By Tushar Bopche
As our first superheroes and formative roles models, fathers teach us invaluable life lessons. I too have learned a lot from my father. Finance is one area where his innate financial prudence has helped me accomplish several life goals. Ever rooted in unconditional love and enormous experience, his guidance is enlightening and enduring in the same breath. Even today, I seek his 24-carat advice on money matters.
On the eve of Father’s Day, I thought it apt to share his invaluable tips on how to make investments work for you:
- Chase Goals, not Money: My father has always cautioned me: Running after money is a fool’s errand if it doesn’t serve a purpose. The wealth we inherit, earn and leave behind must be used to fulfil larger goals of life. Having goals makes spending purposeful. Spending 10,000 rupees on learning a new skill is better than spending the same amount on a flashy gadget.
- Protect those who matter: Securing the future of the family must be the top priority. Adequate life and health insurance covers give peace of mind and strength to deal with unexpected events. Insurance always comes before investment, my father says, and I agree. It is pertinent to note that the emergency fund is different from insurance and should not be treated as one and the same.
- Save first, spend later: This lesson is probably on every father’s list. Put aside 30% of your earnings (more if you can) in savings, and then plan the expenditure. It can never be the other way round. Money saved is money earned. It is your hard-earned money, treat it with consideration and spend it on things that ensure wellness and wellbeing.
- Always have a plan: Paint the brightest picture of the life you want to lead and start investing accordingly. Those who plan and pursue the desired path, avoiding needless diversions on the way, reach their destination in good time. Define your life goals and build a portfolio to deliver them. Also, maintain an emergency fund because you never know what lies ahead in life. There could not have been a more appropriate time than the ongoing pandemic to appreciate the worth of these wise words.
- Explore all options: There are times when glitter hides the truth. Examine the core deliverables of the product on offer and explore other available options. Read the fine print – whether terms & conditions, drilled-down financial statements, and mandatory announcements – to detect hidden costs, liabilities, and opportunities that may not be immediately obvious. There is always scope for lowering costs through research and analysis, as also by steering clear of all avoidable blunders.
- Don’t skip government schemes: Despite the occasional hassles, government schemes play a crucial role in analyzing, organising, and initiating major investments. They are designed to enable the fruition of long-term goals. Schemes such as Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna, Public Provident Fund, Post Office Saving Schemes, National Savings Certificates, National Pension Scheme and many more are not only safe and secure, but they also deliver impressive returns in long-term. Never shy away from this treasure trove.
- Be patient and consistent: Small but consistent steps deliver far greater results than a poorly thought off large investment. Compound interest is magic: anyone regularly investing a small sum in the banks can attest to that. Choose the vehicle and the amount you are comfortable to invest in it, then simply follow the schedule. The returns will invariably surprise you.
- Diversify in good measure: This is an age-old wisdom: Never put all your eggs in one basket. Build assets, buy gold, and invest in secure bonds as well as in market linked platforms to diversify your sources of earning. No source will give consistent returns all the time but together they will balance your earnings and deliver better results. Over the last 21 fiscal years, different asset classes like equity, debt and gold have outperformed each other at different times. Hence, the rank 1 asset class in terms of returns keeps rotating. A prudent selection of investments diversified across each of these asset class would enable us to not only capture the peak performance of all asset classes, but also reduce the over reliance on specific asset class.
- Help others: This is an extension of the first point. Purpose should never be limited only to your own desires and expectations. A life’s purpose must include helping others in need. Donate and help out others whenever you can. A meagre portion of your earnings can help someone take a giant leap. The returns you get in this sphere are often intangible but fulfilling all the same. Who said you can only invest in money? People are excellent investments too!
- Be sincere and disciplined: This point is often missed, yet nothing can ever be achieved without sincerity and discipline. Investment is a form of commitment. After making plans and developing portfolios, set aside a few hours a week to revisit and review the progress. Timely payment of instalments, submission of taxes and other fees, and exploration of better avenues help your investment bear desired fruits. If you will not be sincere about your money, who will?
The points mentioned above are not mere words; they are actionable insights from a father. I am a father now; following the footsteps of my father, I am more than ready to impart this wealth of knowledge to my children and see them grow into happy and successful human beings.
I wish all of you a joyful Father’s Day!
(Tushar Bopche is the Product Head – AUM Business at YES SECURITIES. Views expressed are the author’s own.)