Browse Tag: money

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 !!!

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 !!!

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 !!!  

Wealth Mantra: Buy assets and avoid liabilities

Wealth Mantra: Buy assets and avoid liabilities

 

Is there any formula which can make me or someone like me wealthy?

Keep on accumulating assets and keep on avoiding liabilities – This is a fool proof mantra to become wealthy.

 

Asset and liability

OK, but can you elaborate as I can not understand this? The terms liabilities and assets are too technical for me.

Don’t go into too much technical details about ASSETS and LIABILITIES. To keep things simple and easy to understand let’s consider asset as something that generates a positive cash flow regularly. This is something that was explained by Robert Kiyoski in his famous book Rich Dad & Poor Dad. Also, we will consider anything that takes money out of your pocket as liability.

The above assumptions are quite simple as you have a very clear demarcation between assets and liabilities. Let’s scan through some of the common items and check if they add up as your ASSET or qualify as LIABILITY to you.

HOUSE:
I am sure like everyone you also must be having a strong belief that your house is your biggest asset.

Yes, I have a big house with a big monthly payment going out against the home loan/ mortgage I took out to purchase it. It is indeed the biggest asset I have till date.

Keep our initial definition of ASSET and LIABILITY in mind. Let’s go through the expenses associated with a house.

  • You take out home loan/mortgage to buy a house. You pay processing fees, lawyers fee and several other charges while purchasing
  • You pay monthly maintenance charges to Association/Society for the upkeep of the common area and housekeeping charges for the common area
  • You pay sinking fund
  • You pay annual property taxes
  • You dole out money to keep the house in proper shape – maintaining cleanliness inside the house, make sure all taps, fittings, fixtures etc are in proper working condition.
  • You pay money for the repainting job every couple of years


The list can be pretty long. If you see, every single head mentioned above results in money going out of your pocket. Now if we go back to our original definition – it says anything that gives you regular return or puts money back into your pocket qualifies as an ASSET.

Now here we have our house which is not fitting in the definition of ASSET.

Sure, you can say that house price will appreciate in due course. But the appreciation can not match the kind of money that goes out of your pocket month on month to maintain the house.

So the house is a kind of liability. To counter the liability factor, one must buy the house which is of right size. The house which fits your need in terms of space and pricing. The moment you buy a bigger house than you need, money starts going into drain. Here I would like to add that if you have a rental property, then it is your ASSET not LIABILITY.

Oh, I was under the impression that I have a big house and it’s a big asset for me. Your arguments seems to be logical.

Let’s take CAR now:

It is said that the moment a car comes out of a showroom, it loses about 15% of its value.

On top of this, your car consumes money in

  • Fuel
  • Regular maintenance, oil changes, servicing etc.
  • Car depreciate with the passage of time
  • Wear and tear of tyres, other parts
  • Annual insurance premiums
  • Road tax

Here again we see that the car is consuming your money regularly. Hence your Car is also your LIABILITY. The takeaway here is unless you are super rich, don’t buy a bigger, expensive car. Remember a car is a mere tool to take you from point A to point B. So here again buy what you need, not what your neighbor drives. More details can be found here – Your car is not your asset

 

Hmmm sounds right. What about the items I owe like my belongings etc?

Now list down all your belongings. They are your LIABILITIES as they lose value over time. Be it your furniture, appliances, gadgets, books, DVDs, gaming devices etc. All depreciate. We have seen it earlier too here 

liability is bad

You have listed down almost all my possessions under LIABILITY column. I am now curious to know what qualifies as ASSET?

  • Your assets include your investments (FD/RD/ULIPs/Mutual funds, shares, ETF, Bonds)
  • Any commodity (Gold/ ornaments)
  • Collectible items
  • Art (paintings etc)
  • Rental properties
  • Cash you are holding

All the line items listed above generate income over a period of time. They put money into your pocket regularly so they all classify as your ASSET

The key here in accumulating assets is to make financial goals, stay focused and never crib about your income but keep investing regularly.

Now, let’s see something interesting based on the classification of ASSET and LIABILITIES. Let’s see what poor, middle class and wealthy people do.

Poor: They mostly own liabilities and keep spending on feeding their liabilities.

Middle class: They have some assets but they keep on buying liabilities and spend their chunk of income in feeding their liabilities. They avoid investments and usually spend money to buy and maintain things they don’t need.

Wealthy:They generate a lot of income from investments and keep reinvesting. They accumulate good amount of wealth which can be passed to their next generation.

Now financially independent class: This particular class has plenty of good assets and income from investments is enough to take care of all their expenses. They constantly look for investment opportunities and never averse of buying good assets.

Bottom-line is one must keep buying good income generating ASSETS and avoid LIABILITIES like plague. If you stick to this, none can stop you from becoming WEALTHY. As you go on accumulating good assets, you get more freedom to take calculated risk in order to go for higher gains.

 

Happy investing !!!

Delaying investments? It can cost you DEARLY

Delaying investments can cost you DEARLY

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.

 

delaying your investments

Yes, I agree. Even I have not thought of investments as of now. Somehow I feel it is not my cup of tea and anyways my money is safe in bank, I can always invest it at a later date when I feel the time is right.


Unknowingly, you are ignoring 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. 


Your money laying in savings account gives you 3%-4% returns whereas it can give you 12%-14% if invested in proper channels. Imagine the difference a 9% returns can make on INR10,00,000 over a period of 20 years. As per compound interest calculator – it comes to INR5,604,410


You realize this only when you need funds for a certain life goal. Then you realize that had you invested your money at the right place, you would have got much better returns. Be it while buying a car, buying a house or for kid’s higher education or a wedding in family. 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.

 

What could be the possible ways to avoid this delay and properly set the investment cycle?


There could be many things responsible for the delay at your end. You first need to identify the problem which is withholding you. It could be

  • A large sum of money laying around in savings account
  • Multiple savings accounts you have opened over the years – each with certain minimum balance and other service charges
  • Some investments got matured, amount in savings account but no re-investment done
  • Your own belief that “this is not the right time to enter the markets”
  • Not taking any decision to exit from certain bad investment
  • Not nominating anyone for your accounts/ investments


Your reason for postponing investments can be many

  • You are too busy and you do not have time to build and manage your portfolio
  • You think that you do not have enough money to start investing
  • You are afraid of making some wrong investment decision and you fear losing money
  • If someone suggests some investment product and handover the brochure, you find it too technical to read and it seems decoding the product attributes is too complicated job for you
  • You are comfortable with what you know that is you have done some fixed deposits as they are simple and easy for you to understand. For this reason, you do not think beyond fixed deposits.


Rightly said, looks like I am also holding some of my investment decisions because of the points raised above. Now tell me how to break ice ad keep going strong on investment front?

 

You have to overcome your fear. To learn swimming, you need to enter the waters. You then need to test the depth of the water and then swim where you are comfortable. So

  • You think that you do not have enough money to start investing – Investments can be started with an amount as low as INR500 per month. If you keep thinking that you do not have enough money, you will never be able to start investments. Remember – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

 

  • You are afraid of making some wrong investment decision and you fear losing moneyStart small. Start with products which gives you fixed returns and keep reading about investments. The only way to overcome your fear is knowledge about investment basics
  • If someone suggests an investment product and handover the brochure, you find it too technical to read and it seems decoding the product attributes is too difficult job for youDo not enter into complex investments. Start with basic and simple products which your bank offers over the counter like fixed deposits, recurring deposits etc.
  • You are comfortable with what you know To diversify and to make an optimized portfolio, you need to add different forms of investments at some point of time. Even if you are comfortable with fixed deposits only, you will still have to gradually add mutual funds, stocks, commodities etc in order to make your folio slightly more stable and to give you returns which are above the market inflation rate.

Do not delay your investments

 

You can take few small steps on how to start investments and be consistent with it

  • The key is planning – You must spend some time in evaluating your current status, identify the problems and plan the corrective actions based on your findings 
  • Study a little bit – Read finance blogs, magazines, read economic times and gain some basic knowledge about investing, mutual funds, equity markets, portfolio diversification etc.

 

  • BUDGET This is the most important step as it will tell you how much investible surplus you have for investments month on month. A simple budget can be made using this link

 

  • Automate investments – Do not wait till the month end to invest the leftover amount after expenses from your salary. Learn to pay yourself first. Your monthly investments should be done within the first week of the month. With the budget thing, you will know how much investible surplus you have for a month. Plan investments based on it and automate your investments. 
  • Review your investments every quarter – If possible, take stock of your investments every month. This will not only motivate you but also will keep you on top of your investments. You will have figures handy about your exact net worth, liabilities etc based on the monthly data you compile. 
  • IF NOTHING WORKS, hire a financial planner – Take professional help. But do involve yourself in planning and execution so that you can learn and you are aware of what is happening with your money. Afterall it’s your money. But make sure that you hire a good professional, not the local insurance agent who is always eager to sell you insurance policies.

 

We at wealth samurai always believe Your money is your money – it is you who has to take care of your money. None else is more interested in growing your money through investments than you. Whoever shows interest will have his/her personal interest attached in helping you. So take charge of your money, your financial investments, your budgeting and work towards achieving financial freedom

 

Happy Investing !!!