Humans live a life full of needs, desires, and wants, and Indians are no different. To be happy, the satisfaction of all of these is necessary. Let me ask you a very obvious question... what enables you to have everything you desire? Money!
While all of us have money, managing it well is an art only a few of us possess.
A financially smart person is someone who has enough resources (read: money) to lead a financially stable life in the present, while simultaneously creating a pool of resources to be financially stable in the future. In simple words, this person spends wisely as well as saves wisely.
I am not that old, but I have been thinking about mutual funds after seeing so many ads on TV. And I have been digging on Google. In my opinion, these are 4 simple things all financially smart people in India do and everyone should do too:
- Plan and invest keeping future milestones in mind – Have an approximate idea of important milestones in your life and make sure that the returns from your investments are accessible to you at those points in life. For example, your children might want to pursue Medicine or Engineering 18 years from now. In this case, the investments must be such that they mature around that period and the returns from the investments are available to be utilized at that point of time. If you don’t plan for these, either your children will have to go for below-average colleges or you will have to take loans!
- Invest in high-risk tools when your liabilities are low – Get into the investing game in high-risk investments like equity or mutual funds in the early years of your career, when you’re the only person you’re responsible for. This is because your appetite for risk is sure to decrease as you age. Later on, diversify into more stable investments like retirement plans or debt funds.
- Plan your retirement early on – It is your own responsibility to make hay while the sun shines. It’s best to not rely solely on your children to take care of you when you grow old. When capable of earning, start investing in retirement plans so that you have enough money to take care of your basic needs after you retire. Financial stability at every point in life is a very crucial factor to living a dignified life, I feel. So invest a little every month/quarter and let the magic of compounding take over!
- Research well before investing or get professional help – Always be thorough with the terms and conditions of your investments. Research, take advice, and understand before you commit your hard-earned money anywhere (because you’ll be paying for several years!). For all-round financial safety, you can also opt for an insurance-cum-investment plan that will cover you for varied risks (including death) while you also build a corpus.
I understand the insurance-cum-investment market fairly well, but I am not an expert. I would therefore suggest that you consult an expert before making any long-term financial decision.