarkets do extensive research on how to push their products and how to compel buyers to spend more in their stores.


Can you give me some example so that I can relate whether I am buying stuff impulsively? As far as I know i am not into impulsive buying

  • When you go to supermarket to buy monthly grocery, you pick up few ready to eat meals as they are packaged beautifully and kept in the front area of supermarket. They always have “buy one get one free” offer

  • You go to shopping mall to purchase refrigerator and you end up buying that 75inch LED TV also just because there was an offer going on that. You , being a sincere shopper, got charged emotionally and purchased the big TV just because your conscious felt that you are saving substantially on this purchase. You didn’t even give a  thought to what you will do with the TV set adorning your living room which you bought last year in similar fashion

  • How many times you have noticed that you enter mall for grocery shopping with a budget of INR5000 and end up spending INR 1500 on grocery + “something else” which had a GREAT offer?

 

Yeah that’s OK, but sometime you need to grab the offer that is going on else you will miss the boat and God knows when such offer will return?

A seasoned impulsive buyer always suffer with FOMO – Fear of missing out. If you add up all impulsive MISCELLANEOUS purchase over a period of time, you will be shocked to know the amount you have spent on these purchases.

 

Below I am listing few reasons – why people shop impulsively

 

  • Love of shopping – some people simply love shopping. For them shopping is like a therapy. They are always under illusion that few items here and there won’t disturb their bank balance.
  • Some shoppers are always in loss aversion mode. They fear that if they do not buy certain items which are on sale, they might end up at losing a big amount of money.
  • Some shoppers succumb themselves to twisted offer phrases. “Buy 2 get third free” , “buy this and get that free” etc. The moment they see these offers, they succumb to it without further researching about the product, service, and quality.
  • Some shoppers have genuine desire to save more. They succumb to the offers on supermarkets which says “you save INR100” , “Buy & save INR1000”. In order to feel good , they buy these items.
  • Some shoppers always feel that they should have an edge over others when it comes to latest gadgets, latest fashion , latest automobiles. They always pick up items which they feel will make them look cool among their social network.

 

 

Hmm.. Sounds right. I never knew impulsive shopping is such a bad habit and I must admit that I myself must have lost a fortune by now through impulsive shopping.

Yes, impulsive buying is harmful. By the time one realise this, he/she would have lost a huge fortune on it. This could hamper your financial planning, your early retirement, your retirement plan and can pose a big threat to your financial independence planning.

Below I am keying in few important actions through which we can avoid impulsive purchase

 

  • Always make a shopping list when you go out for shopping – AND “Stick to it”
  • Follow a mandatory waiting period if you plan to buy anything. If you see anything which you wish to purchase, wait for 7 days and see if after 7 days do you have the same urge to buy that thing? Most of the time the urge is momentary and it dies down soon.
  • If you already owe the item you wish to buy and you intend to replace it, clean it. Now see if you have the same urge? E.g. if you have a pair of shoes and you intend to replace, clean the old pair, wash it / polish it. If you still feel that you should go for the new pair, then go ahead
  • Remember – only fools rush in. All gadgets, the first edition always have some glitches and service issues. Better to wait and go for later releases. They are relatively bug free and cheaper.
  • List down your impulsive purchases – revisit the list periodically so that you do not make the same mistake again
  • Keep decluttering your house often. This will keep you in check of all the items you have and you will not end up buying them again. This is specially applicable for stationary items and tools.
  • Avoid going for shopping with RICH friends or friends who are spendthrift. Believe me, you will save a lot by doing this
  • Don’t save your credit cards at online shopping sites. If you save then it’s a matter of few clicks and online order gets executed.
  • Buy all items cash. Parting with currency notes is much more difficult compared to swiping plastic cards.

 

 

Great. Very practical points. I am sure I can implement these easily in my day to day life and I can save loads of money by doing this.


Yes, the advice given above is quite practical in nature and easy to integrate in your lifestyle. Always remember it’s your own hard earned money. By avoiding impulsive buying you can use your money in much better way.

 

Happy Investing !!!

  • 1
  • 2