Browse Tag: #moneymanagement

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 !!!

2018 is here – Simplify your finances in 7 easy steps

2018 is here – Simplify your finances in 7 easy steps

New year 2018 is here. A new year is always a great time to start/restart your life for better. It’s a time to re-haul your life, review and take steps to remove negative components from your life and move towards positive.

One excellent component to re-haul is your financial life. Be it saving for your retirement, saving for marriage, saving for kids education or be it the repayment of debt which is hovering on your head.

 

2018 and finances

 

You can simplify your financial life in 7 easy steps this year. The only effort required from your end is commitment to put your financial life in order. So take charge of your life, use the new year as an opportunity to boost your finances.

  1. Take inventory of all your Debts:
    Be it home loan, credit card balance, vehicle loan, personal loan you took for vacations, loan against property or education loan. List them down in descending order of the interest rates. Once you have the list, start attacking the highest interest loan with extra payments regularly.

    This way you can save loads of money in terms of outgoing interest on these loans. Who doesn’t want to be debt free – so target the same for yourself.

    Consumer debt & personal finance

 

  • Close all the unused bank accounts and cut off your unnecessary subscriptions:
    List down all your bank accounts including ones which you had opened many years ago and you are not using it anymore. Keep one personal account and one business account – close rest all of them. Remember all bank accounts require certain minimum balance and you do not need many bank accounts. With payments going digital way, it’s better you close all your accounts except one.

    This will free up a lot of money for you which can be used for debt repayment or investment. Similarly review magazine subscriptions, newspapers subscriptions etc as in this digital age mostly all publications have online version and that too free.

    This will save you from money leaks and the saved money can be utilized in a better way for further investment.

    What are money leaks? How to find out your money leaks and plug them?

 

Money leak - how to fix it

 

  • Review your insurance needs:
    Be it life insurance, vehicle insurance, homeowners insurance or health insurance. Review all of them, compare premium for the similar sum assured with other service providers. Call them up and bargain for the premium amount – there is always a room for bargain. Look at your age, your other family member’s age and tweak sum assured based on the needs and finalize the most cost effective plan for yourself. Repeat the same exercise for your vehicles.

    You will be surprised to know the amount you can save by switching to different service providers / porting the policies to other service provider.

    Why you need insurance ?

 

 

  • Review and tweak your investments:
    Be it PPF, Mutual funds, Stocks, shares, Fixed deposits, recurring deposits, post office deposits or commodities. Review all of them in terms of gains since you invested in them and what current rates they are offering. You might want to close down some dead investments based on the returns or shift to more fruitful ones. Based on your requirements and goals, tweak the investments in order to gain better returns. It’s always good to do a thorough review of your investments once a year and rejig your portfolio.

    If you have not yet started investments, it is right time to start investing gradually towards your goals in life so that you have enough funds when you reach your life goals.

    Delaying investments can cost you dearly 
    Diversify your investments

 

diversification-of investment

 

  • Make a budget and stick to it for the entire year:
    Budget is one of the major step on the 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. If you are making your budget for the first time, there are good chances that your spending is more than your income otherwise you would not be taking pains to make the budget. Don’t think it is complicated. Keep it simple to suit your needs and it can work wonders for your financial life.

    Once you have data for a few months – say three months you can see and analyze the expenses you have incurred under different heads. This will help you free up money for fruitful investments.

    How to make a simple budget 
    A simple budget can save you from 5 big troubles

 

 

  • Use tax exemptions to minimize your taxes:
    Government runs many schemes which can be utilized to minimize the tax impact by investing in them like RBI bonds, infrastructure bonds. Investment towards PF, PPF is also tax exempted so as investments in equity linked mutual funds and life & health insurance.

    If you are running a business many exemptions are there in terms of expenses incurred towards the business.

    File your returns efficiently, take appropriate steps to pay minimum tax using exemptions. This will help you with more money at hand which can be utilized to invest more efficiently.

 

tax exemption

  • Educate yourself:
    You may not be an expert on finances but basic investments through various vehicles is not a rocket science. A lot of literature is available online which helps you in taking informed decisions. Do not rely solely on the other so called financial experts from your neighbourhood and local banks to help you out with your investments.

    A little reading and self education can do wonders for you. So take out some time from your busy schedule and start reading about personal finance and investments.

 

One final suggestion is to keep a piggy bank at your home to save all the loose change you gather. This will also inculcate savings habit among the other members of your family, especially the kids.

At WS, we always stick to the policy that “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 avenues, they can never be honest with you.

Wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2018 !!!

 

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 !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thumb Rule for any Retirement plan – Remember Your money has to outlive you

“Always remember – Your money has to outlive you”

Interesting sentence. But why do I need to worry about this? All our forefathers never worried about this so why should I break my head over this?

Things were different till last generation. Till a couple of generation back, things were pretty cool. Life was quite easy, you work for 30-35 years with any corporation and you retire with a regular pension amount per month which could take care of your day to day living. Families were joint and there were grownup kids to take care of you during your retirement years. Medical care was not expensive and life was relatively easy.

 

a good retirement plan

 

Yes, you are right. Things have changed drastically in this generation. Can you let me know what else has changed?

  • Life expectancy has increased by about 20%- 25% in this generation. This means you will need to spend more years on this earth and that too of your old age.
  • It doesn’t take rocket science to arrive at the conclusion that healthcare costs have skyrocketed in last few years and they are expected to climb more
  • Cost of living – day to day expenses have increased with more exposure to urban living. Similarly cost of services have also increased at a steady pace.
  • Biggest change is the family structure. Families are no longer joint families. Due to migration to urban areas families have become nuclear families and aged ones does not have a chance to live with grownup kids in their dusk years.

 

This sounds scary. What can I do to tackle this situation and have a comfortable life after retirement?

Yes this is scary for many of us too. As per many research reports, it is said that about more than 50% people who are about to retire are not in position to retire due to insufficient savings in their retirement funds.

There is no shortcut or a quick fix solution to this issue. You need to take comprehensive approach towards your retirement right from the beginning so that you can avoid retirement blues. As an employee you spend your life in helping company to enhance and balance their balance sheets, now it’s time you also think seriously to work on balance sheet of your life.

 

Ok, now help me out and tell me how can I get control over my retirement finances?

Below are several steps to take in order to make your money outlive you. These steps are simple to execute and if one takes these steps then he/she will be able to head towards a comfortable retirement financially.

  1. Make a proper plan
    It is said that planning is the most important task to do anything. If there is proper planning then things bound to fall in place. Plan, Plan and again plan. Also at any stage of life, do not hesitate to go back and re plan if you think a particular strategy is not working. Have your plan written on paper so that you can constantly monitor and update it when required.
  • Plan your investment portfolio
  • Plan the asset allocation at different life stages
  • Plan the savings/investment targets by age
  • Plan your career in order to maximize your earnings
  1. Always aim for a bigger retirement corpus fund than you have planned
    In any pan there is always room for some uncertainties. Always keep a buffer for uncertainties and go for at least 1.25 or 1.5 times of the nest egg you have planned for retirement. This will help you to sail through any hurdles that comes in your path while contributing towards your nest egg.
  1. Plan to work a little longer
    This does not mean to toil even after your retirement. Idea is to work a little more – may be as a consultant on a part time basis for few more years so that the transition from active work life to retired life is smooth. This additional work will also help you to amass little more corpus fund for the retirement.
    BUT consider this only if you feel like working as during the end of professional life very few would like to work for some more time.
  2. Take adequate health cover
    It is easy and cheaper to take health cover at young age. Evaluate various service providers and take appropriate health cover so that you don’t have to shell out money for medical reasons. Remember – health care costs have already skyrocketed and are set to increase further.
  3. Get rid of all debts as soon as possible
    As I had discussed earlier too, try to avoid consumer debt, personal loans and any other loan as it costs money to service loans. Mortgage/home loan also try to complete sooner than its tenure so that you have sufficient free money for investment targeting your retirement. Any debt is a hindrance in wealth creation.
  4. Do not forget inflation in your plan for retirement
    Inflation is a termite which constantly eats up your money and reduces its value. When you plan for investments, retirement corpus fund do consider the inflation. Inflation factor must be considered so that you achieve your target corpus fund without any surprises midway to retirement.
  5. Re-look at your plan every year
    By doing this you can evaluate your progress and take corrective action. Remember for any long term plan you need constant evaluation-feedback-corrective action cycle in order to maximize the chances of its success.
  6. Budget – Budget – Budget
    Note down every expense daily – month by month (how to do it). It doesn’t take much time but it ensures that you plug money leaks. Money leaks can prove deadly and unless you write expenses you will never come to know where your money is leaking. Budgeting also helps in proper funds allocation to investments which in turn will help in creating a good retirement corpus fund.

Once you diligently follow the 8 steps listed out above, you will have a better control over your retirement finances.

If you still find things not getting better at retirement age, do not hesitate to look for reverse mortgage option. You have paid monthly payments for a good period of your life towards your home, why not capitalize it through reverse mortgage. This will give you sufficient money for day to day expenses.

One final word, if you are alone or feel you could be burden to your kids, plan well ahead for a care home for elderly. Plan a retirement corpus fund well in advance which can enable you to move to an elderly care facility where you can have a dignified life.

Bottom line is , 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.

 

 

Making a simple budget to improve your personal finances

 

Making a simple budget to improve your finances. This is an important step in reaching your financial goals and financial independence

I am sure there will be many among us who have never actually attempted to make a budget or even noted down their expenses on a daily basis. Many of us would have never experienced the need to see all their income and expenses in one single sheet – which is more due to negligence than lack of knowledge.

How to make a household budget

 

 

Why budgeting is important?
All large companies and organizations do their budgeting, write their expenses, do regular audits in order to see if their actual spend is as per the budget or not. They hire specialists to do this job as they want to prevent any money leak and also they want to be on top of their expenses so that they don’t lose money in a big way.

 

How about budgeting at my personal level?
At personal level, we do not need the kind of skill level that corporations employ to do budgeting, but a basic work on spreadsheet which is not too much time consuming is enough. This is just to have a quick access to your financial status at any given day and to plan any expense which is not a regular one like purchase of a new car, or a foreign holiday.

 

I don’t have knowledge of accounting software / tools required to do budgeting
No worries. For keeping track of personal expenses and basic month on month budgeting, you need to be an expert in using accounting software or tools. As this is Information Technology era and all of us are well versed with MS office (MS excel to be more precise), which is more than enough to do the designated task of budgeting.

 

What do I need to do with MS excel?
First make a list of all your spend in a month. For starters, make four columns in the excel sheet.

  • First one should have the date of expense
  • Second should have the place where you spent the money
  • Third should have the amount you spent
  • Fourth one should be the category of expense (classification as food, grocery, housing etc)

 

how to make budget in excel

 

Every single expense, I repeat every single expense you incur should go in this excel sheet. Why? You need data. This data will make foundation of your budget. And the data accumulated over few months will give you enough food to analyze your spending pattern and believe me; it will help you save tons of money.

At the end of the month, sum up all. You will be amazed to see how much you spend, when there is no budget for expenses.

Now – sort these expenses by category. Sum up the money you spent in each category. This category wise spend will be the backbone of your budget for the next month.

Easy so far? Isn’t it?

Now make a new spreadsheet which will be the budget for your next month. Keep four columns in this sheet.

  • First is category name (housing, food & groceries, fuel etc)
  • Second is what I spent on category last month
  • Third is what I intend to spend in this month on the category
  • Fourth is how much I actually spent on the category (this will be filled once the month gets over)

budget summary - household

 

So many things to do? This looks little tough for me. Do I need to carry this exercise every month?
This might look little tough as you are not used to of doing this. Only the first cycle would take time, then it’s a kind of a cake walk. Once you have completed one cycle, format is ready. You only need to enter the data from month 2 onward.

Ok got it. Now how is it going to help me save money?
If you are making your budget for the first time, there are good chances that your spending is more than your income otherwise you would not be taking pains to make the budget. Once you have data for a few months – say three months you can see and analyze the expenses you have incurred in each category. If you are spending way too much on eating out or buying cloths, it would be clearly visible in the category expenses figures. You can dig a little deeper to check and see if you can trim these high spend category expenses which are not required for survival or which are mostly want related expenses.

Armed with the data of few months, you can repeat the exercise of trimming the unwanted expenses. The money which gets generated from cutting down unwanted expenses will improve your cash flow and will give you an opportunity to invest this money in order to generate higher net worth. This higher net worth in turn will lead you to financial independence at a quicker pace. Wealth creation is all about the art of increasing the gap between your income and expenses and keep investing the difference across the investment spectrum to generate higher and stable returns.

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.

Supermarkets are a big TRAP

Why Supermarkets are a big TRAP and also big money DRAIN !!!

All the supermarkets are intelligently designed. What item will come where and in which row is meticulously planned. No wonder why the retail chains hire MBA grads for such a higher salary. The planners sit in a plush meeting rooms, peeping at the historical data and planning how to fit certain useless high margin items in front row of the stores.

Supermarket are money drain

 

The layout Trap

The layout of supermarkets are organized in such a way that daily use items are always found at the farthest place from the entrance. Once you enter to buy your supply of bread or milk, you need to wade through the entire store with each shelf literally shouting the offers to you – on useless items. And being a ‘good buyer’ we always end up picking a couple of useless products because of some stupid offers on them.

It is easy to avoid the TRAP

It is not that there is no way to avoid this trap. Impulse buying can be tackled tactfully by visiting these super markets with a written buying list of items you intend to buy. And you must stick to this ‘buying list’. The buying list is something that requires a little bit of effort from your end to make. This is in order to keep your list as efficient as possible.

Do keep the following points in mind for preparing an efficient buying list.

  • Plan main grocery shopping trip only once or twice in a month. This applies to the items like flour, pulses, rice, cooking oil, spices, supplies like sugar, tea powder, coffee powder, cheese, sauces etc. Estimate the quantity you would require of these supplies and enter them in your beginning of the month main shopping list. At the most when you enter the super market, you can strictly look at the offers on the items in this list and weigh them by arriving at per unit cost of item – with discount and without discount. Take whichever is the cheapest BUT the price point – with discount should justify the quantity you are buying. Use common sense; do not buy 25 Kilograms of sugar just because you get 10% discount on buying 25 kilograms pack when your monthly requirement is only 2 kilograms of sugar.
  • Reserve a weekly visit just to buy the stuff which is perishable and you need their supply often. This is for the products like eggs, milk, paneer, curd, juices, yogurt etc. You cannot stock these items for long at home and they are always better if consumed fresh as they come with a short shelf life. You can include your weekly bread supply too in this list. Go to the supermarket on a weekend, check offers on these products and purchase them. Here again use common sense when you are comparing discounted price with the quantity.
  • Add items from your main shopping list into the weekly list for which you are low on supply. For example, if you have some unexpected visitors at home for a few days, you are sure to go low on the supply of cooking oil, wheat flour, rice, sugar etc. Do not go separately to buy these items on a weekday. This is waste of time, fuel and energy. Instead, add the low stock items in the weekly shopping list and buy them on a weekend. Since weekends always have some discounts running to attract buyers, a chance of you getting a better price is always there.
  • Take review of the stock levels once in 15 days and again add items which are low in quantity in the weekly shopping list. Here again it should not be the case that you have monthly rice consumption of 5 kilograms and in spite of having 10 kilograms in stock you have gone ahead – added the item in the monthly shopping list and bought another 10 kilograms just because there was an offer running on the item.
  • NEVER ever enter any super market for shopping with empty stomach. When you are empty stomach, your hungry stomach guides you through the fast food stuff and compels you to buy stuff like cakes, pastries, ice creams, snack items. Your hunger makes you succumb to buy sandwiches and pizzas thus killing the purpose of entering the super market to buy grocery items and save money by buying your monthly requirements in one visit.

Super stores play mind games with people. Armed with the data and analytics, coupled with brainstorming of grade A pass outs from business schools, they literally direct you on what item to place in your shopping basket. You need to be a little smart and systematic to dodge the useless offers thrown at you when you enter a super market and only buy the items you need to buy.

A visit to the supermarket for grocery shopping could turn a big money drain and destabilize your budget for the month if not planned carefully. Over a period of time, these visits have potential to derail your financial planning and can make a big dent in your wealth creation plans.

Overspending – the biggest block in financial freedom

We dream about having nice things, big cars, nice homes, latest gadgets, fancy cloths. The moment we start working after graduating from university, we start accumulating the things we dreamt as a kid or student. Thanks to the media around us – be it print media, social media, electronic media, TV channels blaring advertisements 24X7. They make us convinced that if we do not owe the latest, we are not human in sync with the world. The tone of modern day advertisements is that we are inferior if we do not have the latest gadget, latest fashion.

Overspending - hurdle in personal finance

 

Once the income starts coming in Post University, we welcome all the stuff, toys to keep us happy. We submit ourselves to frequent outings with friends and relatives and many more things which we could not do being a student. Owing the stuff and frequenting restaurants is considered as a new COOL. Suddenly we feel urge to buy new automobile because all our peers have one. We want to outshine our peers hence we want the best automobile, fully loaded with all amenities – just to show off and in our heart we feel “we deserve it”. We look to get hold of the well deserved large house in the toniest neighborhood which we were eying from long. Consumer credit is readily available. This gives us a good excuse to buy the latest 80 inch 3D LED. Obviously we need these gadgets to flaunt ourselves in our circle. Also this reflects in the society that I am cool and doing well in my professional life.

We try to do everything except saving & investing money. It’s always good to pretend that we do not have sufficient income to start investing now and we will have much better success with investments when we have higher income than what we are earning now. A big chunk of our earning is dedicated to the monthly payments that are going out for the nice house, a big car, 80 inch 3D LED and many more gadgets which we have accumulated – just to show off that we are doing well.

This tendency to spend salary as and when it comes makes us struggle financially month on month. Every month we have a list of TO BUY and the list never gets trimmed. One item leaves the list, another item occupies the place. So what can we do if we are making 6 figure incomes and still struggling to pay for necessities to survive day to day life? We must put a cap on non – essential spending. Cut it down so that we have precious cash saved for essential spending and investing. It will hurt for a month or two, but we will not die if we do not have latest iphone 7 in our kitty or if we do not have the latest Honda or Toyota parked in our garage.

Unless we stop spending recklessly, we will not come to know what is essential and what is non essential spending.

A simple plan: How can we check overspending

1. Make a list of monthly expenses without which we cannot live like Home loan EMI (mortgage), electricity bill, maintenance charges, telephone bill, and internet bill. Mark them as NEED

2. In another list, keep all expenses which are our WANTS, like eating out, buying latest phones, new cloths, and outings during weekends etc.

Now once the list is made, strictly write every penny that you spend under respective list. Over a month or two you will get a very clear picture that what you are spending on essential items and what is being spent on non-essential. Cut down on non essential, put brakes and see the magic. In a couple of months you will have a very positive cash flow and loads of money freed up for investing.

This is basic money management, not a rocket science. We need not to be an expert in finance to make money work for us.

Overspending has to be tackled at the earliest if you are not having a positive cash flow month on month. Overspending can ruin your retirement plans and can even upset your life’s balance sheet. If you wish to retire early to pursue your passion, if you are looking for financial independence, if you want to generate passive income so that you do not have to depend on your day job – you must sit down and do the basic exercise to assess your expenses and come harsh on overspending.

Believe me; cutting down overspending can work miracles on your cash flow. You can free up a lot of money which can be invested judiciously to generate good returns over a period of time.

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