Facing uncertainties in 2017...

These are times of uncertainties! Who could have predicted the address to the nation by the Prime Minister on the evening of 8th November 2016. Remonitisation have become painful for many for standing in long queues. More uncertainties are in store in the coming days! GST will overhaul the indirect taxation system in the country. Short term pains but long term gains? Now coming to personal finance; there is a need to question our core beliefs and think differently. Let us take income, assets, liabilities, expenses and retirement!

Income: Where does your income come from? Is it salary from your employer? This is an   external source. It is like water flow in a river. But looking it from a bigger picture, the real source of river water is the spring. Similarly the source of income is not the monthly salary but your skill, time, intelligence and experience. If you focus on up gradation of your skills that generates your income streams, you are more likely to preserve a steady income in the long run. Conversely if do not upgrade your skills in tune with the demand of the times, you are more likely to miss out on generating income. Think for a moment about the prospect of losing your job, look at your skill sets. They may be more valuable if you have kept them honed. Do not ignore skill building and networking even after you have settled in a job.


Assets: Assets produce income. There are three general sources of income; Land, Labour and capital. Land has potential to generate income from rent and appreciation in value over time. Labour creates income when one trade   with his/her time, energy and talent. Capital can be physical, financial or social. Physical capital represents potential income since it can be sold. Financial capital is money in the form of savings, investments gold etc .Money can create more money by earning interest on it. Social capital has great potential to generate income. Networking can create social capital.”It is not what you know but who you know” is true. Assets are not assets unless it earns more than it costs e.g flats bought with loan at 9.5% borrowing cost generating rental yield of 3% and capital appreciation of less than 5% are not assets but liabilities.

 Resources: The source of your income is collection of your resources put together in such a way that they create something that is valuable to others. Trace your income to the resources .Income comes from assets and assets come from resources. When your expenses increase, try to increase your income by looking at your resources other than CTC i.e artistic skill, rental, investments etc.

Liabilities: Liabilities are opposite of assets and it cost more than it earns. Liabilities are not inherently bad or useless. Some liabilities like education loans are good. Many of our expenses are traced to liabilities e.g EMI for home loans and responsibilities for family.

 Expenses: The simple principle is to spend less than you earn. For current aspirational generation, there is no difference between need and want. All wants are also need since they help them to meet some deeper need inside. Maslow’s hierarchy of need  defines need ladder  as  Survival ,Security,Psychological(Love,affection,friendship),esteem(recogntion, respect), Self actualisation (Giving, Self expression etc) and spiritual (awareness, creativity).Currently this  is not exactly hierarchical in order. We deploy financial strategy for survival and security. Beyond that many needs are intangible. But the problem comes when we use money for fulfilling other needs. We celebrate friendship in lavish parties or spend huge wealth in marriages. The grandparents are more concerned about creating wealth for grand children than worrying about their own retirement corpus. The problem; meeting emotional needs with financial strategies which is very risky. This leads to loss of financial independence.

Luxury is related to quality of life and desirable but not vulgarity. Luxury is opposite of vulgarity. It is better to meet non financial needs through non financial strategies. This frees up your money to do what it is best at i.e meeting your physical needs. Here comes the role of your strategies to meet all your needs. A professional and competent life financial planner can help you in mapping all your needs, bringing clarity on conflicts of monetary and non monetary needs and drawing strategies to make you financially independent. This can lead to peace and happiness in life.

When can you take retirement? When your income from assets other than labour is enough to cover all your expenses, you can safely stop working. Retirement also  brings feeling of insecurity which in most cases comes from mundane comparison with others. One should get ahead of expenses and recognise need for respect, esteem, giving and awareness. This will lead to peace and happiness.

Investments: Markets have become volatile and timing the market is difficult. One must make investments simple and process driven. It is always better to take the help of a professional investment adviser/financial adviser to determine asset allocation and undertake periodical rebalancing. The investment adviser can help in optimising on five crucial parameters i.e safety, liquidity, return, taxability and risk appetite.

Managing uncertainties: It is advisable to create emergency fund for meeting expenses for at least  six months .Adequate life insurance protects the earning power and it should be through  term life insurance, which best taken online which is cheaper. A super top health insurance over and above the employer provided limit as deductible is ideal. If the job involves travelling, take adequate personal accident cover with TTD rider. Protect your entire assets; home, vehicle, travel etc with adequate insurance. Finally use more digital tools to promote less cash society!

Let us wait for the opportunities to unfold in 2017 with hope!

Courtesy: Ideas from “Loaded” by Ms Sarah Newcome, Morningstar behavioural economist

Last modified on Saturday, 11 March 2017 05:59

Prakash Praharaj

Shri Prakash Praharaj has a passion for excellence. He has been awarded two gold medals for securing top positions both in Graduation and Post Graduation in Commerce. He is an MBA with specialization in Finance and marketing. He has been awarded Diploma in Treasury, Investment and Risk Management besides CAIIB from the Indian Institute of Bankers. He is a Certified Financial Planner from the Financial Planning standards Board, India (FPSB), affiliated to FPSB, Denver, USA and Certified Personal Financial Adviser from NISM. He is also a SEBI registered Investment Adviser vide Reg. no. INA 000000045 dated 2nd August 2013.His book "Your Every day guide to Personal Finance and Insurance" has been published by CNBC TV 18 in August 2015.


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