Stay fit and Earn a Fortune

“Health is Wealth” is a well known saying. This translates into your health is your wealth. If you look from financial angle, it goes very far.

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.

There are many websites available which guides you on staying healthy. One has to integrate healthy habits in lifestyle so that mind/body/soul stay healthy and one is functional till late years.

Very basic TIPS are

  1. Eat healthy
  2. Avoid drug/alcohol addiction
  3. Exercise moderately and regularly
  4. Do not miss Annual medical checkups – prevention is better than cure.

The savings calculation is simple, even if you save few thousand rupees per year, over 20-25 years they can translate into millions. Plus if you are physically active, you can easy avoid lifestyle diseases which are creeping into the segment that sits and works everyday for 8-10 hours then resort to fast food and partying.

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

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.

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

Times are good, you can draw money on your credit card, or you can swipe your card to get new TV/New AC etc. You can take personal loans to pay for the home expenses if you are not in job for a couple of months. But all these options come at a cost. Cost is 18%-24% rate of interest per year.

So, you must have an emergency fund, which is money stashed away in an account which is reachable at a short notice of about 1 working day. Now the question is How Much? There is no thumb rule to it. 3 months of living expenses should be sufficient so that in worst case you do not have to rush out and get money on credit.

You can use a high interest sweep in account of any bank or a liquid / cash mutual fund. Mutual fund option is better as it saves you from the high tax if you are in higher tax bracket. Any liquid mutual funds can be cashed in 1 working day. You do not have to plan to earn huge interest on your emergency fund, but let it sit in some avenue which gives some returns and which is easily accessible.

Power of Compounding

The Magical 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.

I am not going to give chart of person A starting early and person B starting at later stage in life and the potential gain for person A over person B. But if you start early in life, it makes a HUGE difference.

Same is applicable to the money that you spend on material gains or for momentary gains. If you put the figures in any of the online compound interest calculator available for the money you spend in leisurely sipping cups of tea / enjoying junk food day by day, month on month, you will be astonished to know the amount of money you stand to lose over the years. The loss is two ways, one in terms of actual money you spend and other is the health you stand to lose by gulping junk food.

So gear up and use compounding as an efficient tool to maximize your gains in investments.

A penny saved is more than a penny earned

“A penny saved is a penny earned”

Most of us would have heard this popular saying. In reality, it is different. Is goes like this

“A penny saved is more than a penny earned”. Yes it is more, much more than you think. There are different angles to it.

If you see from taxation point of view, the penny saved is after tax deduction. That means you have already paid the tax on the saved penny. When you earn a penny, you have to pay tax. And for the highest tax bracket, its 33% tax, so when you earn one penny, you end up having only 0.67 penny at your disposal.

If you see from Work angle, you have already put in effort to earn the saved penny. You had worked x amount of time and put in your energy and earned the saved penny. To earn a penny again you have to put x amount of time, energy and resources in terms of fuel etc for commuting.

Hence you are much better off when you save a penny. Save it and invest it so that you can multiply it for your future needs.

Framework to bring finances under control

Taking control of your financial life is not very complicated, nothing like rocket science. The basic principals are simple, easy to practice if you can co-relate them with your day to day life and the expenses you incur.

  • Get a good education, work towards building your career
  • Spend less than you earn – This is the most important part
  • Track & budget your expenses – Any given point of time, you should know where you are financially
  • Invest diligently rather religiously every month towards your goals
  • Plan for taxes; take informed decisions on your regular taxes and taxes on your investments. Optimize them so that you do not end up paying a lot to the government
  • Keep enhancing knowledge to manage investments, budget and taxes. Remember, it’s your money and none else will help you in planning for your goals unless they have vested interests

The above 6 points sums up the key to financial success. And remember, there is no place for debt which can spoil any good retirement plan. Especially the debt meant for buying lifestyle goods. You need to beat inflation as well as lifestyle inflation to beat the financial blues

Your money is your money!

As title says, “your money is your money“. None other than you would be able to manage it better. Others, who claim they can manage better, have their conflict of interest since they would be doing it for their livelihood. When they earn commissions for suggesting you the investment tools, they can never be honest with you. Here I am talking about the insurance agents, investment advisers and host of bank officials who always push you with some “REAL GOOD” plans

I am not pointing fingers at the financial planners, but at times, they cannot be believed due to conflict of interest clause. Their “BEST PLAN” might be the “BEST PLAN” for themselves but may not suit your needs.

A common man, who is working his way up in his career, is an educated person. He has basic knowledge of this world, how to live, survive, commute, plan things. Why not take charge of the finances instead of outsourcing it to someone who is unlikely to give you honest advice. We as employee help our companies to grow by managing their balance sheets, why not help ourselves by managing our own balance sheet of household finances & investments?

So remember, your money is your money. If you outsource your money management to someone, he will be more interested in sucking the commissions out of you by suggesting funds/avenues which gives him better commissions instead of suggesting you honestly where to invest. So take charge, control your finances. And believe me, with little knowledge you can be easily at the driver seat.

You alone will be the best person to guide your investments which is ultimately going to lead you to a financially stable retired life.

Why Money is Important?

A popular advert for a leading credit card company says “There are some things money can’t buy, for others there is MXXXXXCard”

Philosophically it can be said that money is not the most important thing in this world, but the fact is that without money, none can survive. We need money to buy food, buy a roof at our head, buy services to sustain our life/lifestyle and above all it gives us a kind of security.

  • When you are a student, you need money to fund education
  • When you start working, you need money to buy basic necessities
  • When you are married, and have family, you need money to build wealth and buy comforts
  • When you are sick, you need money for the healthcare
  • When you retire from work, you need money to sustain your lifestyle and fund expenses
  • When you are dead, you need money for your last rites

 

Money is required for every single stage of your life. We live in a world that thrives on Money. We don’t see this trend passing / changing anytime soon. The best thing is to use money as a tool, a mere tool so attain happiness. Not in terms of buying all luxuries available out there but to make wise decisions to have happiness and spread happiness in life of people who are connected with us.

Money is important but it’s also JUST money. Of course we should study hard, work hard to earn money but at the same time we must not lose our sleep over money. We should strive for a balanced life where you stop and smell the roses at will.
Wealthsamurai is about living life being lively, not about running around scouring for money all the time. We must focus on living a quality life instead of measuring our life by quantity of stuff we buy

Money & Life stages

From one’s point of view, there can be different stages in life with respect to money. Remember, this is only perspective – in general for a common man.

As one goes through different stages in life, the financial condition & goals are likely to change. They cannot stay constant over the entire life span. What holds good for you at early employment stage may not hold true when you are at the peak of your career. What is good for you at the peak, will likely change when you retire. If you manage your money well, you can strike a balance in all these years and can have a good plan for the years to come.

Stage 1:
Initial career years
From an Indian context, most of the parents pay for the kid’s education till University stage. So the first stage I am taking is early career years. The immediate goals for this stage may include buying a vehicle (a car or a two wheeler), planning for home, home furnishing, building a good credit history. However this might change soon as kids have started moving out on own soon and since education has become quite expensive, education loan is gradually become a trend now.
There is lot of energy and dreams at this stage. This stage decides how you will shape up your life, hence decisions taken are important and have long term impact on your life.

 

Stage 2:
Starting a family and career building
One may switch jobs for earning higher compensation to increase financial kitty, growing savings, buying home, start to plan for retirement funds, start a family, begin saving for kids education, buying adequate insurance etc Income typically rises in these years.
The right investment decisions taken at this stage leaves a long lasting impact on your life. Also since these are initial years, money accumulated and invested wisely comes handy at a later date.

 

Stage 3:
Pre-Retirement years
Your expenses more or less stabilize now due to high income. Kid’s higher education, their marriage , prepayment of home loan, any other long term loan prepayment, putting away more funds for retirement, taking professional help for financial planning/ retirement planning. At this stage you become more organized for retirement planning.

 

Stage 4:
Early retirement years
You are officially retired, but you may want to work for sometime more as you are in good health. This is just to support the lifestyle, travel. You now work towards consolidating the retirement savings into a regular monthly income, managing taxes, and do everything in making your savings last till you breathe last. Preparing will also come during these years.

 

Stage 5:
Twilight years
You may become less mobile due to age and health issues. The goals include planning for assisted living (trend is picking up in India now), tax optimization, efforts to make your money / savings outlive you. Prepare yourself for this stage well in advance when you are at stage 3 & stage 4. You can consult people who are undergoing stage 5 and plan well in advance.

To sum up, your goals will change with each stage and if you are well prepared mentally for each stage, you can plan well. A well planned, goal oriented life will put you in less stress financially and ultimately make you sail through your retirement years.

The ultimate retirement goal for anyone it to outlive his/her retirement fund.
If you plan well at different stages of your life, this goal is quite achievable.

~ WS

9 Ways you can ruin your wealth creation plan

 

In spite of being well educated, well traveled across – still we are prone to making mistakes in life. Some mistakes can be corrected easily but some have long term impact on your life. In financial journey too, there are some mistakes which have long term negative impact and after a point it’s impossible to come back from red zone into the green zone.

Worst money mistakes one can make

The journey to wealth requires a series of correct steps at right times pertaining to your finances. However there are a set of mistakes that exist which can ruin the hard work & self control of years.

I am listing them down below, they are not in sequence, but randomly placed. Anyone of these can ruin your financial plans and rock your retirement years

  1. Over spending: Overspending means spending more than you earn. This will keep increasing gap between your income and expenditure and ultimately the black hole will such all your resources.
  2. Not working to grow & maximize your career: Basic education is required and it is a must to embark on journey to wealth creation. Education helps you in understating things better, take rational approach, take timely decisions, plan strategies etc. Aim should be to maximize your career through education so that you have steady income for expenses and investments.
  3. Waiting to invest till right time comes: There is a Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The same goes for investing. Albert Einstein was amazed by the power of compounding and called it the eighth wonder of the world. The key is to start as soon as possible and to stay in the race as long as possible. You cannot time the markets hence the right time is now to start investing.
  1. Not saving enough: Unfortunately there is no magic figure or magic formula that if you save X% of your income you will become wealthy. The perspective of X% differs for a fresh graduate starting job and someone who has spent 30 years in corporate world. Most of the people make mistake in assuming “Things will work out eventually” They absolutely ignore inflation and rising costs of housing, costs of healthcare, education. These costs can make a big dent in your savings.
  1. Marrying the wrong person: Creating wealth is a team effort involving family members. Once you start working, gradually you tend to settle in life by marrying, planning for home, kids etc. It is very important to choose life partner carefully. A careful selection can make or break your plan of becoming wealthy. Both the spouses should be on same page as far as road to financial freedom is concerned.
  1. Not having enough insurance (life as well as health): People usually tend to ignore insurance. They take insurance to save tax and mix insurance with investments. This leaves them neither here nor there. Result is they are neither covered adequately nor their investment cum insurance policy sold to them by their trusted advisor is yielding any positive returns post inflation deduction. By doing this they are leaving their wealth creation plan in limbo.
  1. Investing heavily into real estate: Real estate investments are usually advisable once you are done with all other investments with proper asset allocation. House/flat for self consumption is not counted here. Reason why because real estate investments are big ticket purchase. Also the returns are usually good in long term. The process of buying ad selling could take up to 6-12 months. This makes them illiquid to certain extent. If you tilt your asset allocation towards real estate, you may run a risk. What if real estate pricing falls? One should take holistic approach towards real estate. Also since ticket size is big and you cannot sell part of the asset if you need money unlike stocks/mutual funds/bank deposits.
  1. Not having a will: No matter what’s your age, you must have a will. Creating a will is not grandpa / grandmas job. Whatever you have earned, whatever wealth you have accumulated so far should be passed on to your successors in case of something going wrong with you. Will also prevents strife in families at a later date. Even you should have nomination forms properly filled with banks and financial institutions where you have deposits. This makes life easy for family members in case of something going wrong with you.
  1. Buried deep in debt: Easy consumer loans lure you to fall into temptations of buying what your neighbors buy. This keeping with Joneses syndrome can be a big debt trap. Buy 80 inches 3D LED TV when you deserve, not on EMIs. Buy when you are ready financially. If EMIs are taking ac hunk out of your monthly income, you are not going to succeed in wealth creation. Have a practice of buying with cash.

 Avoiding above mistakes is not a rocket science, but takes a balanced well planned approach. As I said earlier, any one of the above is capable to derail your train to wealth creation.

About Wealth Samurai

 

Welcome to my blog, WealthSamurai or WS in short.

As per dictionary, samurai is “a member of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan”. Samurais were traditional warriors. I am using this term along with the word “Wealth”. This literally means building wealth with the war like ‘tactics’.

Over the next several posts I will gradually give details on what this website is all about (also what this is not about), my philosophy of making money, preserve money and increase net worth.  This can help you also to grow your net worth and in turn help you in accumulating “wealth”.

WealthSamurai is not going to be the platform for over the night investment ideas.

But for now, I would simply say “welcome aboard”. Thank you for reading, and I hope we will travel this journey together.