How to better manage and grow your money?
Equity market's nature is to go up or go down. Your wealth will get destroyed if you get caught up in this euphoria or pessimism. You invest for your financial needs, irrespective.
Your investment should ideally be managed based on your financial needs. Taking a need-based investment approach to managing your money is critical to achieving your financial requirements. It will also help in understanding the mix of investments within the portfolio.
Such an approach creates separate mental accounts and focuses on the fulfilment of those needs.
Salary credit every month does not guarantee you the lifestyle you anticipate throughout your life. Your circumstances and needs to keep changing. You need to plan and manage your current income and your future income according to your needs. These needs are your goals, your dreams.
Envisioning your dreams and putting them down on paper is the first step in making them a reality. Reflect on your life, your dreams, and your goals. Unless you know what you want to achieve, you will never be able to reach where you want to be.
When you are writing your goals, you have to prioritize. For example, a luxury car may not come before say a child's education or maybe your financial freedom.
Your priority goal should ideally be your financial security. Listed below are some recommended goals that can give you a jump start.
Financial Freedom: Trend indicates that more and more people want to achieve financial freedom early on. They may continue to work but having sufficient financial cushion creates phycological conform. Additionally, financially security provides self-respect during golden years and without being dependent on anyone else for the financial needs.
Buying a Home: Your first home is not an investment. It's an expense until you can afford to buy a second one. That's because you will always need a place to live. You should start planning to buy a house from the day you start earning. Unless of course, your parents own a home and you will continue to live in it. In that case, you can look at alternate real estate investments as a diversification option after you have a significant financial portfolio.
Emergency Fund: You should have a liquid emergency fund equivalent to approximately 3 to 6 months of your living expenses, which you can access immediately for any unforeseen or unplanned expenses. This will not only give you peace of mind but will also allow you the freedom from taking on an expensive debt in an emergency.
Being Debt Free: We live in the age of excessive consumption with multiple EMI's. You should try and reduce as many EMI's as possible. Not all EMI's are made equal – an EMI for a house loan is not an expense as it goes towards building an asset. However, an EMI for a high-end smartphone is an expense because your iPhone will start losing value the moment it's bought – and continue to do so till it becomes worthless after a few years.
Although each person is different and has different aspirations but to begin with, you can start by bucketing your financial goals into three broad categories: Essentials, Market and Aspirational.
At a minimum, you must protect yourself from the anxiety of a dramatic decrease in your current standard of living. Thus, you must immunize yourself from personal risk: the devastating impact of not being able to meet your essential cash needs, regardless of the performance of financial markets. Needs are those requirements that you may have to meet regardless of your good or bad financial situation.
Planning for child's foreign education, going on regular vacations, buying an expensive car etc. are usually your ‘want bucket' requirements. Since these are not your basic needs, you can plan to invest in instruments that can provide you with market exposure. However, you cannot afford to take an excessive level of portfolio risk even in want bucket.
As the name suggests, aspirational financial goals are created to enhance one's lifestyle. Aspirational goals are motivated by the observation that sizable wealth creation requires a higher level of risk. These investments can exponentially increase your wealth or there may even be a possibility of a loss of principal.
Since each of the three buckets specified above will have a separate set of investment options, the return and risk profile will also vary. Therefore, any short term volatility in the markets will not severely impact your overall portfolio. If you segregate your financial goals across these three buckets and invest accordingly, you will not feel the heat and get caught up with short term market volatility.
These are broad guidelines that will apply to most people, every individual has specific requirements, which means you should allocate money based on your requirements and priorities.