Stop thinking you don’t have enough money and start investing

how to stop thinking u have kess moneyYou are young, you are free, there’s a party this Friday like every other Friday, and you have no worry. Well, maybe just one teeny-weeny bit of worry at the back of your mind: is it time to start investing?

But, it isn’t that simple! Where is that extra bit of cash to allow you the leeway to indulge in a bit of investing on the side?

How to start investing?

Say you are between the age of 20 and 25 and have got a job that pays relatively well. You are eager to begin investing but have no clue how to go about it. Your first question will be how to start investing?

It is not unnatural to have a relatively low amount of savings early in one’s professional life; that is nothing to despair over. Look at the brighter side: the advantage of being young is you are starting early, and small savings add up to something substantial over the years.

Here are some steps for investing for beginners:

First, make sure you enter the world of Investment confidently; the Indian economy has enough reasons to make you feel so. Consulting firm PwC believes1 that India will be the largest economy in the world, after China, by 2040, fuelled mainly by higher capital investments and better technology.

This means that the Indian equity market will be on a growth trajectory over an extended period – till you are about 43-48 years old, depending on your age now. So, investing in the market keeping a long-term perspective makes sense.

When it comes to investing for beginners, it’s a good idea to create an emergency fund that is equal to the value of six months of expenses; this will serve two purposes:

(a) It provides you with a cushion to tide over emergencies,

(b) you can invest in highly liquid funds that allow you to start small and withdraw the money when you need it.

Try and figure out that from your current earnings – repeat, current earnings – how much you would be able to contribute to the short/middle term and emergency funds, and how much you can contribute towards long-term investment.

Most importantly, choose an amount to invest that you’re comfortable with.  One of the main reasons you may be delaying investment would be because you don’t think you have enough money to invest. “Maybe after my next salary hike”, you’ll tell yourself, assuming a higher salary would mean higher savings. But you’ll soon find that the more you earn, the more you spend.

Better option? Invest small. Investing for beginners can start from as little as Rs. 1000 per month. That’s one dinner at a fancy restaurant! In a matter of 4-5 years, that money could grow to a trip to Thailand.

Setting Goals

Break down your goals for the next three years (the short term), and for the next ten years (the long-term), to make it easier to start focusing on funding them.

 These goals are not career targets, but more practical ones that require finances: for instance, buy a car in two years, get married and honeymoon abroad in the next five, etc., work out the estimates.

  • You should avoid going down the equity route for any plan that requires less than five years and invest instead in the long term because equity investments are always more profitable in the long-term
  • What anything less than five years needs a fixed income strategy.

 Steady Savings

While making investments is essential, there are other emergencies you need to plan for. What happens to all the money you’ve saved, if you suddenly need to spend it all on hospital bills, post an unfortunate event? Or spend it on getting your car fixed, after a massive accident? These events can’t be predicted, but they can be planned for. That’s where insurance comes in.

Investing for beginners should start with life and health. Contrary to what you might think, these policies are cheaper, the earlier you buy them. As you get older and unhealthier, your premium will keep increasing.

The Bottom Line:

Start investing NOW!

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AspirePFS conducts session on financial well being of women

Max3Aspire Personal Financial Solutions conducted sessions on Financial Well-Being of women for Inditex India Private Limited and Max Group on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Glad that organizations are recognizing the importance of financial wellness as being core to the total well-being of their employees, especially women. Women have unique financial challenges which need specific intervention.  By better understanding these challenges and helping women take charge of their financial health, employers can reap the benefits of a healthier and more engaged female workforce that is not only more productive but also easier to retain and develop.

I had gone prepared to impress through research and data why they need to take charge of their finances, but same was not really required they already appreciate the need for financial planning. In each of the sessions, participants were eager to understand the various aspects of personal finance. However what they struggle with is one finding time from their various engagements and secondly getting trusted advice.

Organizations are uniquely well positioned to help employees improve their financial health, that is, help them effectively manage their day-to-day financial lives in order to weather life’s inevitable ups and downs and pursue meaningful opportunities. Employers should create opportunities to not only educate employees but also facilitate the access to safe, affordable financial products that better help employees spend, save, borrow, and plan. Doing so can improve an employers’ bottom line, engender employee loyalty and satisfaction, and serve as a distinguishing benefit when recruiting new talent.

Kudos Ruchi Batra & Sharvi Chaudhary for taking the lead. Thank you for the opportunity.

#AspireWoman #InternationalWomensDay #FemaleFinancialAwareness

Why is personal finance more important for women?

Key money lessons for Rahul Dravid

As returns go up, the risk goes up too—a basic investing rule that many investors forget. Promises of very high returns should raise red flags in any investor’s mind

Who doesn’t want to earn higher returns? Every rational person would want the highest possible returns. But every rational person must also realise that high returns come with higher risk. Former Indian cricket captain and now coach of the under-19 Indian cricket team, Rahul Dravid, discovered risk in his high-return portfolio. He recently lodged a complaint against Vikram Investment Company for cheating him of Rs4 crore. According to reports, the company had promised him a 40% return on investment. The company, Vikram Investments, has allegedly lured high-net worth investors with offers of 40-50% annual returns on their principal.

Dravid should have paused at this number itself. A 40-50%-guaranteed return is a red flag. No wealth management company or financial planner can assure such a return. “Usually, it’s not possible to get such a return. The thumb rule should be: as your returns go up, no matter who is saying what, the risk has to go up,” said Abhay Aima, group head-equities, private banking, third-party products, NRI and international consumer business, HDFC Bank Ltd.

Entrapment

Why then do sane and rational people fall into this trap? Financial planners and wealth managers attribute it to three deadly sins of money—gullibility, ignorance, and greed. Experts say that most people are extremely gullible. “Sometimes, the person selling is a good salesperson. It could also be because you blindly trusted someone without checking details and verifying authenticity. This usually happens when you have heard of a product from someone who has had a good experience,” said Aima. He explained how in a ponzi scheme an initial set of people make high returns, and that is the basis of authenticity. “As the circle widens, it (the product) fails,” said Aima.

Ignorance and lack of interest in understanding the product or company can also lead to a money trap. “Most people don’t ask how those returns are generated? You should never go by past data if it is short term. In the initial phase, there would be people who would have received outcome in line with what has been promised. Look at rolling data. This means that if there a track record, then don’t just look at 1-2-year returns. See if the product has consistently performed,”said Vishal Dhawan, a Mumbai-based financial planner.

Anti-fraud cheat sheet

The basic question to ask is: if your capital can double every two-and-a-half years, why would your agent or wealth manager not invest her own money here? Why is she helping you?

Another way to validate information is to see the top returns that the best investors have delivered. “One takes Warren Buffett as the best example. His performance has been in the 20%-per-year range. So, what’s so special about this strategy that it gives twice of what Warren Buffett has delivered?” said Dhawan.

If you are wondering how to evaluate based on returns, here is a thumb rule. “Understand what the actual return is. How much alpha can be generated in reasonable circumstances without needing corrective measures? If it is debt, look at a return of 8-9%; if it is equity, take a benchmark of inflation plus GDP. Be careful of anything that returns beyond that,” said Surya Bhatia, a New Delhi-based financial planner.

Dravid Portfolio

Had Dravid been a mutual fund investor, what would his portfolio be like today? An average large-cap fund would have 1-year returns of 11.87%, 3-year returns of 7.31%, and 14.47% for 5 years. See table for what his money would be worth at these rates. Sure, these are not 40% returns, but there is the assurance of nobody running away with his money. It’s good to look for avenues to invest and grow your wealth. But tread cautiously and don’t get trapped into products that are too good to be true.

Credit: Livemint.com

 

How to save for your vacations

vacations-thinkstock

If you see their passports, Chandini Bakshi and her husband Tarang Vasisth come across as typical millennials who earn well and spend fast. In the past 18 months, the Delhi-based couple have taken five vacations, including a five-day sojourn in Bali and a 10-day holiday in Europe.

But unlike many other millennials, Bakshi and Vasisth don’t swipe plastic or rack up loans to fund their getaways. Instead, they put aside Rs 12,000-15,000 every month into a liquid fund for their travel. “We see our vacations as short-term goals and start planning for them well ahead of time,” says Bakshi.

The couple represents a small but growing section of millennials who save and spend rather than accumulate debt to fund their desires. For many millennials, traveling is more important than other financial goals such as buying a car, saving for a house or even investing for retirement. Take Delhi-based Shikha Upadhyay. She has created a separate travel fund for her holidaying and puts Rs 10,000 in it every month. “This systematic saving has enabled me to fund my holidays without depleting my regular savings,” she says.

Building a separate fund for travel can be beneficial in several ways. Last October, Vasisth received an alert from a travel portal about an ongoing sale of travel packages. It was a good opportunity to book a trip to Udaipur for their wedding anniversary in December. Since they had saved enough in the travel fund, he sealed a deal without having to use plastic or dip into their savings. With an adequate pool of money at your disposal, you can clinch a good deal, instead of racking up debt or making a costlier last minute booking.

Where to save
Where should you put the money when saving for your travel plans? Leaving the money in your savings account is an option because it gives you instant access. But this also means the money might get used for other expenses. You need to put it away where it is out of sight, yet accessible at short notice. Since the goal is very short-term (usually 6-12 months), the returns don’t really matter. To build up their travel fund, Bakshi put away Rs 3 lakh in a fixed deposit three months ago. The interest is a piffling 6.25% and tax will reduce it further. The objective is not to earn high returns but to keep the money aside for a specific purpose.

You can also consider liquid funds, short-term debt funds and even a recurring deposit in your bank. “Ultra short-term debt funds are ideal since there is no exit load. Also, the investments are subject to low volatility, making it suitable for short-term needs,”

Budgeting for travel
Budgeting for travel is not as daunting as it sounds. Cutting back on avoidable expenses to facilitate regular savings and doing a bit of groundwork to capitalise on the plethora of deals on offer can help you tick destinations off your bucket list without burning a hole in your wallet.

Upadhyay believes in budget travel and takes off on short trips without much forethought. But for longer trips, she starts planning 3-4 months in advance. This lets her get money-saving deals. “I managed to snag a Delhi to Bangkok round trip for Rs 15,000 three months before my Thailand trip. The flight fares later soared to around Rs 30,000,” she says.

Another money-saving strategy is to do some research on hotel bookings. Conveyance and hotel bookings account for the largest chunk of travel budgets. So it pays to be on the lookout well before your travel date, to seize the best deals.

Bakshi and Vasisth learned this the hard way. They ended up overspending on their Bali trip in December 2016, due to lack of planning. “Bali was a learning experience and thereafter we decided to create a travel fund we can use for advance bookings,” Bakshi says. She adds that they have cut down on some discretionary spending to save more for their travel. “We are planning a holiday in Dubai this year. Next year, it may be Istanbul,” she says.

Credit: Economic Times

Best Gift For Your Child Is A Life Cover

Best Gift for Your Child is a Life CoverMy daughter was about to turn one and we, my husband and I, were really excited. We had planned a big birthday party and were looking forward to celebrating the day with a large number of our friends and family.

As the countdown to the big day started I realized I had forgotten the most important thing “The Birthday Gift!” I panicked and sought advice from my husband and I asked, “What should we gift that she will cherish all her life?” As always he was clueless about anything to do with our daughter – as per him, he had made the most important contribution in having her and rest was now up to me till she turns five.

While I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, why bother for his help, if I can plan and organise the entire birthday party all by myself I can also think of an appropriate gift. So off I went to my mother in law complaining how her son was not pitching in at all.

Well, as always she had sound advice. “Party and fanfare aside the child won’t even notice or understand these, give her something that you as a parent are fundamentally supposed to ensure.”

“What is that?” I asked.

Very wisely she said, “Gift her security and protection. Have you bought life insurance for yourself?”

“No”, and off I want again to look for husband dear. “We need to buy life insurance to protect our precious”.

“Yes, I already have” he smirked.

“Which?” I asked.

“Term Cover”, he said with a smug smile.

I heaved a sigh of relief, he had been smart.

A pure term life cover is the most efficient life insurance protection plan. It offers maximum life cover at a low premium.

Read More at Momspresso

I Am a Momprenuer, I Don’t Have a Regular Income!

I Am a Momprenuer, I Don’t Have a Regular Income!

Guests to my home have a knack of arriving without prior notice. It looks as though the whole mobile revolution has just escaped my extended family. They love to surprise us with their unplanned visits. Earlier I would get very unsettled with these unannounced visits and the follow up high teas and dinners. No longer!

The last few years have seen a surge of mompreneurs in our city, look around and every housing society has home cooks, bakers, event planners etc. you name it and you have it. So now whenever someone visits I quietly order a meal from the home cooks and pass it off as mine!  I must mention there are many like me who are regular patrons and are a reason for the success of the mompreneurs. They enjoy a large and loyal clientele and have established a good business from their homes!

A few weeks ago I got curious and wanted to understand what do they do with all the money that they are earning.  I called a few of my mompreneurs friends to do a survey of sorts and the answer surprisingly was “Nothing”! Money just stays in a savings account and used to fund a few expenses around the house. The good part was most wanted to invest in mutual funds but was apprehensive to commit to a SIP (systematic investment plan) as their income is irregular.

Read More at GurgaonMoms

TOP 9 MUTUAL FUNDS MYTHS | IDENTIFIED AND BUSTED FOR INVESTORS

When it comes to investment products, there is no doubt that Mutual Funds are one of the greatest as well as simplest tools for investments. But there are various mutual funds myths which occupy a great space in any investor’s mind unless they are not clear, the wealth creation becomes difficult.

Whatever be the nature of goods or products, there are always some myths surrounding the same. Such myths are because of lack of awareness or misinterpretation related to the products especially financial products.

In our country the myths related to investments products are very high, as a Financial Advisor, I meet numerous people and to be frank, very few people have the basic awareness about financial products and often confuses one product with another. People are interested to invest but they have many misconceptions or say mutual funds myths, which makes them hesitant to invest.

Myths hamper the understanding process of the investors which results in below average investing experience. The journey of an investor to create wealth over a period of time and manage money well gets disturbed or may not even begin because of such myths. So let’s bust myths related to Mutual Funds.

Top 9 Mutual Funds Myths

Myth 1 – Mutual funds are only for experts

Fact – Mutual Funds are especially for the common or retail investors who do not have time and expertise to go through the nitty gritty of finance.

Mutual funds are managed by experienced fund managers and their team of research analysts who carefully analyze the investment options available.

Myth 2 – Mutual funds are only for long-term

Fact – You can invest in Mutual Funds for few days to even decades. There are various categories of funds which suits the needs and time horizon of investors. There are various categories of Mutual Funds as per time and need –

Equity Mutual Funds – Long-term (beyond 5 years)

Debt Mutual funds – For few months to few months

Liquid Funds – for few days to few months

Myth – 3 Mutual Funds invest only in Stock Market

Fact – Mutual Funds have different categories. Only Equity Mutual Funds invest in stock market, Debt Funds invest in various Fixed Income Instruments like Government & Corporate Bonds, Treasury Bills, Commercial Papers, and Certificates of Deposits etc.

Various Fixed Income Instruments are not available for retail investors because of big minimum investment amount but you can invest easily in these through Mutual Funds.

Myth – 4 Mutual Funds need large investment amount to start

Fact – You can start investing in Mutual Funds with just Rs. 500. This limit varies with various schemes but mostly schemes allow you to start investing with Rs. 500, Rs. 1,000 or Rs. 5,000 at max.

Myth – 5 You need to have De-mat account for Mutual Funds

Fact – It is completely up to the investor’s choice. Even if you have De-mat account it is not compulsory to invest in them. You can invest easily without the De-mat account too.

Myth – 6 Mutual Funds are very complex and difficult to understand

Fact – Mutual Funds are the easiest investment option for any type of investor. You can consult professionals to understand more about Mutual Funds. A professional will add great value to your investing experience.

Myth – 7 Mutual Funds Investments requires very hectic and lengthy process

Fact – You can invest in Mutual Funds through few clicks or taps on your mobile/laptop. You can also invest through paper form with a single signature if you are not comfortable online or not so tech savvy. Simplest ways of OFFLINE/ONLINE method are available for investor’s ease.

Myth – 8 Mutual Funds can run away with investments

Fact – Mutual Funds are very well regulated by Government body SEBI whose sole objective is the protection of investors interest. You are always in control of your investment and there is full transparency as far as your investments are concerned.

Myth – 9 Money gets locked in Mutual Funds

Fact – Only Mutual Funds allow you to enter & exit anytime. Your money is with you and in your hands always. Only Tax Saving Funds have lock-in of 3 years. You can take out your investment in full or in parts, whenever you feel like. However, you should invest according to your need and goal. For any other requirement maintain an Emergency Fund.

Conclusion

The sole objective is to bust the mutual funds myths which have always resisted various investors to invest in Mutual Funds. It is time for investors to come out and explore the opportunities they have in creating wealth for themselves and fulfill their various financial goals.

In order to understand more about Mutual Funds and how investments work, you should always consult a Professional Financial Advisor, as they can assist you can in taking informed investment decision as per your needs and goals.

Happy Investing!!!

 

Babies Are All About Planning!

Motherhood is physically and emotionally overwhelming.My daughter was born much earlier than the due date. The most important event in my life was most unplanned! I was totally unprepared for the roller-coaster ride that followed. In the initial few months, I kept thinking that if I had some clarity I would have been better prepared. After 4 years I have wizened up. I know nothing can emotionally and physically prepare you for motherhood. It is a task which is learnt on the job itself.

But one thing one can definitely be prepared for is the financial aspect of having a baby. So if you are planning to start a family or already expecting one here are my two bits of my learning

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