Diwali just went by and all of us sent innumerable messages to our friends wishing them luck and prosperity. We keep doing that each year, however, we do not tell our friends what is the “key” to such prosperity or how to get it. So here’s my little endeavour to complete your SMS by providing the key which would possibly help unlock prosperity for many families.
The key to prosperity is “Life Strategy”. So what is this? It’s the strategy of your life. Financially speaking, ofcourse! It is as simple as this or complex as you can imagine it to be. It is exactly how you imagine your life to be, again financially. There are two aspects to this: What might be the elements of your life strategy and how to make them happen i.e. to make sure that those elements materialise.
Elements of Life Strategy
To conjure up elements of life strategy is quite simple. Make a list and specify how exactly you wish your life to be. Examples are;
* I want to have Rs 2 crore worth of assets by the time I am 40 years old
* I want to have a farm house worth Rs 1 crore today in the next 20 years
* I want to have an international holiday every six months
* I want to be able to have about Rs 50 lakh for my children
* I want to retire with Rs 5 crore of corpus
How to make it happen? You will need two things here viz., certain rules and certain calculations. In addition you must commit some time for your own good or the years will just pass by and you will either see lots of money in the bank doing nothing or that you have a plethora of bad financial decisions in the form of products that are unlikely to help you much.
* Solid control over your finances and no compromise on lifestyle, ever
* Organise financial matters and never get into a mess
* Correct the wrong decisions and never take wrong decisions again
* My money should be invested in the best asset class
* I want to keep my expenses at 25 per cent of my income
* I want to be able to save at least 40 per cent of my income
* I want my home expenses to be on auto pilot i.e. I want my investments to fund all expenses and then it does not matter whether I work or not
It is easy to get hold of calculators or if you can do a bit of excel you can see for yourself what you need to invest now and on an ongoing basis. The best thing to do is to use something that is some sort of a comprehensive calculator or say a financial plan. There are online financial planning websites that can also help you with such calculations.
Thereafter study all asset classes or product categories and make a list of which one has delivered maximum returns over the last 5, 7 & 10 years. Count your liquid assets and estimate how much of those you can use now. Estimate what your monthly savings are likely to be and then deploy them regularly. Thus you would have made a start to planning your life; eventually over time you will land up having a life strategy. It might be difficult to start off on your own but over time things you will have a better understanding of things.
Here are some thumb rules to help you start and avoid basic mistakes:
* If you pay anything in excess of Rs 50,000 p.a. for life insurance — most likely you are burning your money or you definitely have the wrong products
* To plan for retirement never ever invest in pension policies
* If you are earning a post tax rate of return equal to less than inflation again you are wasting your money
* Eject on advice to things you don’t understand but do self learning about it as you should not miss out on anything important
* Always keep about 50 per cent of your money into wealth creating investments i.e. in today’s terms investments giving a post tax return of at least say 10-12 per cent
* Finally if you choose to work with someone then ensure that you choose someone who is ready to answer your questions and also has sensible answers to your questions.
—Author is Director, Transcend Consulting