Personally, I want to read a lot, go vegan, and most importantly, get my finances in order.
Here’s a list of things I plan to do this year.
Budget: I’ve realized that as income grows year after year, expenses catch up. Making money is one thing, managing it is another. So, starting this month, I’m going to budget my salary and figure out where my money is going.
Damn, it’s a mystery where it’s gone every month.
I suppose it’s a good idea to automate things. There’s a part of me that constantly says, “You can pay it tomorrow or do it later.” Everything from SIPs to bills, I believe, automating will definitely do good.
It’s funny how when you do your SIP manually, you’ll see the markets are up and decide to do it later. However, it is unlikely to return at the same level and by the time you spend for the month.
Emergency fund: This should not simply be used for foreseen emergencies. I believe that having an emergency fund provides you with a solid backup while making financial decisions in life. It will sort of give you a runaway, say if you lose your job or whatever goes wrong. I’m certain that I’ll be able to go through the next six months without any worries.
Insurance: I believe that the most important card to play in order to be financially strong is insurance.
Health insurance: Additional health insurance along with employer-provided coverage.
Term insurance is like a covered call for your borrowings and providing for your dependents. I recently purchased a 2 crore term insurance policy, which easily covers my outstanding house debt and dependent expenses for the next 20 years.
Btw, a 2 crore coverage only costs 15,000 a year, which is 1250 per month. There are also tax advantages.
I discovered pet insurance last year October. My pet was under veterinarian treatment, and a hefty bill for the settlement arrived. The doctor recommended insurance that only costs 3.5K per year. If I had known sooner, I could have saved a lot of money. Any type of hospitalization might put a dent in your monthly budget.
Debt: The most difficult part of the list, to holding your emotions and saying no. It’s all too simple to fall into the EMI trap. The feeling that you can purchase anything and everything with your credit card urges you to stretch your budget. Nevertheless, if you analyze, you will realize that there is good debt and bad debt.
Housing loan: One of the most stressful decisions to be made, think twice before finalizing your budget. Today, everyone around you will tell you that the house loan interest rate has dropped, but it will be a nightmare if you take out unreasonable loans and burden yourself.
A housing loan, in my opinion, is a product for someone who needs shelter and wants to save on taxes. Probably, if you live in a big city and pay high rent, replacing it with EMI is a fantastic idea. Again, whether or not to take out a mortgage is debatable. This would be good debt if it was something necessary, rather than a luxury.
Another thing I realized is that rushing to close a housing loan is a dumb idea. Rather than doing so, you can start a SIP and probably yield better returns over time.
A car loan/travel loan/whatever loan is a big no. Borrowing for a large expenditure might take away your hard work and force you to work even more. I believe in the old-school way of saving money and making a purchase. Owning something entirely makes you proud and helps you to sleep well.
Invest to achieve my goals: It’s so simple to calculate and provide examples of how to achieve a goal. I’ve set a few goals for myself, going from buying a car to paying off my debts.
Prioritizing my goals based on the time period and choosing the best-suited investment based on that. This is a work in progress that is still being researched.
Trust me, it’s far easier to spend thousands on shopping than to figure out which investments to make.
So, there you go, my to-do list. If you could share your approach or list few best investment funds or insurance policies you’ve come up with, that would be great. It would be really helpful.