All set to welcome 2017? This time make a firm resolution to leave 2017 in a richer and a better-off way! Read these 3 points to change your life!

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I make many New Year resolutions every year and quit most of them in January itself. But I don’t regret it because when I realize even the ones that I have stuck to have changed my life beyond imagination.

One such promise I made myself 3 years back was to give away and invest part of my income every month. I started investing Rs 7000 a month. When I look back I think that it has been one of the best decisions I ever made in these 3 years. It has given me a return of little short of 22% annually.

From my experience I realized that:

  1. Your expenditure may give you instant happiness, but saving and investing will help you in your every financial troubles and needs in the future. (Right from a cash flow trouble to enhancing your lifestyle in the future). It’s like a parachute for you so you can jump with craziness!
  2. Saving is a discipline and once you get into the habit, it will work for you. The clothes you impulsively buy every month will stop entertaining you in a few days or months, but your investments will ensure that buying things that make you happy always increases and doesn’t end.
  3. Investing your money gives an entrepreneurial spirit. Here I am putting my capital to work for me. I can imagine that whatever small amount I am investing goes into a few businesses.
  4. And last and most important, it makes me richer every single day. I don’t think I love my capital as much as I love the money that is earned from that capital.

Giving money give us a real satisfaction but investing and watching your money grow is more than satisfying. It is a great feeling to put your money to work. I think that is a feeling every investor in this world chases!

Now even if I continue investing those Rs 7000 every month for the next 22 years and I get an average annual return of 15%, do you know how much I would have at the end of that? Rs 2.3 Crores! Yes the elders said it right. Drop by drop make an ocean!

When it comes to New Year resolutions, making one is easy but commitment is difficult. So it’s also important to set achievable goals. Start with small. Having said that, here are a few other goals you could set to gift yourself a better financial future:

  1. Start an emergency fund: A good start could be a fund that amounts to 3 months of your income. You never know when a rainy day comes and you need some money.
  2. Invest in your retirement: The Rs 7000 that I am investing. It’s never too early to start and as a matter of face, the early the better.
  3. Know your investments: How many times we invest money in what we really don’t know about. Putting money in insurance products when it’s not your need or time. Every human being is different and has different circumstances. Know your needs and know your investments to get the best outcome.

So when you enter 2017, enter with a spirit of getting wealthier, putting you money to work for your future financial goals and with a sense of gratification it provides.

Saving only isn’t enough. We need to put that savings into smart investments to get the desired outcome. But for now enjoy the last weekend of 2016 and get back here again to know to learn about intelligent investing.

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Role of a Financial Adviser and why it shouldn’t be misunderstood with pushing financial products

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In August’ 2012, I had a chance to visit couple of financial planners in the US. I was quite amazed to see that majority of people use the services of a financial adviser, whether a person or an automated service. Whereas, in India, I have often seen people managing their own investments. And more often than not, people make so many mistakes as to not even beat inflation on their investments. I think I cannot compare US with India because the social structures are different. In India, family structure is strong. This adds a bit of complexity and needs to be taken into account when making a financial plan. This makes it even more inevitable to start early and let your personal finance handled by a professional.

Coming to advisory in India, consulting and advice is only limited to one’s health. When it comes to ones finances, everyone thinks that either they can manage it on their own or through free advice from friends and family. And I do not blame the people’s mindset; rather the industry has taken shape that way. Financial planners and advisers have kept on pushing products that were not needed just for the sake of commissions and never thought about fiduciary duties after selling the products. So there seems to be a huge gap in trust and stability when it comes to managing people’s finances.  And amidst that the true value of a professional financial adviser or an investment manager is lost.

To avoid mis-selling or to avoid paying money for financial advice, we invest in what our friends or relatives have invested or we take advice from our uncle or father. When it comes to financial planning and investing, we fail to understand that every individual is different, their needs are different, and their cash flow requirements are different. Your goals are unique and it is extremely important to find the right investment for your needs, a portfolio especially for you. So what you need is a professional unbiased investment manager and what an investment manager need is to establish trust, stability and transparency.

Let’s clear some of the many things that a financial adviser does contrary to what majority of us believes:

  1. Understand your needs and financial goals and help chart long term objectives
  2. Understand your risks and help you develop realistic expectations by educating you about risks and rewards of all investments
  3. Match your goals and aspirations with appropriate financial products depending on your economic profile and financial behavior
  4. Continually monitor your portfolio and help you interpret performance
  5. Regular reviews to make changes in the asset allocation depending on behavioral or situational shifts and to ensure that your strategy continues to provide results

When taking a professional approach to investing, you put a professional’s training, knowledge, expertise and resources to work for you. Few of the benefits of an investment manager (automated or human):

  1. Professional care and advice to bolster your investment results
  2. Best way to use your assets and allocate them optimally. A time regression study over a period of more than 10 years concluded that asset allocation explains more than 90% of variation in a portfolio’s quarterly returns.
  3. An experienced and objective system that hold back your many behavioral biases
  4. Getting important investment news and customized financial awareness correspondences
  5. Helps you with analysis paralysis when it comes to your finances and helps you become decisive

With changing lifestyle and increasing life expectancy, even a mere 1% more of average annual return could do wonder to your wealth and saving time and resources to do what you love peacefully is like icing on the cake!