These are not enough but this is a good beginning, says P V Subramanyam.
Wealth creation is a much bigger and broader goal than say 'children's education funding' or 'retirement planning' -- those are sub goals, of course. So every big goal is met by taking a lot of small steps. Here are some of those steps. Not saying these are enough, but this is a good beginning.
1. Look for a good fund manager: The importance of a good fund manager is rarely brought out by the financial press. There is just too much emphasis on costs. HDFC ULIP (when I bought it) had the lowest asset management company (AMC) charges -- of just 0.8 per cent -- however the benefit of low charges was lost by poor fund management skills.
I pay a much higher brokerage than you do (and there are at least three brokerage houses willing to do it free for me). Frankly, as an investor, I could not and need not care about the brokerage rates at all. The quality of advice that I get makes it worth while.
2. Having understood point number 1, make sure that among the good fund managers (I mean the AMC, not the individual) make sure that the costs are reasonable. Too much should not be lost in the premium of good fund management!
3. Start today: This has been said so many times, that it does not need any explanation. Just pick up the phone and call, or go online and invest. NOW.
4. Automate your investing: SIP -- again enough has been said. Do not get distracted by value SIP and variable SIP... and all such concepts. You do not need to tweak it. Pick a fund, pick a date, pick an amount -- and DO it, not today, NOW. This article can wait; your investment cannot.
5. Find areas in your expenditure that can be cut so that you can increase the SIP amount -- even if you can improve by Rs 300 per month, do it. Every drop counts.
6. HDFC and ICICI Mutual Fund allows you to do a rising SIP -- so you could charge with Rs 5000 a month and sign up to increase it by Rs 500 every year. Just see how comfortable it would be to increase. If you are confident, increase by Rs 1000 a year -- your comfort level is necessary.
7. Start doing all this with a friend and open an online account that will help you track your portfolio. Just start tracking your expenses and your wealth accumulation. NOW.
8. See if you have some surplus from time to time. If the answer is yes, your SIP amount needs to be bumped up.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com