5 Things You Can Start in College to Ensure Financial Freedom Early in Your Life

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Most often, securing a future, especially in our country, means attaining higher education and landing a plush job. Wish that alone was true.

A TimesJobs survey published recently revealed a scary picture where as high as 50% of Indian employees are in severe financial distress. This comes as a surprise as the Indian economy is faring much better than most advanced nations, and also, the employees’ take-home packages are much higher than what they used to be a decade-and-half ago!

The reasons for the rising financial stress among the Indian working class are aplenty; from the ever-rising inflation to compulsive online buying to increasing cost of maintaining a good lifestyle. However, the major problem behind the mounting financial stress among Indians is owing to lack of financial literacy and financial discipline.

Financial stress leads to depression, unhappiness and pain.

Yes, while we like to believe that we are financially disciplined and know how to put money to its best use, the truth is that a majority of us never feature ‘financial planning’ in our list of priorities. While we pass out the college with flying colours and a soaring spirit, take up important, well-paying jobs; still, most of us struggle to create sufficient funds for emergencies, major life events such as the wedding or retirement.

“So, what can we do to avoid a future filled with financial distress?” you’d ask.

The good news is that if you are in school or college, there is still hope for you to ensure a future that is financially secure. You have the gift of time.

Here are five simple things that you can do while you are still in college to ensure that you take the right path towards a future of financial abundance.

Assess Your ‘Money Emotion’: Even before you plan to work towards attaining financial independence, find out your perception of money. Do you find it evil or overly tempting? Do you feel it is the cause of all evils or you find it important to alleviate social pains and meet emergencies? Whatever may your ‘money emotion’ be, evaluate it in a real-world scenario and map it with your dreams and ambitions.

Make Financial Goals: It is much easier to chalk out your long and short-term financial goals once you understand your psychological relationship with money vis-à-vis your life goals. Of course, your life is going to take many twists and turns, and it is difficult to predict the lifestyle you would eventually have, but, in any case, you need to be prepared for some life-events that cost a lot of money (wedding, your first car, buying a house, starting a family, striking off items on your bucket list, etc.).

Differentiate Between Needs & Wants: Needs are the things that you require to survive. Wants are desires you have. So, water is your need; a Smartphone isn’t. Often, in order to satiate our cravings, we make utterly senseless shopping decisions and end up spending more than what we can afford. Credit cards, if not managed astutely, can fuel chronic debt cycles, and as a result, mounting financial stress. There is no other way of conjuring money out of thin air than letting it stay unspent in your pocket. So, choose wisely between what you want and what you need when you go out shopping the next time.

Invest Before Spending: If you’d believe one of the world’s wealthiest men, investing before spending is the mantra to grow rich. Warren Buffet famously said that before paying anyone else, we must pay ourselves. This means that we must make some investments (ideally 25% of the income) before we splurge our money on wants and necessities. You would wonder where to invest the meager amount that is just a fraction of your pocket money? Well, we will come to it in the next point.

 Commit to Long-Term Regular Investments

Your precious savings – earned by sacrificing your wants – must not rot in piggy banks and fixed deposits and savings accounts. You would want to earn the best return on your investment, isn’t it? This is why you must choose a good mutual fund and invest regularly through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans). You can start with as low as INR 500/- per month and earn a handsome return on your investments. However, it is important to be disciplined in paying SIPs regularly (increasing them as you start earning), month after month, at least for ten years to ensure a huge portfolio that can take care of expenses related to any life event.

Did you know that if invested smartly, your money starts working for you, earning more and more money without you having to sweat for it?

Start now. Invest regularly. Let the effect of compounding increase your pool of money.

 

Dr. Celso Fernandes, Goa’s Financial Doctor, is on a mission to create awareness about financial literacy and financial independence, especially amongst the youngsters. He is the author of three much-loved books and actively participate in various social causes.

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How to Become a Millionaire Before Turning 30?

Most youngsters scrape through their graduation, funding their lifestyle with the pocket money given by generous parents, dreaming of a day when they would have an endless pool of money without even working for it! A perfect dream – you’d say. But then, that’s just a dream – or, is it?

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Grow your wealth with financial discipline

Well, just like every other teen, Salvio had recently joined graduation and wondered how early he could start earning, and saving, to build his magical pool of money. While his peers dreamt of bikes, movies and beer, Salvio dreamt of being a millionaire at 30. But, could he achieve it?

At the young age of 17, in his first month at college, Salvio’s father took him along to attend a financial seminar. And that, dear readers, was the turning point in Salvio’s life. It was the day Salvio discovered the secret to financial freedom – the proverbial road to riches. As soon as he returned home, Salvio decided to expand his knowledge by reading more about wealthy people to emulate their success. He was surprised to learn that most rich people lived below their means and delayed gratification. This means, they did not spend on expensive cars or mansions but saved money before spending it.

He noticed that all rich people had a few things in common that had actually made them rich. Salvio observed that wealthy people:

  • Set long-term goals
  • Avoid frivolous spending
  • Start saving and investing early in life
  • Live below their means

Today, Salvio is 29 years old. He has been investing in various mutual funds through SIPs for the past 12 years and holds just short of a million rupees across his investments. By the end of 2018, as he turns 30, he would have achieved his goal of being a millionaire before 30!

 Here’s how Salvio fulfilled a dream most people only think about:

At the age of 17, Salvio set his goal of being a millionaire before 30. Besides, he wanted a self-growing pool of money that would regenerate each time he took out a small portion to service his requirements, such as funding his higher education or helping his parents fund emergency repairs to their family home.

Unlike his other friends who spent their evenings over coffee, movies and unnecessary shopping, Salvio paid fifty percent of his pocket money at the beginning of each month into a systematic investment plan suggested by his father’s wealthy friend, Uncle Sebastian. While it was difficult in the beginning, Salvio was soon able to differentiate between his wants and needs – for example, he needed a healthy breakfast to start his day, but he only wanted a cup of cappuccino with his friends during lunch break. Or, he did need a pair of sports shoes to exercise, but buying that expensive pair of white sneakers was just a waste of money.

Within a year of investing, Salvio was able to see the result of his discipline. The seed of his future wealth had germinated. The money in his portfolio had started growing bit-by-bit. Now, Uncle Sebastian advised Salvio to increase his income by taking up a part-time job. He also advised Salvio to pay himself first – that is, use 20 percent of his salary to feed his portfolio, and then use the remaining amount for necessities.

Starting with only 2,000 rupees a month at the age of 17, Salvio consistently increased the amount he invested as his income increased. He also invested all the monetary gifts from family and friends into his portfolio through ‘Top-ups’ and continues to do so. As a result, his portfolio continued to grow, and, over time, the magic of compounding worked to help him realise his dream of turning a millionaire before 30!

From this very fund, Salvio took out money to pay for a diploma course at 24 that added to his skill set and helped him secure a promotion as well as a better salary. He also withdrew lump sums to take his family for a vacation and pay for some urgent repairs to their home. Today, as Salvio grows richer, many of his classmates are living paycheque to paycheque, only dreaming about the wealth Salvio continues to grow.

Salvio’s golden rules

Just like Salvio, you can also fulfil your dream of being a millionaire before 30. All you need to do is:

  • Differentiate between needs and wants
  • Save money before spending
  • Start investing your savings today

NaveMarg and Dr Celso Fernandes, author of three much-loved books and a leading crusader for financial literacy in Goan youth, help students secure a brighter future by spreading financial awareness and giving personalised guidance on choosing the right investments. Dr Celso believes that if all the students become financially free and not depend on their jobs to survive, they can pursue careers of their choice, create and innovate lovely things and be happy and caring citizens of India.

Small Savings, Big Rewards

Joseph and Ranvir met for the first time when they were ten years old. Their fathers worked in the same public sector company and happened to be posted together in the same place. Both families had neighbouring accommodation, and both the boys, being of the same age, developed an instant friendship that is strong even today.

Joseph and Ranvir walked down to the school together, played together, did their assignments together and even spent their vacations together. As luck would have it, both the families were transferred to the same cities subsequently, ensuring the boys stuck together throughout their schooling, and even later, as they joined the same college in Goa.

As they progressed through their college years, both took up paid internships to supplement their pocket money. Finally, in the last year of their graduation, it was time to face the harsh realities of life – Joseph and Ranvir both wanted to pursue higher studies, but their fathers couldn’t afford it. Ranvir, thus, decided to join a bank that had selected him during a campus interview. Joseph, however, decided to go for post graduation. He had started investing a small amount of INR 500 from his pocket money ever since he was 15 through SIPs, as advised by his wealthy maternal uncle. Impressed by his young son’s financial discipline, Joseph’s father matched the amount of his investment each month, encouraging Joseph to save even more.

Thus, as Joseph grew in age, so did his portfolio. Even in college, when Ranvir and their other friends spent their stipend on movies and coffee, Joseph invested half of it, each month, growing his portfolio significantly.

Like Joseph, by inculcating financial discipline since childhood, you can also ensure financial independence to fulfil your dreams from a young age.

Dr. Celso Fernandes, author of two much-loved books “Who Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees” and “Don’t Chase Money, Let Money Chase You”, is on a continuous mission to encourage youngsters to start saving and investing from an early age so that they could get a better handle on their life. Dr. Celso mentors “Young Achievers Club” and “Super Achievers Club” focused at dispensing financial literacy among youngsters.

From Juvenile to Millionaire in a decade

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You cannot grow rich overnight, isn’t that what everyone always told you. You must slog your entire life to live decently, isn’t that what the popular notion is?

Well, you are not wrong when you say you can’t grow rich overnight; but you can definitely resolve to grow rich overnight and make it a reality within a decade, instead of slogging and living a mediocre life forever, by following these simple ideas shared by NaveMarg Financial Consultants:

Make more money – The first step towards growing richer is focusing on making more money. Yes, if you are content with what you are earning now, how can you grow financially? Whether it is doing an hour of overtime every once in a while or picking up a freelance job few hours every week, look for ways and means to supplement your income and earn more.

Pay yourself first – An important principle all millionaires swear by is to ‘pay yourself first’. As a young adult settling into your first job, overcome the temptation of splurging all your hard earned cash and pay yourself 25% of whatever you earn before setting out to pay your monthly bills or spending your money in anyway you like.

You may find it unsettling at first, wondering whether you can afford your routine life by paying yourself 25% of the salary first. But that is the catch – by setting aside a certain portion of your income before you even set your eyes on it, you will train yourself to manage within 75% of your income.

But what to do with this 25% of your income you will ask? Invest it.

Yes, make your money work for you by investing it in well-performing assets aligned to your life goals. Do not touch this money even in th case of an emergency.

Tip: Build an emergency fund by saving 10% of your salary every month so that you don’t need to touch your investments in any case.

Thoughtful investments – Property, stocks, gold, PPF and FDs are some popular investment options. However, stocks, more particularly equity investments, have outperformed all other asset classes over a long-term horizon of over 10 years.

While property remains a coveted choice for many investors, the cost of maintaining a property and exit costs when you decide to sell it make it a less viable option compared to mutual funds that are also more tax effective. (Property Vs. Mutual Funds? Read more here…)

Get insurance – An unusual tip to figure in the list, getting insurance is the bedrock of building financial wealth. An unfortunate accident or illness can leave you completely drained of your investments. Having health insurance for yourself and your future family will help you save significant medical charges.

Taking a simple life insurance plan (not a ULIP) earlier in life will also ensure lesser premium and lifelong protection for the well being of your loved ones in case of any misfortune.

Have a rich mentor – Most of us brought up in the middle class never learn to dream big. Having a rich mentor and following their financial strategy closely can give you big lessons in wealth creation. As a youngster, choose your favourite millionaire and follow their ideas and passion for wealth creation to be a millionaire within a decade.

So are you all set to start building your wealth?

 

 

Unleash the magic of compounding

Would you ever believe if someone tells you that money can grow magically! Compound interest is a magical phenomenon that can turn few thousand rupees into lakhs and crores, over a period of time, if left undisturbed.

It is a powerful concept that can help one achieve financial goals – retire comfortably, take a world cruise, buy a house or just be a millionaire!

So how do you use compounding to help you achieve your financial goals?

The magic of compounding is a powerful tool in the hands of disciplined and regular investors. It teaches us a simple lesson – you don’t have to save a lot if you save regularly for a long period of time.

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It takes time to accumulate wealth, and compounding does not work overnight. It is not only about how much you save, wealth creation also depends on how long you save. STARTING EARLY is the first step towards creating a life of your dreams.

Let’s take a situation to understand this better. Sam started saving early in life on the advice of his wealthy uncle. He started small, but young. At the age of 23 years, he began investing INR 3,000 per month through SIP. At the age of 33 years (with an effective return of 11%), he has a portfolio of over INR 6,30,000.

On the other hand, his friend Jack started saving quite late. At 28 years of age, he began investing INR 6,000 in the same portfolio as Sam through SIP. At the age of 33 years (with an effective return of 11%), Jack has a corpus of about INR 4,74,000.

Even though Sam and Jack invested the same amount of money in principle, Sam made smaller monthly investments over a longer period of time, leading to a much bigger corpus.

The rule of 72 – Do you want to know how long it would take for your money to double? Use the rule of 72. For example, if your investment earns 9% interest, then it would take 8 years (72 divided 9) to double. You can easily use this formula to calculate how long you need to keep your savings locked in to let compounding work its powerful magic.

Mutual funds are the only way to create large portfolios by saving small (but steady). The SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) option allows you to invest as low as INR 1,000 in a mutual fund each month. Over a long period of time, these small yet continual savings lead to big portfolios due to the power of compounding.

Reap into the benefit of compounding now, and unleash its power by coupling up with a smart SIP investment strategy. Dr. Celso at Navemarg can help you plan your investments to meet your financial goals effectively.

Choosing the right fund to invest

Selecting a fund in hindsight is easy, as anyone investing in top funds for the past few years (such as HDFC 200, Franklin Templeton, DSP) would agree. Many investors reaped over 20% returns in the past few years and those who look back, only wish they had chosen the right funds.

While hindsight is definitely a gift, it is not one to rely on for future investment. Many investors make the folly of solely relying on the past performance of funds to make an investment decision. However, what you need is an overview of various factors such as past performance, CRISIL ranking, fund house reputation, portfolio diversification and expense ratio.

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Choosing a fund becomes important when you have a long-term investment horizon in mind. If you plan to stay invested for 8-10 years, investing in an equity fund is a wise option. Here are some tips to choose the best fund for your requirements:

  1. How is your money invested – When you choose a fund to invest in, check what are you looking for – debt, equity or money market? Once you choose the type of fund, it is imperative to check how the money is going to be invested. A well diversified portfolio is key to good returns.
  2. Key information document – Read your key information document and scheme information document well. It contains all the information about the scheme as well as about the fund house. The reputation and approach of the fund house is very important to understand, as you are mandating it to invest your money on your behalf. It is important to know the team managing your funds. Are they seasoned investors who will manage your money well?
  3. Expenses – Even though all funds in India come without a sales cost (no load funds), asset management fee and brokerage fee is often ignored while selecting a fund. Funds with lower portfolio turnover ratio have lesser costs associated with them. Secondly, look for funds that charge lower asset management fee. You will find many well-performing funds charging less than 2% per annum.
  4. Fund performance – When checking for fund performance, look for consistency and not volatility in returns. For equity funds, it is a good idea to check returns over a 3-5 year period, benchmarked against an index and other funds in the category.
  5. Consistent investments – When you start investing in a mutual fund, stop thinking of it as a liquid amount for at least 8-10 years. Make consistent payments and let the magic of compounding work over a period of minimum 8-10 years. Starting an SIP to invest in mutual funds or ELSS can be a good way to achieve discipline in your investments.

It is important to plan your investments well. At Navemarg, Dr. Celso can guide you to achieve your future objectives with well-planned investments. Contact now for a consultation.

 

 

 

Dr Celso magic formula for wealth creation

“Financial success is simply the law of ‘Cause & Effect’ in motion; it is neither a miracle, nor good fortune.”

The road to riches is not a selfish one. There is enough money in the world for all of us to be wealthy. So why be poor then?

In this post, Dr Celso shares his magic formula that will help you create a never-ending pool of money.

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Dr. Celso’s magical formula for wealth creation

Dr. Celso, India’s first financial doctor, aims to create multiple millionaires across India through his experience and easy-to-follow tips. And nothing is easier to follow than this magic formula for wealth creation that you are going to read in the next few lines.

If you want to grow rich, then start today on the following path to see the magic for yourself:

Aim: Create a money plant for yourself – A huge portfolio that never stops growing.

Method: Divide your income into the following heads:

  1. 25% for wealth creation (investing in the right financial products).
  2. 10% for wealth protection (insurance).
  3. 65% for expenditure.

Be strict: This is the hard part. As I said before, timing is everything. Make sure you do not take out anything from this pool for ten years. Keep investing and forget about it for ten years to see your money plant in full bloom after ten years.

The result: Over a period of time (at least ten years), you will be able to create a portfolio that would give you returns much larger than your monthly salary. Further, this pool replenishes automatically. If you take out 5 lakhs from your flourishing money-pool, it will fill up again in few months!

Isn’t the magic of compounding wonderful?

Top Tip: The creation of a healthy pool depends on choosing the right financial products. If you do not fertilize your plants and check them regularly for diseases, your plants may wilt and not flower well. As a beginner investor, you need a friend, philosopher and guide to lead you on the path to riches. Dr. Celso, with his financial expertise, can help you choose the right products and advise you on maintaining financial discipline for greater rewards.

 

Volatility and Investments

Every investor is made to fear market fluctuations and many-an-investor stay away from investing in equity and mutual funds as they consider market risk to be their biggest enemy.

Undoubtedly, investment returns are closely related to market volatility and investors stand to gain or lose from volatility, however, the thing that savvy investor must understand is that volatility is their best friend in the market.

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Yes, you heard us right. It is a simple concept – if the market doesn’t go up and down cyclically, there will be no opportunities for new investors and sellers in the market.

Here’s why volatility is good for investors:

As the market descends on a downward trajectory, it becomes possible for investors to buy erstwhile high priced shares at low prices. Though many investors take advantage of low prices, they lose their cool if share prices fall further and register a huge loss.

However, in such a case, volatility is not the culprit, but bad investment strategy is. In order to get returns, the entry time and exit time is key. You have to wait for a period of time to take full advantage of the cyclic nature of equity markets. History has proven time and again that whatever goes down comes back up, much stronger. In fact, many funds gave best returns in the five year period post the global financial crisis.

Equity investments have provided returns over 15% over a long term horizon. It is also true that slumps in the market are always followed by recovery and growth. A patient investor understands this and befriends volatility for sound investment strategy.

Key takeaways:

  1. Volatility is the friend of patient investors.
  2. Markets are cyclic in nature. Slumps have historically been followed by growth.
  3. Do not try to time the market. Instead, time your entry into the market.
  4. Align your investments to your goals to plan effectively for the future.
  5. Consider professional financial management services by an expert like Dr. Celso at NaveMarg to have your money working for you.

Advantages of starting early

The early bird gets the worm…and the early investors get the maximum returns!

As with everything else in life, it is best to start early with your financial planning and investments. Even though you may not be earning much at the beginning of your career and may be reeling under the weight of your education loan or craving to buy the most expensive gadgets in the market, nothing makes more sense than fixing an amount (even if small) to be invested monthly from the day you start earning.

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Here’s why starting early would benefit you:

More time to save

While the retirement years may be the last thing on your mind when you begin working, the earlier you start investing, the more time you get to build your retirement corpus. With disciplined investments, you can also realize your short term goals of buying a car, taking an international vacation and even saving up for a deposit to buy a home.

The magic of compounding

Compounding is the most wonderful thing in the world of finances. Compounding refers to earning interest on the interest earned by you by continually reinvesting it. Even a small amount of INR 1,000 invested monthly can make a huge impact on your savings, thanks to the magic of compounding.

For example, 24 years old Xavier starts investing INR 2000 a month at 10% per annum for 15 years. When he retires at the age of 60 years, he has a corpus of INR 579,098.86.

On the other hand, his friend Xach starts saving at the age of 35 years and continues to invest INR 2000 every month at a rate of 10% per annum till he retires at the age of 60 years. When he retires, he has a corpus of 238,032.94.

The above example clearly shows the effect of time and compounding on your investments. By only saving for 15 years at the start of his career, Xavier received a much bigger corpus on retirement than Xach, who invested the same amount for 25 years, but started investing much later than Xavier.

Ability to take more risks

We all know that market linked investments such as mutual funds and equity give much larger returns than conventional debt instruments such as bank deposits, provident fund and the likes. However, market linked investments also pose much greater risks as markets are volatile in nature. When you are young and don’t have many responsibilities, it is possible to invest in high risk instruments and gain from them as you have the advantage of observing the market over a long time period.

Control over expenditure

Old habits die hard. So why not inculcate good spending habits right from the start? When you decide to begin investing early, it means you have decided to take control of your finances early on in life. This also means there are lesser chances of you getting into bad debts in the future or straying from your financial goals.

At NaveMarg, Dr. Celso has been advising investors like you to achieve their financial goals, effectively. Get in touch to take control of your finances, now.

 

A difficult year. Here’s why not to press the panic button

Barely three months into the year, 2016 has seen heavy swinging in the market. As the sensex came down crashing heavily on the heads of the investors, many were tempted to press the panic button and bail out before things got worse.

It is quite natural that the swinging markets swing your heart along. In fact, the joy that you gain from the markets going up is much lesser than the pain you suffer when markets go down. So, is it really worth the heart burn to stay invested when markets are doing the crash n’ burn, possibly leaving you high and dry?

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Before you make a hasty decision, let us review the situation calmly.

The fall down in the recent months is not attributable to any internal factors, but a result of various external events across the world including the situation in China, uncertainty in the Fed rate and the condition in Europe. As predicted by economists, this situation is not going to turn into another 2008 (as the world learnt its lesson well) nor is it going to affect the Indian economy really very harshly. The Finance Minister has repeatedly assured the investors to stay calm.

But leaving everything aside, what does this lowdown mean for the investors? Let’s see:

  • For day to day traders and short term investors, it is not a great phase because markets are expected to dip lower.
  • For medium term investors (3-5) years, there is good possibility to make decent recoveries as volatility is an integral part of the market and what goes up must come down to go up again.
  • For long term investors (over 5 years), the horizon should be bright. As stressed upon in the previous blogs, equities and mutual funds are known to give best returns over long term horizons as risks and returns are averaged out over time.

Prudently speaking, if you can, you must stay invested and wait for the tide to turn. However, if you think you don’t have the appetite for surf-boarding the market, it is certainly hard to reap benefits in that case.

Remember, timing is everything. Stay invested longer for maximum returns on your investments.