While there is no shortage of lessons on the money ” must-do’s”, more often than not, we ignore that doing certain things with your money can potentially hurt your financial health in the long run.
Whether we do these consciously or under undue influence, it is time we no longer overlook the ” must-don’ts”.
In this article, I will elaborate on things you should never do with your money to maintain your financial well-being and what you should do instead. Read on!
Most people buy Insurance, considering it as their first investment. This is generally pedalled by a pushy relative, an over-friendly neighbour or a bank representative. The plan is either a money-back or endowment policy with ‘guaranteed returns.
Don’t fall for a plan that promises you a mix of both.ULIP premiums are multi-fold higher than regular term insurance premiums, and you will not get a good return on your investment when you buy such a product.
The illiquidity and limited choice of funds only add to the woes. Consider this; Insurance is a cover against an event's risk of occurrence ( or nonoccurrence). And should be treated just for that.
Buy a good term health insurance that provides adequate cover so that you don’t have to dip into your emergency funds or stop your SIPs/redeem your investments to meet healthcare costs, jeopardizing your long-term goals.
Understand depreciation, and differentiate between assets that will give you money and those that will require money from you. The car or the fancy gadget you have been thinking of buying starts losing its value as soon as it is out of the showroom or store.
These are considered high-cost liabilities as, in most cases, these have been financed, and the EMIs can continue for a few years.
While buying a car is not bad, directing most of your money towards purchasing expensive depreciating assets that tie you down to heavy loans is not prudent unless you meticulously plan for them. So if at all you have to, buy depreciating assets that are within your means and don’t require you to take a high commitment loan.
On the other hand, if you are using a loan or debt to create some asset- like a loan for expanding or starting a business, which yields good returns, it can still be considered good debt.
Your PPF account, Fixed Deposits, NSC, Mutual funds, and stocks are the assets that pay you dividends or return the principal with interest.
Many people have lost their money after ‘investing’ in fraudulent schemes or marketing plans where the ‘business model is straightforward to understand and scalable’.
Understanding the risk associated with a particular product or investment and your tolerance is necessary. Don’t come under peer pressure, and invest in a product that doesn’t align with your goals.
Stay away from Ponzi ” get quick rich” schemes. Building wealth requires a certain amount of discipline and wisdom, and there are no shortcuts to this.
So educate yourself, or take professional help before zeroing in on your best investment avenues.
Warren Buffett famously said – “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need”.
Buying something on credit or EMI is essentially spending money you do not have, so if you have a habit of whipping your credit card out at each purchase and are addicted to swipes, it's time to pause and ponder.
Credit cards are appealing, and understandably so because they delay the financial repercussions of your purchase. However, if left unchecked, you may find yourself in a debt trap, which may take years to break free from.
So change your approach a bit. While it's good to pamper yourself, and the occasional splurge doesn’t hurt, don’t make an impulse purchase a routine. Instead, use your credit card judiciously, and clear your credit card loans diligently, in full at the due date and not just the minimum amount. By all means, enjoy the luxury a credit card provides, but keep the outflow in check.
Also, instead of EMI, you can take the SIP route. For instance, you want to buy the latest iPhone. Give yourself a 3-6 months window to build up the corpus. Then, you can put the amount you set aside to buy the phone in a liquid fund, giving you way better appreciation than your savings account and enabling you to reach the target amount faster.
Also Read: SEBI Rolls Out Graded Exit Load On Liquid Funds: What Does It Mean For You As An Investor?
You can also withdraw your money any time you want. So a little planning can spare you from being tied down to EMIs and the other hidden costs banks charge on your cards.
The ideal approach should be, “Pay yourself first, save, invest and then spend.
For most earners in their 20s and 30s, retirement seems to be a very long-term goal; thus, they tend to move it away, waiting for the right time.
These are the same people who do not focus on investment either, as they think they do not earn enough money.
However, delaying these important aspects proves quite detrimental in the long run. On the other hand, starting early gives you the most significant advantage of ‘Compounding’, which works its magic over long periods quite effectively.
Do not stand on the sidelines and wait for the perfect market timing to begin because there isn’t any. Predicting the market is a futile activity. SIP is your weapon against market volatility and the best way to start your investing journey. If you are apprehensive about investing, create a SIP with a small sum in liquid funds. If you are confused about what, to begin with, in equities, you can go for tax-saving ELSS funds.
They have a lock-in period of just three years and allow you to claim tax exemption up to Rs 1.5 Lakh under Section 80C. Moreover, since they are equity funds, they also have the potential to fetch high returns in the long run. So start with one or two funds under the equity and debt category and get a taste of investing. Then as you gain more knowledge and experience, start diversifying your portfolio and investing actively.
Money in a Savings bank doesn’t pay anything when considering the effect of Inflation. Inflation, in straightforward terms, is paying more for the same products or services with time.
It reduces the purchasing power of money over some time. In India, it has stayed low for some time now, but it cannot be wished away, and that is why you should put your money in inflation-beating assets/investments. However, do not let the value of your money get eroded due to the ill effects of Inflation. With decreasing bank rates, the yields from bank deposits are set to go down further.
Put only the minimum required amount in a Savings account. Then, invest in a mix of investments that can make your portfolio ‘Inflation proof’, providing stability and security. For instance, if ease of access to your money is an essential criterion, you can invest in liquid funds that will also give a better appreciation for your money.
Moderation is the key; it ultimately boils down to how effectively you utilize your money and learn what to do with it. Be prudent, arm yourself with the necessary financial know-how, and you can navigate the world of investing efficiently.