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Posts Tagged ‘#Goals’

vector infographic car road timeline with pointers

 

As the media and dailies flash all the news and noise around the downgrade of debt securities of some of the IL&FS group companies and the ‘so called blood bath’ on the dalal street triggered by the sale of certain DHFL bonds, the average investor is obviously concerned about their investments. Spooked by these recent events and the volatility of both equity and debt markets investors are now wondering whether to continue their SIPs in mutual funds, buy stocks or just exit and hold cash? So what should you do?

There is no one size fits all solution to this problem. The answer lies in your long and short term objectives and whether you have a detailed drawn out financial plan. Situations like these (market volatility and uncertainty) truly highlight the need of a good weapon – your financial plan- your investment road map. When investors invest without a goal and financial plan in sight they do not know how much to invest, how long they should continue their investments and how close they are to their goals; thus how much volatility their portfolio can withstand.

 

Should you turn conservative?

Let’s assume that you have been been saving for the last 8 years for your child’s higher education and you have about 3 years left until you need the money. Now irrespective of whether the market is volatile or not, it is imperative that you re-balance your portfolio by moving your money in to conservative debt investments. This strategy should anyways have been a part of the financial plan to protect the corpus from short term market fluctuations and should be used only when you start approaching your goal.

If applied sooner than needed then you may run into the risk of falling short of the target amount. Also remember, getting closer to your goal is not the time to get speculative and increase your aggressive equity exposure.

 

How to deal with the amygdala hijack (the emotions and the panic)?

Turning conservative in tough market conditions is easy, staying focused on your goals and continuing your investments as you see the market giants come crashing down requires a lot of courage, focus and some science, data and rationale. Investors are believed to be irrational when it comes to dealing with money. When the markets are rallying investors want to be a part of it and they willingly invest. However as soon as they experience turbulence they drop their investments like hot potatoes in fact hurting their investments and networth. Market fluctuations affects a part of your brain called amygdala which induces fear. The fear leads to panic and the sell off frenzy begins.

At this point you have to go back to your financial plan and remind yourself what your goals are and follow your financial plan to avoid any knee jerk reaction. If your next milestone is 8-10 years away then the current volatility does not need you to act and also your portfolio can withstand this short term fluctuations.

 

How following your financial plan helps?

Staying on track with your financial plan and road map pays off in more than one way. Once you know your milestones and risk appetite through your plan:

  • You avoid taking unnecessary exits thereby saving unnecessary capital gain tax or any exit loads that may be applicable that could further reduce your profits.Money saved is money earned.
  • You stay invested (example SIPs) through a down cycle of the market , which actually helps you get a better value for your money invested. This over the long term can improve your portfolio returns and catapult corpus generation.
  • You may even get opportunities to start newer investments in good quality companies basis your risk profile and time horizon

An example to detail this : Sep 2008 is a period set in time; this is when the infamous Lehman brother crisis shook the global financial markets and sent the indices in India and across the world in a massive tailspin. It was a difficult time for investors, however the ones who persevered and continued their Sips reaped the benefits later.

Lets assume you had a plan and understood the corpus that you needed say in 2018 and started a simple SIP in a mutual fund. The chart below shows the trajectory of such an SIP of Rs 10,000 started in Oct 2008 in 3 different categories of funds.

SIP

SIP amount Total Amount invested in 10 yrs Current Value (Rs.) CAGR
Value Fund 10,000 12 lakhs 34.18 lakhs 18.26%
Multi Cap Fund 10,000 12 lakhs 28.80 lakhs 15.53%
Large Cap Fund 10,000 12 lakhs 28.43 lakhs 15.33%
Nifty 100 10,000 12 lakhs 25.98 lakhs 13.86%

 

Remember, in volatile times, people lose more money by fearing and holding back their investments and possibly denying themselves good opportunities that may present themselves in the form of a market downturn.

Markets will fluctuate and will be volatile, that is their inherent quality. Navigating these carefully is necessary for investors. A sound financial plan and the guidance of an independent and unbiased financial planner would help. In short, you need to stay on track and to follow your financial plan. This financial plan will be your guide and navigator during volatile markets.

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ST_20180909_JACKMA_8_4265863

The Indian story is pretty simple and straight forward, as you grow you are told to study hard to find a good job. When you finally find that good job you work harder day in and day out trying to keep up with work pressure and your expenses. Then comes in Jack Ma announcing that he plans to retire early and says “I would rather die on a beach than in my office”. This one line is enough to reignite the dreams and fantasies to retire early and move to a quaint town away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. If this is your dream then read on to find out how you can retire early.

Rome was not built in a day and Jack Ma didn’t become a billionaire overnight. While you don’t have to wait to become a billionaire to retire early, you will need to save and create a substantial corpus to be able to take the plunge. This would require dedicated regular savings and beware, sacrifices will have to be made. You will have to try and save as much as possible which would mean spending less on your life style expenses, and trying to live a modest life.

  • List down all your goals-Just because you are going to retire early doesn’t mean you wouldn’t want to live a full life and realize you goals which could include travelling, sending kids overseas for higher education, buying your dream home etc. Yes you can achieve these goals and retire early too, but you will need a good plan which will take the cost of funding of these goals into account and adjust it against inflation.
  • Know your expenses-Most people especially the ones who live in a metro don’t know how much they spend on a monthly basis. Knowing your expenses is important for two reasons one it will help you know how big your retirement corpus needs to be and two you might need to cut down some unnecessary expenses to be able to save more. Take your life expectancy into consideration and your expenses till that time to calculate your corpus size.
  • Set the SIP for the 1stweek of the month- For most people the only investments that happen are either a minimum SIP started some time back or whatever is saved at the end of the month. This way you will never be able to retire, forget retiring early. Your savings and investments have to be planned and in line with the future goals that you have. So invest before you pay your bills. This is also what Robert Kiyosaki the author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad” believes is the secret to getting rich.
  • Ensure it’s not a one sided love story– Giving up a good lifestyle and a free hand on spending can take its toll. It can be very frustrating at times, that’s why its very important that your spouse supports this choice a 100% else you might find your self quite often at the receiving end which trust me is neither pleasant nor encouraging. From time to time you might need to remind yourself of your end goal and it should bring you back on track when you start to stray away. I would highly recommend not giving up on things that you love and keep aside some money for some indulgence every now and then if not regularly. Remember Jack Ma will retire at 55, so you will have to give yourself a considerable amount of time to prepare for the big shift.
  • Secure your self and you family-We can not stress enough on the importance of a sufficiently large personal life and health insurance. Its better to take one now while you are still young, this way the premiums will also be lower.

Albeit retiring early and getting away from the rat race and the pressures of the world, spending your days relaxing in a quaint house on the hills or by the side of a brook sounds so inviting, it can get boring and mundane after a while. Having spent so many years crossing one hurdle after the other throughout your life, doing nothing after a while doesn’t feel so enticing; so plan for a small business or some activity that would keep you busy in your free time or else you might find yourself missing and craving what you have left behind.

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Listen up professionals and start-up owners!

Every individual has a passion and a dream. Many wish to break free from their mundane work life to pursue their passions. However, it can be difficult to break the shackles of comfort and security that a well paying job offers and venture into unchartered territory that your dream might lead you to. For those who manage to do so, we tip our hats to you and offer these words of advice.

 

Being a business ourselves, we understand the trials and tribulations that a professional or a start-up founder goes through. The fact is that it can take a while before you break even and start drawing an income. Even the revenues generated can be irregular so how do you manage your personal finances and ensure neither your nor your family’s dreams are compromised.

 

  1. Know your expenses– With a job that gives you a fat paycheck your lifestyle expenses are bound to be high. Now with an irregular salary keeping up with the same expenses will get challenging. You and your family should be prepared to adapt to your new financial situation and trim down your expenses wherever possible. It might make sense to set up a SWP (Systematic Withdrawal Plan) that provides the necessary income and help you stick to a budget without going bust.
  2. Keep those SIPS going through the good and the bad days-As the case is with most businesses, the revenues are not steady. There will be times when the business would have done well and the receivables have also come in and then there would be not such great times. With such irregular and unsteady income how do you manage to keep your family’s dreams alive. The Key is to invest the surplus in a liquid fund which will then systematically transfer the money on a regular basis in an equity fund. This will ensure that you keep saving and investing towards your future goals unhindered by the ups and downs of your business.
  3. Insurance, your protection shield– The job of a life insurance policy is to not only provide for your family in case of an unforeseen event, it is supposed to also cover your outstanding loans and the financial goals such as kid’s higher education, comfortable life for your dependents etc. So ensure you have taken a cover large enough to meet your family’s needs. A simple term plan will do the needful.
  4. Health is wealth– With the medical inflation rising at 10-15% annually, the importance of a medical insurance can not be stressed enough. Health is indeed wealth but you don’t want to lose your wealth due to any illness or accidents. You might also want to consider taking an accidental and critical illness policy as a safe guard measure along with a regular medical cover.
  5. Contingency fund- This fund should be large enough to cover your 6-8 months expenses. Since you do not have a regular income, it is optimum to consider expenses over a longer period. You could even consider including your SIPs amounts for those many months, this will ensure your goals are right on track and are not hampered by the volatility in your income.
  6. Keep personal and business expenses separate– This is the most important advice as it is very easy for the business expenses to spill over and be paid for from your family kitty. This is especially possible if you use the same credit card for both personal and business use. This can further stress your family budget over time.

With an irregular income it becomes essential to plan and channelize your money to ensure your family is well secured financially and their goals and dreams have wings. You might want to consult a financial planner to see how to fund your family goals if you choose to launch your start-up.

 

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IPO 1

The year so far has not been going well for the equity market yet India has seen a flurry of IPOs getting launched. Between January to June 2018, India has recorded as many as 90 IPO launches, the highest globally so far. The latest to join the band wagon was HDFC AMC and coming up next is Lodha.

Does it make sense to invest in the IPOs? And if yes how do you pick one? Read to find out more.

What is an IPO?

For a company to grow and expand it requires huge amounts of capital; an IPO helps them raise much more money than what they can raise through borrowing or private equity investors. An IPO stands for Initial Public Offering; it is the very first time a company offers its stocks to the public. Prior to an IPO the company is considered private with a relatively small number of shareholders. With the IPO the company becomes public and thereafter, it’s shares can be traded through an Exchange.

Why is there a frenzy around IPOs?

Every investor is looking for a diamond in the rough. Through an IPO the investors tries to purchase the shares at an IPO price which may be significantly lower than it’s future market price when it eventually starts trading on an exchange. This is where huge capital gains can be made.

As per data, the HDFC AMC offer was over subscribed 83 times by the end of the 1st day. What this means is that there was a demand of over 83 times for the shares offered by the company. The investors saw huge growth potential in the company and every one wanted to get a piece of it. Unfortunately, getting an allotment of a hot IPO can be very difficult, if not impossible.

Understanding the IPO process

A company that wishes to launch an IPO has to first register itself with Securities and Exchange Board of INDIA (SEBI) and submit its prospectus for approval. Once the SEBI gives a go ahead, the company fixes the price and the number of shares it plans to issue through the IPO.

 There are two types of IPO issues: fixed price and book building. In the former, the price of the share is decided in advance. In the latter the company offers a prices range and the investor needs to bid for the share within that range. The upper limit is known as the cap price while the lower is called floor price.

While applying for shares the investor needs to bid as per the lot size mentioned in the prospectus. Lot size is the minimum number of shares you have to apply for during an IPO.

For eg: If the you wished to buy 50 shares of XYZ company and the lot size is 10 shares/lot then you would have to bid for 5 lots. As per the SEBI rules, one can’t bid in decimals.

It is important to note that even if you have successfully subscribed to an IPO there is no guarantee that you will receive your lot. If the issue is popular and gets oversubscribed then it becomes difficult to issue even 1 lot to each successful applicant. In such cases the lots are allotted based on a computerized lucky draw.


Things you should consider before applying for an IPO

  • Read the Red Herring prospectus. It can be difficult to analyze the performance of a private company since there is no historical data to draw on. So the red herring becomes an important document to gauge the business prospect and operations of the company.
  • Look closely at the management team; they should be capable of steering the company towards growth after it goes public. Look for how they plan to utilize the funds received from the IPO.
  • Compare it’s bid price to that of the competitors in the market. That will give you a fair idea as to if the IPO is over priced or a value purchase.
  • You will need to have a Demat account since the shares can not be received in the physical mode.
  • Some investors like to subscribe to an IPO because some lucky people had bought shares in the IPOs of companies that went on to pay huge dividends or soar in value. But just because investing in IPOs has worked for some in the past doesn’t mean you’ll get the same returns.
  • The target investor for an IPO are the institutional investors and a big part of the shares are reserved for them. This leaves a small percentage of shares available to the retail investor. Your best chance to get an allotment would be to check the “cut-off price” option in your application form. This way if the IPO is oversubscribed, then you have a better chance of getting a subscription.
  • Since you will need to block the money required while bidding, you can use an ASBA (Application Sorted by Blocked Amount)account while applying for shares. The blocked amount stays in the ASBA account and earns interest till the allotment can happen. And only an amount equivalent to the allotment is deducted.

Going back to the main question, should you invest in an IPO? The answer depends on your investment outlook. IPOs are definitely a good investment option if you are looking for value investing or under the radar deals but then so is everyone else.

If the company has been in the business for long, has good performance history and management team then it definitely is worth the shot but then again there is no guarantee that you would be able to get your hands on a lot or two.

If you’re not sure whether investing in an IPO will be a good move for your portfolio, consider talking to a financial advisor. A financial advisor can evaluate your investment decisions in the context of your overall financial situation and goals.

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Last Will

Talking and thinking about your own death is never pleasant. Given an option we all would like to live up to the age of 100, see our children get married, watch our grand children and great grand children grow. In India, there is a belief that if you die after seeing your great grandchild then you get a direct passage to heaven, a sure shot ticket to paradise. In a country like India with such a belief system it was difficult to introduce the concept of Life Insurance. With education and awareness Indians have come to accept the importance of insurance and talking about death is no longer a taboo.

There is, however, one area of life and death where still a lot more education  and acceptance is required and that is Will preparation.


Will the mighty estate planning tool

A Will is a legal document that states your last wishes regarding the distribution of your assets. You can specify in the Will who your beneficiary will be and how each of them would receive a part of your estate.

The beneficiary is a person or persons who could be your legal heir like your wife, children, mother or simply your friend, a loyal employee, a Trust or even a charity.

In the absence of a Will, your assets will get distributed as per the succession law of your religion. Some of the common succession laws in India are the Hindu Succession Law, Shariah law and Indian Succession Act of 1925 for the Christians, Jews and Parsis.

The Hindu succession law governs the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Under this inheritance law the mother, wife and children are Class 1 heirs and have an equal right to a deceased man’s assets who dies intestate (without a Will). The father and siblings are considered Class II heirs and become a beneficiary only in the absence of a Class I heir.

Under the Sharia law of inheritance, a testator can choose to whom he or she can bequeath 1/3rd of their entire estate and the rest is distributed as per the Shariah Law.

In some cases the distribution of assets is governed by the law of the state. In case you are a resident of Goa, then under the Goa Family law all Goans irrespective of their religion, ethnicity or linguistic affiliation are governed by the Portuguese Civil Code.


How do you know if it is the right time to prepare your
Will?

People understand the importance of buying life, medical and home insurance to protect their families but few prepare a Will for the same reasons. A life insurance could provide financial support to your family but in case of a dispute, your loved ones could be left without a roof over their head and claims from other legal heirs could delay the access to your insurance money and bank accounts.

For many, the idea of preparing their Will is triggered by an event. The event could be a premature death of a close family member, friend or a neighbour. In some cases, the person has witnessed the bitter legal battle between heirs. Some triggers come in the form of diagnosis of a terminal illness, accident or poor health. The idea of eminent death in most cases provides the much needed push for individuals to start considering and working towards preparing their own Will.


Where do you start?

A Will has to be well thought through. When prepared on an impulse without much consideration, a Will could have loop holes and some long forgotten assets could be missed out. When writing a Will, the testator should consider all legal aspects and state his wishes clearly to avoid it being contested or considered invalid.

A good way to start would be by listing down all your assets be it physical like your house, land, art collection, jewellery, or intangible assets like your trademark, patents or even goodwill. You could also take the help of your financial planner to ensure all the future financial goals of your loved ones also stay intact through the Will. Since it could take some time to get the Will authenticated, it is prudent to make provisions for your spouse and young children to receive instant access to some money in the interim. Again your financial planner will be able to strategize such a contingency plan.

The creditors of the deceased also have a legal claim over his estate. Ensure your Will has provisions for the same to avoid lengthy probate procedures which could delay the transfer of financial assets to your dependents. Also clear specify the distribution of assets among beneficiaries to avoid future conflicts.

For individuals with minor children, appointing a guardian who will be responsible for your young child through the Letter of Guardianship would be a good idea. As per the law, in the absence of a testamentary guardian (the one appointed by parents legally) the child can become the ward of the state and end up in an orphanage until the court decides on the guardianship. This will protect your children in case both the parents pass away.

Some individuals who could be terminally ill or suffering from a condition that could leave them incapacitated in the future, creating a Springing Power of Attorney could give their family access to financial assets to pay for various expenses. In the absence of a POA, even your spouse might not be able to access of your money.


When to re-look at your old
Will?

These are some young and old individuals who would have already prepared their Will. Just as with your financial plan which you review on a regular basis, you should review your Will from time to time to keep up with the changes in your life. Here are a few scenarios under which you should re-look at your old Will:

  • Major life event like birth or death in a family.
  • If you have bought or sold a property.
  • If you have taken on a debt or you are a guarantor to someone else’s debts.
  • If you have minor children and have not named a guardian in your old Will.
  • If you wish to create a Trust that comes into action on the event of your death.
  • An unborn child can also be named as a beneficiary.
  • Separation from a spouse might want you to change your Will
  • If you are recently diagnosed with or have contracted a incurable disease then you might want to consider a living will that considers your life and death wishes as legal.
  • In case of an inter-religion marriage the succession law of your spouse upon their death would decide how your assets passed on to them reach your other heirs including children.

You could also consider creating an Education Trust, Minor Beneficiary Trust to meet your child’s educational and future needs. If you are responsible for a family member with special needs then you could provide for them through a Special Needs Trust or pass on your inheritance directly to your grandchildren by skipping a generation through a Dynasty Trust.

As we have seen that the Will can be a very powerful tool in the execution of your last wishes and to protect your loved one’s from despair and legal battles, we shouldn’t delay in preparing one since life is

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1 (1) (1)In a world where access to internet is becoming more and more widespread, information on almost anything is subsequently becoming easier to find, simply by “Googling” it. Furthermore, free information quite often results in self proclaimed experts of the field, sometimes resulting in unfavorable outcomes for anyone who follows their views/advice without understanding how such individuals arrived at those outlooks.

As such it is important to separate a few facts from myths in terms of what data an individual should consider when faced with some common financial planning aspects rather than what is most commonly/easily available of the internet.

Sending children abroad for higher education is no more a matter of consideration for the upper class families. Nowadays, more and more middle class families aspire to send their children outside India for their education. As such, planning for such an major event requires careful attention. The common misconception is to take simple average rise of Indian education costs and apply the same data for education in a foreign country. However, two critical data points get missed out in such an exercise, (A) the rise in education costs in that particular country to which you plan to send your child. It is inappropriate to consider the inflation numbers would be identical or even similar to that of India. (B) the rise/fall in the currency exchange rate for the two countries in consideration. The following illustration should help clear this concept:

Particulars % Change
Rise in average education cost of  universities in the U.S. in last 10 years 5%
Rise in Currency Exchange rate in last 5 years 4%
Total Inflation to Consider 9%

Now In comparison the inflation rate for the Indian colleges is approximately 10%-11% p.a.

Talking about inflation, another topic of debate is if the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data is an adequate inflation benchmark, especially for higher middle class/ HNI families. To put things in perspective, following is a snapshot of items considered in the CPI basket and their respective weight-age:

Sr. No Particulars Weightage
1 Food and Beverages 45.86%
2 Pan, Tobacco and Intoxicants 2.38%
3 Clothing and Footwear 6.53%
4 Housing 10.07%
5 Fuel and Light 6.84%
6 Miscellaneous 28.32%

(Source: Ministry of Statistics Programme Implementation Circular Dated 14th March,2017)

As you can see, the weight age of expenses, while more suitable for the lower strata of income generating families, might not be appropriate for the higher end. Something like expenses on food/groceries would certainly not be half the expenses. As such, while current CPI numbers are around 3.5%, indicating that going forward inflation is to be expected around that range, it would be right to assume that a middle class family living in Mumbai would face the same inflation rates. A more appropriate method would be to calculate the individual inflation of major expense heads i.e. food, rent, education, lifestyle expenses and find the average of the same. You would more likely discover a very different inflation rate compared to the CPI.

Past returns is a favorite filter for most investors when choosing products of an asset class, especially stocks and mutual funds. However almost all online data provided by various service providers show Trailing Returns.. Trailing returns show how a fund has performed from date A to date B, by simply seeing the difference in NAV of those dates. But it does not show how consistently it performed in that period. A recent upswing in its performance can skew the average of say a 3 or 5 year performance. To adjust for this, Rolling Returns is considered. It does not take only one block of a 3year period but several blocks of such periods. Thus it allows you to see a range of performances across blocks of time. They therefore capture performance of funds over different market periods, giving a more reliable view of the fund’s performance

Similarly, another topic of debate is usage of Total Return Index v/s Simple Price Index as a benchmark when selecting a mutual fund. A Simple Price Index only captures the capital gains due to stock movements in the fund. But the Total Return Index considers the capital gains and dividend paid by the companies to the investors. Hence it shows a truer picture of the returns. Almost all mutual funds today benchmark their returns against the Simple Price Index. This can result in showing higher alpha generation by the fund which may not give the right picture to the investor. For example, Nifty 50 Price Index over past one year (as on 27th October 2017) was 18.63 percent and Nifty Total Return Index for the same period showed 19.75 percent. Hence a mutual fund will show different alpha based on the benchmark used.

Plan Ahead Wealth Advisors believes that Rolling Returns and the Total Price Index are the correct data points to consider.

Finally, the widespread use of the general rule of thumb when it comes purchasing a Term Insurance Plan i.e. the sum assured is to be 15-20 times the annual income. Procuring a term plan should be about covering financial risks that may befall on the dependants in case of an unfortunate event. Financial risk does not only include loss of income but also other factors such as pending liabilities, future financial goals, current assets that can be redeemed shortly to meet any obligations. Such factors also play a significant role in determining how much cover needs to be taken.

Using the right data is critical during the financial planning process. As you can see, wrong data can lead to significant errors/assumptions which can have detrimental impacts.

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