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I am Too young to start with investments

I am Too young to start investing

“I have just started working last year. I am too young to invest.”
“I will invest once I have sufficient money. Right now my salary could barely survive by month end”
“Investments are for the later part of life. Let me enjoy now”
“I don’t want to invest my hard earned money now, I will do it later”

I get to hear above statements from a lot of youngsters who are fresh out of College, earning handsome income and are hell bent on spending all what they earn month on month.

too young to invest

Yes, but isn’t it true? Let me enjoy my earnings. I am a fresh pass out and I have a full 40 years of professional life ahead of me. I can take up investing later.

When you delay investments, you miss out on power of compounding

Albert Einstein is purported to have once remarked that the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.

In simple terms, compounding is the financial equivalent of a snowball, rolling down the hill and gathering momentum as well as weight. More the ball rolls down, more weight it gathers in terms of the snow that get attached to it and more its momentum increases. By the time it reaches down the hill, it can well translate into a small avalanche. More the distance of travel, more is the impact of snowball.

Almost all personal finance websites/blogs and all financial magazines emphasize on power of compounding. 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.

Power of Compounding

 

I agree about the power of compounding. But I do not have spare money for investments. Many young professionals will not have any money left as the expenses are on the rise.

It is all about priorities. Since we know that most of the things in this world revolves around money, we have to give a certain level of priority to investments. “Pay yourself first” is the phrase widely used by financial planners across the globe. Instead of investing the money which is leftover after incurring all the expenses in a month, invest first and manage the expenses with the leftover money.

Once you make this a habit, you will become more responsible towards your finances.

And when you start young, you can amass wealth easily as you are giving time to your investments and supplementing your investment corpus by adding certain amount month on month.

I agree. But how to manage the expenses? Inflation is high and cost of living is rising rapidly month on month. If I invest my income then from where will I get money to pay utility bills and shop for groceries?

You don’t have to invest your entire monthly income. Take out say around 20% of your after tax income and invest every month. Manage your monthly expenses with the rest 80% of your  monthly income. Make use of the tools like Excel sheets for your benefit. Budget your expenses, cut down money leaks, increase your invest-able income and invest diligently.

Why you need insurance

Ok understood. Can you simplify this for me step by step?

There is no one sure shot formula for investments. But everything works on certain simple principles

  1. Start early – this will give you sufficient time to grow your money.
    Delaying investments? It can cost you DEARLY

  2. Budget your expenses.
    Making a simple budget to improve your personal finances
    A simple budget can save you from 5 big troubles

  3. Spend less than what you earn
  4. Invest your savings through proper diversification – consistently month on month
    Why I need diversification of investment?

  5. Cover yourself for any eventuality through health insurance and life insurance
    Why you need Insurance ?

  6. Have adequate emergency fund
    What is an emergency fund? And why you should have one?

  7. Don’t get into debt trap
    Consumer Debt & personal finance

  8. Don’t indulge in buying stuff
    Financial success : It’s not about the Stuff you gather

invest now
Bottom line is – it is your own money and you only have to take care of it.

Personal finance is not a rocket science but it requires your careful attention on money matters in your day to day life.

Happy Investing !!!

10 Money goals to accomplish before you turn 40

10 Things to accomplish with money before you turn 40

Money matters a lot in our life. Arguably money is the biggest facilitator in this world for a comfortable life.

midlife investments

When we touch the magical number of 40 years in our life, we can safely consider ourselves as quite mature. Mature in handling personal life, professional commitments and to a certain extent our finances.

Here is the list of 10 milestones or financial accomplishments we should aim to achieve by the time we touch 40. These milestones are also important as 40s are considered as peak performing years in one’s professional life.

  1. You should have a dedicated folio for your retirement savings with at least 10%-15% of your monthly net income going into it. If you are looking at 60 years as your retirement age then by the time you cross 40, you must have 10%-15% of net monthly income going into retirement corpus and that too with a raise in amount every year.
    This ensures that you are not stressed with your finances once you approach retirement age.
    6 Sins people commit when planning retirement

  2. Your investment folio should not have retirement as the only goal. By the time you cross 40, you should have identified financial goals in life and should have started goal based investing.
    A goal could be kids higher education, kids wedding, buying a vehicle 10 years down the line, upgrading your house from 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom etc. A proper planning makes the execution easy.

    goal based investing

  3. Try and finish paying up your home loan / mortgage by the time you hit 40. At 40, you would already have completed a professional stint of about 15 years. 15 years are good enough to pay off the home loan and free up the property.
    If your home loan is still around, take immediate steps to pay it off ASAP as by doing this you can free up a lot of investable income which can be safely redirected to your retirement corpus.

  4. Clearly establish money and life goals for your later life. Plan your finances around your goals and make them happen. Life goals could be – at what age you wish to retire? Where would you like to settle? How do you look at post retirement life? How to tackle day to day finances when you are at the fag end of your life?
    It’s better to roughly identify such goals and start working on them. This will give you enough time to plan financially for these goals.

  5. Cover yourself adequately with life as well as health insurance.
    Note that more you delay, more premium you have to shell out. Do I need to say that the healthcare costs are skyrocketing. By the time you reach 40, you and your dependents must be adequately insured to tackle any emergency situation.
    Why you need insurance ?

    Why you need insurance

  6. You must try and have a side hustle by the time you touch 40. It can simply be a freelance consulting in the field of your expertise or it can be your hobby which you can monetize. The idea is to have some alternate source of income. This extra income can do wonders to your investment portfolio.

  7. By the time you hit 40, you should have the list of all investments made, all financial details of bank accounts, insurance, nominee details etc handy with you and with your spouse. You should also have regular discussions on investment and money matters with your spouse. This will keep both the spouse on the same page with respect to money.

    investment discussions with spouse

  8. By the time you hit 40, make it a habit to revisit your investments periodically. Not only revisit, but do readjust the investment from asset allocation perspective keeping in mind your life and financial goals. Also you may require to tweak your investments from the perspective of external factors like sudden change in government policies, global cues. Note that these external factors can quickly eat up your gains in your investments so make sure that you periodically revisit your investments.
    In addition to external factors, as you age, you have to tweak asset allocation too in order to align your folio with your life goals.
    Delaying investments can cost you dearly

  9. By the time you hit 40, you must learn the art of staying fit and follow a fitness regime. When you are young, you play a lot, you move a lot. Some of the young lads work out a lot. Once you cross 30, due to professional and personal commitments in life, the exposure to physical activity gets curtailed.  
    Ensure that you create a fitness regime and follow it religiously before you hit 40. Now how does fitness is related to finances? It’s an old saying – HEALTH is WEALTH. More fit you are, longer you can enjoy healthy life.
    Stay fit and be WEALTHY

  10. Last but not the least – Make a will and have a proper inheritance plan before you touch 40. Life is quite unpredictable. We don’t know the future and can not even predict what will happen tomorrow. However with a will and an inheritance plan of our financial assets we can streamline the things a lot for our dependents. By 40 you must finish this task so that you can be assured of a smooth transition of your financial assets in case of any eventuality.

    Preparing a will

Bottomline is that if you plan things well in advance, you won’t get surprises on the course. This is specially true with the financial planning. Since 40s are considered as peak performance years in your professional life, it is advisable to set few things right before you reach 40.

Happy Investing !!!

7 Things about personal finance that none tells you

7 Things about personal finance that none tells you

Everyone who is working knows a little bit here and there about personal finance. Most of us are aware of the fixed savings instruments, investment through insurance, provident fund, share markets. Though not in detail but at least we have heard or read about the names of these investment avenues through television channels, magazines, websites, newspapers etc.

 

personal finance

 

If you look at the definition of personal finance from YourDictionary, it says “Personal finance is defined as the management of money and financial decisions for a person or family including budgeting, investments, retirement planning and investments.”

 

I have started my journey towards personal finance around a decade ago. I have also made my share of mistakes during this journey. I sincerely feel if someone had informed me about certain key things in the beginning, I would have certainly not made some of the silly mistakes.

 

Based on my own personal experience, I am listing down few points which none will tell you about personal finance

  1. Building wealth will always take time:
    Building wealth takes time and persistent efforts unless you get some windfall or some inheritance. If you wish to be a millionaire, you have to plan it well and execute it well too. There are no shortcuts, and one needs to put in sustained efforts.

    Remember, there are no quick rich schemes on the way to wealth creation. My own experience so far says that the journey towards building wealth is fun if you learn to enjoy it.wealth creation in personal finance
  2. Early bird gets the worm:
    The sooner you start taking control of personal finance, you have better chance of wealth creation. We all know the concept of compounding. An early start towards personal finance can make compounding work in favor of you which in turn will help you in amassing wealth.

    Also when you start early, you have the time factor working in your favor. When you give time to your investments, they can grow comfortably and with lesser risk.
  3. Look ways to increase income if you want to save more and invest more:
    Passive income such as income from house, income generated through doing freelance jobs in your field of expertise and through freelance consulting adds up and go a long way in creating wealth quickly.

    Also, a better paying job increases your chance to save more, invest more and move quickly towards wealth creation.
  4. Budget and cut out the excess spending:
    This is one of the crucial step in wealth creation. If expenses are more than income, one will always be in negative month on month. With the help of a budget, once you start listing down your expenses, you will be surprised about the crap expenses taking place in your day to day life.

    I was surprised when I started listing my expenses sincerely. I must accept that budgeting has helped me a lot in freeing up the additional money for investments.

    Here is how you can start working with a simple budget
            
  5. Consumer loans are killer:
    Though they look cheap, consumer loans are big dampener in your wealth creation journey. The “easy monthly installment” syndrome forces one to buy more and more. The thirst to gather more and latest never ends because the loans are handy and CHEAP.

    Try avoiding consumer loans as they are a big hindrance in your journey to wealth creation.
    Read: Consumer loans & personal finance
           
  6. You can not build wealth with a salaried job:
    Yes, you read it right. Most of us somehow pull ourselves out of bed each day and go to job. Because job is the only source of income, you must go as there are bills to be paid for the upmarket home you bought last year or for the swanky new car you purchased. If you do not go to the job, how you will generate money to pay the cost of groceries, household expenses?

    With only one stream of income, it’s tough to build wealth. One must work on creating multiple sources of income. Be it some freelance work in your field of expertise or an additional income from an additional floor of your house. Multiple income sources work favorably when you are out creating wealth.
  7.  Learn the basics of investing and work on your investments:
    No matter how the term “investments” is terrifying to you as a layman, one must start learning the basics of investments. Remember, it is not a rocket science. Surely it will take some time to learn the “know how” but you must do it as it will help you in managing your own investments. You should know and work on your investments as it is your own money which is being invested. If you leave it on someone, they may not be honest in working with your money because of the conflict of interest.Financial agents, bank employees, investment advisers are most likely to recommend what works for them, not what works for you.

    READ:
    Start investing in Mutual Funds
    Goal based investing
    When to start investing in stock markets

your money matters in personal finance

 

Once you make these points a habit, you will reap the benefits in the time to come. If you can work around on certain pitfalls mentioned here, the journey towards wealth creation would be slightly more smooth and joyful.

 

Happy Investing !!!

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 !!!

 

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 !!!

 

7 Financial mistakes you will certainly regret when you turn 50

7 Financial mistakes you will certainly regret when you turn 50

 

financial mistakes

For a common man, investment just happen. Every working professional becomes an investor for sure at some point during his / her career. It could be

  • By buying tons of insurance policies just because your father also bought when he was young
  • By becoming elite member of a famous get rich quick Ponzi MLM scheme – where only elite and selected few are invited to join. You join this because one of your highflying and partygoing neighbor has selected you to be a part of high flying life.
  • Opening some fixed deposits and some recurring deposits as one of the senior coworker is doing the same.
  • By buying some land miles away from town, purely going by the words of the land developer that the piece will be worth 100 time after x years

Here we see that investment choices are highly influenced by external factors. This external factor could be our family member, coworker, media – digital / print / TV, so called experts or relationship managers from our bank etc.

A common man, influenced by external factors take financial investment decisions. I am going to discuss a few of the financial mistakes made by common man which he will regret once he turns 50. This common man could be YOU – reading this post.

financial-mitakes-2

These mistakes you will certainly regret when you turn 50

Delaying 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.

If you think that you will invest once you have sufficient money at a later date – You are WRONG. Believe me, the later date will never come in your life. The more you delay, more you will lose on the benefits of compounding.

 

Delaying investments? It can cost you DEARLY
The magical power of compounding

 

Not taking any risk with investments

For most of us, investing means opening up a fixed deposit or buying an insurance policy from some relative or a friend. While investing we never check for the real rate of returns or the cost of investment we are making. This ignorance results in the earnings which are far below the inflation rate and highly taxed. Though we do investment, but it results in a loss for us as the net gains usually are less when you figure out inflation and taxes in the earnings.

It is indeed surprising that even young working professionals resort to insurance and term deposits as an investment. When you have age in your favor, you must look to invest into equity through various channels.

Investments in equity will fetch far better returns over a long period compared to the money invested in term deposits and insurance. You can not create a sizeable retirement corpus without the help of equity exposure.

You do not have to be an equity expert to invest in equities.

Want to enter equity markets? Index based ETF funds are the safest bet 
When you should start investing in stocks?

 

Not diversifying the investment

Diversification of investment is a common practice where your investments are spread across different asset class such that your exposure to any one asset class is limited. In other words you are not dependent on only one asset class to give you returns. This saves you from extreme swings in your net-worth in case of any financial turmoil in the economy.

When you do not diversify, you are unable to take advantage of the better performing asset class. Broadly speaking there are asset class like stock market, Government bonds, bank deposit schemes, commodities, real estate. At any given point of time , certain asset class will be giving better results than the other – based on the market economics. When you diversify, you need not to keep looking at your investments constantly and can sit and relax in peace.

Imagine during a bull run if you place your entire money in stock market and suddenly one day the market crashes and by the time it settles down you are down by 30%-40% on your principal. So no diversification is a big threat to your hard earned money too.

Why I need diversification of investment?

 

Falling prey to dubious / MLM investment schemes

We must accept that we are greedy and our investments are also greed driven sometimes.

We have seen in the past – many ponzi schemes come and go. They do not make anyone rich but most of the investors are left with no money when the scheme suddenly disappears.

Speak Asia, questnet and many such schemes are example where people have invested huge sums and lost their entire investment in no time.

There is no fool proof quick rich scheme which exists. If someone promises this to you, it’s a big trap. This is also true for get rich quick MLM schemes. When you invest, do some logical postmortem of your investment instrument. And always be skeptical about get rich quick and MLM schemes.

 

Mixing investment with insurance

Life Insurance covers your life and safeguard your dependents. Health insurance helps you in emergency situation where in you have to undergo some expensive medical procedure. So the term “insurance” assures you that in case of any unexpected emergency – insurance company will take care of you or your dependents.

The moment you try to mix insurance with investment – you are headed for something which is not right for your portfolio. Insurance linked investments can cost you heavy in the short term as well as long run. The thumb rule is not to mix insurance with investment but still millions of policies are bought every year – just for sake of investments or for sake of taking last minute tax benefits. These policies not only gives below par returns but also force you to have long term lock in. you can not get out of them as the exit costs are very high.

Also by investing in insurance linked investments you are locking your precious capital which can be used to generate much better returns.

Why you need Insurance ?

 

Not taking adequate insurance

Why you need insurance?

You never know what is going to happen in near/distant future. If someone is the only earning member of a family and due to health reasons, he is unable to work, or due to sudden demise of the sole earning member, family goes in no earning mode.

  1. Who will pay the EMIs of home loan, vehicle loan?
  2. How the monthly household expenses would be taken care of?
  3. How to pay kid’s school fee & tuition expenses?
  4. How to pay expensive nursing care? Hospital expenses are skyrocketing these days.

Do not assume that you need to buy insurance policy just because your friend who is a salesman in insurance firm told you to do so. First identify purpose of buying insurance. Assess your requirements, do your research properly and make sure that you are adequately covered with insurance for Your life and your health.

 

money mistakes

 

 

Not having an emergency fund

In personal finance and money management, emergency fund is the first line of defense against the unexpected problems in life. Financial emergencies can happen anytime, and most of the time they occur without warning.

  1. What if your car needs immediate repair?
  2. What if you are out of job for a couple of months?
  3. What if you broke your leg while playing gully cricket?
  4. What if a sudden voltage surge damaged your TV/Fridge/AC and all devices?
  5. How you are going to tackle this?

One must have a sufficient emergency fund to tackle any emergency situation. This fund can be parked in any accessible liquid mutual fund which can give you good return and you can access it pretty quickly when the need arise.

What is an emergency fund? And why you should have one?

 

So instead of being sorry when you turn 50, TAKE CHARGE or your finances. Be active and start investments for your needs.

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 !!!

 

How to save and invest for your Kid’s higher education ?

How to save and invest for your Kid’s higher education?

It’s not a rocket science to calculate how the cost of education has increased in last one decade. Where some of us paid close to nothing for our schooling, we are paying through our nose for our kid’s schooling. I myself studied in a central government school and paid INR5 per month as fees for my entire 12 years of school education. And these days just to buy application form for school admission one has to shell out INR500-INR1500.

 

higher education

 

Now imagine the cost of higher education. The PGP class of the most prestigious B school in India – IIM – Ahmedabad will pay INR19.5 Lacs in 2018 for the two years course. And behold, this amount is 400% higher than what IIM-Ahmedabad charged for the same course in 2007.

 

Almost same is the story with all the undergraduate courses for engineering, sciences and all other subjects. If you extrapolate the fee for the next 10 years, the figures become scary. If you have not planned well for your kid’s education fund, you could get a rude shock. Remember, here we have only talked about the cost of education. I have not even touched the cost of lodging and boarding during the education period.

 

This sharp spike in the tuition fees in last decade or so is a wake up call for parents saving for the higher education of their kids. Through this post I am trying to cover the means by which parents can plan the savings and investments for their kid’’s higher education.

 

The strategy for investment will be different for

  • A new born
  • 5 yrs of age
  • 10 years old kid
  • 15 years old kid

 

Based on which group kid falls, you can choose the strategy for your kid’s higher education.

I am covering very simple means to build corpus fund for higher education. I am not using any complicated investment streams for this.

 

When planning for a newborn

The main benefit of planning at this stage is one get a target investment period as 15-17 years. This target period for investment is sufficient to ride on the equity wave to get high returns and plan for a good corpus without pinching pockets. One can try the below mix

  • Start Mutual fund SIP in 5 equity diversified equity funds (distribute MF investment amounts across 5 different funds). With this you can earn up to 12%-15% gains per annum
  • Don’t fall for ULIP
  • Don’t fall for any child education or insurance plan from insurance companies
  • For a 17 year target, once you reach 15 years, start taking out money from equity mutual funds and start parking in short term debt funds through STP
  • Open a PPF account in your kid’s name and max out the account every year. This gives tax free returns on maturity.
  • Whatever cash gifts your child gets on birthday year after year, use it to fund PPF account. Also there is no harm in asking relatives to give cash on birthdays as opposed to gifts and feed the PPF account.
  • Make sure that you start moving equity investments through equity mutual funds to short term debt funds when target year is about 2 years away. This will safeguard your gains in case stock markets show fluctuations

 

When the kid is 5 years old

In this case, one has an investment horizon of 10-12 years. This is also a good time horizon for using equity as investment tool. The benefit of using equity is generating higher returns. If always gives good returns over a longer duration but returns could be volatile in short term. Below mix can be tried

  • Start mutual fund SIP in 3 diversified equity mutual funds. With this you can earn up to 12%-15% gains per annum
  • Start mutual fund SIP in 2 balanced mutual funds. They have up to 40% exposure in debt instruments so the chances of losing money is little less during turbulent markets
  • Open PPF account and max it out every year. This gives tax free returns on maturity.
  • Whatever cash gifts your child gets on birthday year after year, use it to fund PPF account. Also there is no harm in asking relatives to give cash on birthdays as opposed to gifts and feed the PPF account.
  • Don’t fall for any ULIP
  • Don’t fall for any child education or insurance plan from insurance companies
  • Make sure that you start moving equity investments through equity mutual funds to short term debt funds when target year is about 2 years away. This will safeguard your gains in case stock markets show fluctuations

 

When the kid is 10 years old

In this case, the target investment horizon is 7 years. Equity mutual funds to be used judiciously to generate good returns for close to 5 years and then entire equity investment has to be moved to debt in order to keep the gains safe.

Below mix can be tried

  • Start mutual fund SIP in 2 equity funds
  • Start mutual fund SIP in 2 balanced funds
  • Open RD account (if you are under 30% tax bracket – better to move to debt funds right away )
  • Open PPF account and max it out every year
  • Don’t fall for any ULIP
  • Don’t fall for any child education or insurance plan from insurance companies

 

graduation - higher education

When the kid is 15 years old

In this case, you have only 2 years as investment horizon. You can not rely on equity so all equity mutual funds are ruled out. Your entire folio has to be debt oriented. You can try below mix

  • Invest heavily in short term debt / liquid mutual funds through SIP
  • Open RD accounts (if you are under 30% tax bracket – better to move to debt funds right away )
  • Don’t fall for any ULIP
  • Don’t fall for any child education or insurance plan from insurance companies
  • Liquidate all your investments in physical gold which are in the form of coins/bars and move the money into short term mutual funds.
  • For those who have invested in PPF when the child was just born, they can move the maturity amount in short term debt fund. For them it’s time to consolidate the investments and try to save the gains through moving all investments for kid’s higher education into debt instruments.

 

As a parent one has to take charge and start investing for kid’s higher education. Cost of education is rising and educational loans are an expensive bet. Though it’s good to encourage your kid to part fund his/her higher education through educational loan but since the cost of education is very high, a parent can also chip in some amount with the help of steps discussed above.

 

One final word:

If you start planning and investing when the child is just born or up to 2-3 years old, you have a good time horizon to ride the equity markets. A small amount per month for about 15 years can give you excellent returns without straining your finances. For example if you are targeting INR25 lacs over 15 years, you need to save only INR5000 per month in equity funds. If you delay investing for 6 years, your monthly investment figure becomes INR9200. If you wait for another 3 years, the monthly investment amount jumps to INR23800 and with this you may not be able to take benefit of equity market. So be active and start planning now.

 

Happy Investing !!!

7 Simple ways to control spending and start saving money

7 Simple ways to control spending and start saving money

Everyone among us wants to invest money. Whether you are a fresher out of college, someone who has just got married, new parents, someone in 40s heading towards retirement – each one of us want to save and invest for our future.

invest now

The biggest challenge for us is to find out money which we can invest. You may be a graduate from one of the ace universities earning a fat pay package or working as a senior manager with some MNC – but when you look at the savings and investments you have – less said is better. The common excuse is “I don’t have sufficient money to invest”

People, especially young people finds it difficult to save and invest in the initial years of their professional life. Discretionary expenses are quite high among the youth. In one single outing, huge expenses on food and lifestyle is common among youngsters. Gen Y is more focussed on EMIs instead of SIPs. They love to indulge in buying gadgets and newest cars but they don’t have money to save and invest. Most of the youth have same story to tell. They have lavish lifestyle but when asked about savings / investments, they always come up with a  sorry face.

Investments require a lot of disciplined approach and this discipline is the only mantra to make your investment strategy a successful one. Below is the list of 7 mantras that can make you control your spending and help you save money for investments.

Mantra #1
Save before you spend or Pay yourself first : The common approach towards investment is save whatever is left after all expenses. This way most of the people can not save as they don’t have any leftover money by the end of month. They spend their entire income month on month and are left with no surplus money for savings and investments. The best way to tackle this is set aside a sum – say 25% or 20% of your income and at the beginning of the month and invest it via SIP or recurring deposit so that it’s not within your easy reach. Learn to live on 80% of your salary. This will ensure that you are never short of money for investment.

Mantra #2
Avoid using credit cards and don’t save your credit card information on shopping sites :  It has been proved by many researchers that one tend to spend more if he uses credit card or the payment information is saved in online shopping websites. Always buy things with cash. Also when you go to shopping mall, don’t carry your credit / debit cards. Carry cash instead as you can understand the impact of your purchase when you see actual money going out of your pocket.  Remember – Overspending is the biggest block in financial freedom

Mantra #3
Wait before you buy something expensive: When you are fascinated by the new LED TV during the weekend outing at shopping mall – Don’t buy it immediately. Wait for 30 days. If the same urge is there after 30 days, buy the item in cash. Continue this practice with every expensive item you intend to purchase – be it TV, Car, refrigerator, AC etc


Mantra #4
Avoid peer pressure for spending: You don’t need to go out every evening for a coffee when all your team members go. Once in awhile it is fine but there is no need to have it everyday. Same way no need to go out for a drink to the exclusive (“expensive”) pubs every weekend to chill out with friends. It’s perfectly alright not to indulge in theses practices. Remember these practices are big money drain. We have seen earlier how not to succumb to peer pressure 

Mantra #5
Start investing in small amounts without any excuse: Whatever little money you have saved, start investing in Mutual funds/stocks/recurring deposits without making any fuss. If you keep thinking that you don’t have enough money for investments, things will never improve. You must start with whatever little you have and keep growing your portfolio gradually but steadily. Start goal based investing which can simplify your investment strategy. We have seen earlier – Do not delay investing as it can cost you dearly 

Mantra #6
STOP using window shopping as a de-stressing tool : Using window shopping as an excuse to de-stress can harm you in the long run. Buying / gathering stuff without any objective can drain your money like anything. It also puts you under undue stress as you keep looking for deals on anything and everything which you don’t need. Always advisable to make shopping need based with a list in hand when you go out to buy something. This will keep your life as well as home clutter free and free up a lot of investable surplus money. We have seen how supermarkets are a big trap earlier and how to avoid impulsive buying

 

stop spending

Mantra #7
BUDGET- BUDGET – BUDGET : There is no way around the exercise called BUDGET. Don’t buy any WANT items if it’s not budgeted for. Keeping track of expenses also keep your expenses in check as the figures will give you a real picture. When you start budgeting and writing your expenses, you will free up a lot of GHOST money which usually gets disappeared in your window shopping and unplanned entertainment. This link will help you on how to start budgeting 

If you stick to these practical 7 mantras, you will find yourself saving and investing regularly for your future. Remember, it’s your own money and none other than you can take care of it in a better way.

Happy Investing !!!  

Do you often succumb to Financial Peer Pressure?

Financial Peer Pressure

What is Financial Peer Pressure? Do you often succumb to financial peer pressure?
If yes, here is a guide about how to fight financial peer pressure effectively.

 

financial peer pressure

 

What is financial peer pressure ?

Financial peer pressure refers to people developing new habits because of people they hang out with. For example, you start working and you get a new set of colleagues. You may not be regular with your evening coffee but since new colleagues regularly visit cafeteria for evening coffee dose, you also start visiting the tony coffee joint daily for the same.

Financial Peer Pressure in the longer run can suffocate your financial planing and it has capability to put you down morally too.

Looks like same thing happened to me too when I joined my company last year. Can you give some more examples of financial peer pressure so that it’s more clear to me?

 

In our day to day life we encounter many instances of financial peer pressure.

  • We often plan our summer vacations at exotic places with stay at signature hotels just to show off our relatives and friends.
  • Weddings are the place where people love to show their wealth – be it designer clothes, designer jewelry or lavish spending at the wedding functions.
  • People rush to buy latest gadgets just to show off them to their colleagues.

 

The typical financial peer pressure is visible everywhere around us. Knowingly or unknowingly we also succumb to this financial peer pressure.

  • At home

 

    • Financial peer pressure comes to us in the form of holiday trips. We get tempted by the trips made by our neighbors and relatives and try to go to the same places they visited so that we do not feel inferior to them.
    • We often plan a movie at the multiplex followed by the dinner at signature restaurants on the weekends so that we do not feel inferior to our friends and colleagues. And we have good masala updates for our Facebook timeline.
    • We make it a point to visit malls over the weekend to do some window shopping to satisfy the shopper in us. Do read this to know how supermarkets are a big trap.
    • We always look to buy new gadgets so that we can match the standard of our neighbors. If our neighbor buys a 60 inch LED TV, we try to better it by buying 75 inch LED TV.
    • We always look to buy / upgrade our automobile to show others that we have big car and we are no less than others.

We always buy latest toys for our kids, we send our kids to popular summer camps, we send them to expensive schools just to ensure that people see we are doing good financially and for the heck of not feeling inferior to others.

  • At work

 

    • You make it a habit to join end of the day coffee at coffee joint with your team members
    • Weekly lunch outing to expensive restaurants
    • Event celebrations at expensive lounges / resorts like birthdays / anniversaries etc
    • You join regular office parties and snack parties  
    • You keep updating your mobile phones just because your office colleagues have the latest models.

 

financial peer pressure - workplace

Oh my God, the list is long and well diversified. Unknowingly I am also spending a lot of money just to show off others – which is not required. Can you help me out on how to tackle financial peer pressure in day to day life?

The solution to this menace is not that complicated. Below are few points I am mentioning which will help you out in tackling financial peer pressure.

 

 

  • Stop trying to keep up with others

 

      • You do not have to plan your vacations based on your neighbor’s vacation plans or your friends vacation plans. Plan your holidays based on your likes and more importantly based on your budget. Intelligently planned vacations can save tons of money from going into the drain
      • For kids – stop buying expensive toys just because your neighbor buys them for their kids. Kids are more happy when you spend time with them and they are more happy with activity based games.
      • Say a clear no or fix the frequency of the parties your colleagues arrange. You need not to attend every single party. Right?
      • Don’t follow your friends and neighbors and go for shopping sprees. Whenever you go for shopping make it a point to have written shopping list as frequent window shopping can make a big dent in your budget.
      • It doesn’t make any sense to visit multiplexes every weekend to watch the latest movie and have food in expensive restaurants. You can have a movie night at home. Now with Netflix and host of other service providers it’s possible to have movie watching a less expensive affair. Also food tastes much better if prepared at home with entire family pitching in as helping hand.
      • Stop getting into FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. This will make you feel inner happiness in a better way and you can enjoy life more.

 

  • Take experience – Create memories instead of buying stuff

 

    • Kids would love to go out and have a match of football instead of going to the mall for watching movies every weekend.
    • Take kids to museums, parks, forests, outdoors – help them to see beauty of nature, identify plants, birds, insects. This will make them more happy than sitting in VR room playing video games.
    • Plan vacations such that you see places of natural beauty, historical importance in and around your town. No need to go to maldives to experience beaches when you can have same experience in Goa for less than half the cost.
    • Instead of having theme based parties for kids birthday, you can have activity based party wherein all the kids do some activity which interests them. Kids always love doing activities together.
  • Focus on your monthly budget
    Keep track of your expenses. This link will help you out on how to budget for expenses. Make sure you keep an eye on useless expenses like subscriptions, eating junk, mall visits etc and cut them down.
  • Do not get influenced by Social media
    If your neighbor is visiting Switzerland for summer vacations, you need not to visit the same place just to show that you are no less than your neighbor.
  • Learn to draw a line – Learn to say NO
    This is very important. If you master the art of saying no to the things which harms you, you can overcome the financial peer pressure to a good extent.

 

Some good insights and some practical steps which I can take to counter Financial peer pressure. Thank you for elaborating these for me.

Yes, and one final thing – Your life should be driven by you NOT by the likes of others. This will not only make your life better but will improve your finances in long run. Also this can be considered a positive step towards wealth creation.

 

Happy investing !!!