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Home > Business > Special


Tips to make best use of your money

Lovaii Navlakhi, OutlookMoney | August 04, 2006

We are all unique - there's no argument there. But when it comes to managing money, it's amazing how we all act alike. That's why we need financial planning - to help us manage money in a way that meets our unique needs. The common belief is that financial planning is only for the wealthy; but actually it's more useful for those wanting to get wealthy.

Some feel good about having "adequate" funds in bank accounts (till they realise what they have lost by way of taxation and inflation), while others invest in multiple properties for want of knowledge about other options.

A financial plan helps address your life's goals while balancing your physical and financial assets

Choose a planner. A financial plan attempts to address your lifetime goals while ensuring that you maintain a balance between physical (land, property, gold, art) and financial assets, before going through the traditional asset allocation model of debt-equity. Now, how will you find a planner who is trustworthy and competent?

Check your planner's qualifications and track record. Try to find a certified financial planner - there are a few of them in India now. Understand the philosophy of the planner (and his organisation) so that there is continuity in your relationship even if he switches organisations. Is the planner/organisation driven by a passion for doing what's right for you? Are they in it for the long haul?

Live your passion. I first met B.D. Vijaya in 2003, when he was a technology leader at the Jack Welch Centre of GE Global Research in Bangalore. He had been working for 28 years, and like every other anxious investor, wanted a safe investment with decent returns.

I spent time helping him articulate his goals, and realised that he was consumed by a passion to create a nature resort in his native district of Coorg. He arduously worked his finances over the next 18 months, till he was financially stable. At 50-plus, he has worked tirelessly to make his dream a reality and the resort is set for a 2006 launch.

Now look at the average 20-something BPO employee today. His objective is to retire at 40 and enjoy the good life. Theoretically, that means a working life of less than 20 years to create a nest egg for at least the next 40 years.

Cut down expenses. Earning more and/or making your earnings earn more is not enough. Enough millionaires have turned pauper thanks to profligacy. Yesterday's generation propagated a no-loan policy; today's generation has thrown caution to the winds. Leveraging, or how to spend what I don't have yet, is the name of the game.

Loans beckon - and we are only too willing to respond. If only we had educated more individuals to invest 75 per cent of their regular monthly savings into systematic investment plans, there would be fewer unplanned big-ticket purchases, and a lot more money in the bank.

Protect your wealth. Write a will to ensure that the wealth you intend to leave for the next generation goes into the right hands. Make sure that all your bank and demat accounts, mutual funds and bonds are in joint names and have nominees that are registered.

Insurance is a must - both life and medical. Add riders for loss of income due to critical illness. A family of five without medical insurance suffered severe cash flow problems when their 19-year old son was hospitalised after an accident on the sports field. A 45-year old CEO delayed his medical examination after submitting an insurance proposal because of hectic travel schedule. He was set back Rs 600,000 for a by-pass surgery that could have been covered by the critical illness rider.

I can go on and on, but I wouldn't want to hold you back from getting your financial plan in place. Get going to get wealthy today.

The author is MD and Chief Financial Planner, International Money Matters.

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