When we discuss parents with most customers, they are prompt to let us know that their parents are sorted and are independent. Many believe that the situation will remain the same, and at worst one would need to increase the financial support to ensure the parents are not cutting corners and are comfortable.
What we have noticed over the years is something different. Many of them have lived life independently despite having a healthy and happy relationship with their parents. They do not envisage the need to become the primary caregivers to ageing, and many a times, sick parents. Not only can this throw your retirement cash flows haywire if not adequately planned for, it can also impact your planned lifestyle in retirement.
Have you ever wondered, when you are planning for your future, why certain assets evoke so much loyalty and attachment? Come to think of it, you may have invested in it dispassionately in pursuit of good returns but somewhere along the way it has acquired a persona of its own.
Real estate and gold are two such assets which have a huge emotional connect. Gold is understandable, as in our culture, if you are selling physical gold, people assume that you have hit really hard times and it is never easy to part with physical gold. Other forms of gold like Gold ETFs etc. luckily are easier to deal with.
But what about real estate? I cannot think of too many people putting their life savings into a financial asset and staying the course despite hiccups and abysmal returns. Why then is real estate treated differently?
Read our latest article, published on Moneycontrol
The last few months have seen market volatility at never-seen-before levels. We saw the sharpest drop ever, with nearly a 30-35% drop in key indices less than a month. Yet, before one could even say “bear”, the fastest-ever recovery also followed in the next 3 months, with most indices recovering smartly from their March bottoms, to be close to their pre-COVID highs.
For customers, emotional reactions are completely understandable. On one hand, there is loss-aversion at work, and on the other, there is the fear of missing out, or FOMO.
So, coming back to the question, how does one handle such situations? Is there a way to navigate markets, especially when they go through such roller-coaster rides?
Read our latest article, published on Moneycontrol, to help you wade through this emotional jungle and take the right decisions.
Have you ever had conflicting emotions regarding the same issue? It seems to happen quite often to me when I look at the ways in which senior citizens handle their money. At times I feel, I wish I could be as well planned and involved with my own finances. At other times I roll my eyes and make myself a promise never to end up like them when I grow older. I guess its only natural that there are somethings which you envy and some which you absolutely detest and don’t want to emulate ever.
This my attempt to list down 3 things I would love to work on with the older generation as an inspiration and 3 things I would want to do differently than them for sure.
Pl read our latest article, published on Moneycontrol
For most people, the last few months has been a never-before experience. Whether it is about finding out how secure is your financial position in this crisis, or about understanding what is really important for you versus isn’t, or about looking for new opportunities in an otherwise generally hopeless time, it has been a period of discovery.
For me, this period has reiterated a few money lessons which I have learnt and personally tried to follow over the last few years. If anything, this crisis has confirmed to me that the path towards financial, in fact, overall well-being lies along successfully practicing these lessons.
Read about them in our latest article, published on Moneycontrol.
I have interacted with many women who at some point in their career want to stop and take stock of where they are headed. These are not decisions that people take overnight, they are thoughts which stay seeded in your mind and take lot of time to grow enough to make you take action. The reasons for the same may be varied, and so will the journey, but there is always merit in reading how someone else’s journey unfolded. It may make your ride a little smoother and disappointments lesser.
A few years back I went through a similar dilemma. Having done something similar a few years back, I think that if my journey could help some get solace or pave the way for realistic expectations, this is a story which is worth telling. On hindsight, these are my learnings.
Please read our latest article, published on Moneycontrol.
A few months back, I met a friend of mine who was down from the US on a holiday. This is someone who had done quite well for himself over the last nearly 20 years in the US, and has built a fairly large investment portfolio. As part of it, he has also successfully built a real estate portfolio over the years in the US. Discussions veered towards that, and he said something that made me sit up.
His words were “I love Leverage”.
The use of the word “Leverage” instead of “Debt” somehow made all the difference for me to look at it in a new light. Yes, loans are bad, and one should be debt-free in one’s pursuit of financial well-being. That said, I have since also realized that Debt is not as one-dimensional as one thinks it is.
Coming back to the original question, let’s look at Debt differently and build some simple rules around it, which can be generally followed, towards one’s financial well-being.
Read our latest article below, published on Moneycontrol.
Financial planning has different connotations to different people. To us who have been interacting and partnering with people in their pursuit of financial well-being, it means living a fulfilling now while planning to sustain the same lifestyle throughout your life.
In our numerous interactions with people, we have noticed many kinds. A few are balanced in their need to live a good life today as well as save for the future. Some are very involved in the now, and live an indulgent life-style with no worries of tomorrow. While some are constantly worrying about the future, so much so that they compromise on even little things which bring them great joy. We are going to discuss this last category since we have noticed some common traits which distinguish them and strongly believe a different approach can significantly change their lives.
Read on more in our latest article below, published on Moneycontrol.
Over the last 3 months, for many, salaries have been truncated, jobs have been lost and the health and lives of near and dear ones have been threatened. And for most, this is a first-time experience.
In support, the salaried middle-income person has also been given some breaks, importantly, an initially three, now extended to six months “moratorium” on their loans through banks/NBFCs. These include all kinds of loans, including credit card debt.
The terms of the moratorium are simple – it only defers your EMI, doesn’t waive it. There is no interest waiver. Non-payment (ie. deferral) does not impact your credit score.
Hence, it is advisable to pay your EMIs, and not take the moratorium, unless there are dire circumstances, because of which you are unable to pay. And if you do, pay back the deferred EMIs as soon as possible, to minimize the long-term impact.
But why so? The reason is simple. Taking a 6-month moratorium on a home loan that has 15 years left adds another 18 EMIs! And this is because of the effect of compounding over long periods of time.
Our latest article, published on Moneycontrol, explains exactly why. Click on the below link to read on.
In the last couple of years, we have featured a few people in our Finwise Person series on International Women’s Day, giving you a sneak-peek into their approach to money. As part of our financial planning practice and even otherwise, we have had deep conversations with quite a few people on how they manage their finances. What stands out from our experiences is two things.
One, while many have managed to put themselves in line for a financially-secure future, only a few were necessarily financially aware or savvy from the word go. Most of them learnt along the way, from parents, peers or other personal experiences, to craft a path towards a financially-secure future for themselves.
Second, while many have got on this path, by design or by default, most are still playing catch-up, and only some have managed to get ahead in the journey towards financial security. Through adequate and diligent planning, they have secured their futures, outsourced their risks, and made provisions for estate planning too.
Our featured Finwise People have generally managed to clear both the above filters – gaining awareness as well as taking necessary actions to secure their futures. It is also interesting to understand how they traversed this journey, and our previous story on Mrs M did just that.
We are today featuring a detailed sketch on another Finwise person, and it is only a coincidence that this is also a woman, it could also be a Finwise man or a family, hopefully soon. This time we feature Uma Vinay Gathani, an entrepreneur, who is 58 years old. She is financially savvy and has managed to secure her future as well as generously support her kith and kin who have not been as fortunate or well planned.
If you are thinking many people would tick these boxes, think again. While the number of people who do so are few, they are significant, and we would love to cover all of them. We understand though that not everyone is comfortable discussing their journey with unknown people, and we are very grateful to Mrs M and Uma who agreed to share their personal stories. The purpose of sharing these journeys is to encourage and motivate more people to take active interest in their finances and embark on their journey towards financial fulfilment.
We go back to the beginning to understand what Uma’s earliest experiences were. We have noticed this could have a significant influence in the way we deal with money in our lives. She is the youngest among 5 daughters and was born and brought up in a well-to-do family. Her father was money wise and took it upon himself to provide financial security for all his daughters.
When she was young, she gathered that while her father did reasonably well for himself, he had many obligations and too many people to think of and hence was not very good with investing his money and prioritizing his own future needs. As a child she remembers her house was always filled with guests, some close relatives and some acquaintances. Her father was generous and took it upon himself to help people as much as he could and her mother was a warm, kind, and hospitable person making every visitor feel totally at home. She does not remember even one instance where her parents expressed any regret for not having any male child or dissuaded either her or her sisters from doing anything due to their gender.
When she was all of 17, she was pursuing her graduation and her college timings left her with a lot of free time. When an opportunity came her way to take up a job, from 11 to 5 (she was done with college by 10 am), her parents gave her their blessing and were happy that she was occupied doing something productive. Her first job meant she had a salary and she could do exactly as she pleased with her money. She spent most of her money on eating outside and some small indulgences on top of it. Her mother encouraged her to travel comfortably and even paid for first class train tickets. The job was never about income for her or her parents.
Her earliest experience with savings was a local reputed chit fund, enrolled by her father in her name, and when she eventually completed her graduation and took up a job which paid better, she decided to start contributing towards the same. She did not have any pressing need to start saving, her only objective was to fend for herself and not become another responsibility for her father who already had plenty of people to worry about. While she started small, she was consistent with her savings right from when she started earning.
She married into a Gujarati family young and was fortunate to have supportive in-laws who encouraged her to continue to pursue her career after her marriage. When she had a daughter, she was able to continue her career without a break, thanks largely to her mother and mother-in-law who supported her by taking care of her daughter in her absence. With new responsibilities, she started an RD and invested in FDs whenever she had a surplus, while she continued with her chit fund.
Her first foray into building assets was buying a house, which came naturally to her as she had seen her father attach a lot of importance to real estate as an asset. She was clear in pointing out that she did not have any plan, and never thought of retirement or savings. She believed in enjoying her now, and in her early days would often deplete her entire financial savings to splurge on a vacation or something which took her fancy. She also said that earlier she had no concept of emergency fund or saving up for daughter etc. When quizzed if she would do things differently were she given a chance to live her life again she said and instantaneous, emphatic “No”, her retort was “we made some beautiful memories and if I were to do it all over again, I would do the same”. That said, she strongly feels that savings should begin early, and one should be consistent to be able to enjoy one’s sunset years with-out any stress.
Her only form of savings was real estate since she purchased her parental home from her mother and since she was busy paying it off, she did not have much to invest in any other asset. When she realized she had to move beyond real estate, she decided to diversify by investing in stocks. Unlike now, nothing was digital, and she had to depend on a broker, she realised that she would have to outsource this to someone else since she did not have the knowledge, the time or inclination to manage investing on her own.
Some of her initial experiences were bad and she lost a large sum, when she trusted someone to handle her stock portfolio, and leave aside appreciation, she lost even the entire capital invested. That is when she decided to stick to simpler products which she understood. She started out with mutual funds by making a small beginning around 10 years back. She kept investing consistently and was able to diversify her portfolio.
While she is not a great believer in having a plan and sticking to it, she has a nose to sniff out risks and stays out of complicated products. She is able to sleep sound at night knowing that she is doing her best to ensure her lifestyle is not compromised post retirement. When asked why she was generous in helping others, she said it is the dual effect of genetics inherited from her father and a husband who believed that money is only a means not an end.
When we look back at her journey what strikes me is even though she may not have had a written-down plan which she followed meticulously, she was mindful of the fact that there will be a tomorrow where she may not be able to generate an income, and she was diligent in stashing away something for the future.
Her choice of assets have evolved with time, and it is smart to start with something you are familiar with and then look out for other options. She quickly realised that having all eggs in one basket, in this case real estate, was not desirable and hence diversified into financial assets.
Importantly, most people would be deterred by an initial setback, but she was able to look it in the eye and continue on her financial savings and wealth-building journey, by ensuring that now she relied on someone dependable but continuing with the process of investing.
She has also been prudent to ensure her risks were outsourced and she had sufficient insurance to cover any contingency. And despite having an only child with clear succession, she has embarked upon making a will and tying all the loose ends together.
All in all, this insight into the life of someone who has managed to take active interest in her financial wellbeing, recognise her limitations, persevere even when she was let down and make best use of the resources available to her, makes for fascinating reading, as well as inspiration for others who are traversing the same path, towards financial security and well-being.
And this can also be comforting for someone who has not yet given a serious thought to getting his or her financial life sorted. Because, it is never too late, and a few years of consistent savings and focus can make a world of difference.
Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.
To receive our articles through email, pl subscribe here.
For advice, please reach us at email@example.com or +91 9870702277/9820818007.