Category Archives: Budgeting

Personal Finance Website Update

Nine months ago I did not know what a blog is? Stuck up at home due to a back injury, I was casually chatting up with a geeky friend asking him about how to create a website, purely in jest. “Why don’t you begin with a blog and then see if you can make it bigger”, he said and gave me a link of Blogger.

300 posts later, the dream of translating it into a website seems plausible. Just take a look at what I’ve created without knowing html code! (Well, I can figure out the a href link code, but just!!) Now you know why there’s no post here. I have exported these posts to my website blog

RSS readers are requested to take this feed please: http://feeds.feedburner.com/personalfinanceforeveryone

Personal Finance 2.01: It’s a one stop personal finance website and I urge you to take a test drive. Feedback will be of immense help.

Discussion Forum: It’s a forum where you can discuss all your doubts and questions about personal finance, planning and various products like insurance, stocks, mutual funds, etc.

PF 2.01 Blog: I have started a blog focussed on personal finance and I would invite you to share your thoughts. Let’s have a real conversation of PF going on here.

Weblinks: I am regularly out on the web. When I find a great site I list it here for you to enjoy. From the list choose one of my weblink topics, then select a URL to visit.

NewsFeeds: We have some great news feeds to take a look at. Suggestions are welcome.

Financial Advisors Directory: We invite professional and net savvy advisors to register and provide the information needs. This one is a first in India to the best of my knowledge.

The design stage will take another two months after which I’ll be ready to go live. The real action begins only after then. Wish me luck.

Power and Magic of Compounding

Simple maths tell us more about the power of starting early and investing regularly rather than any rants. Check out this simple calculator by Hugh where he gives an option to compare two savings/investing options.

I have taken the following case:
Case 1: You start now with a yearly investment of Rs 1000 and stay invested for 40 years.

Case 2: You start after 20 years from now but invest Rs 2000 instead for 20 years.

In both the case, the amount invested is Rs 40,000. Assuming a common growth rate of 10% in both the cases, in case 1 , the accrued balance works out to Rs 442,593 . The accrued balance in case 2 is Rs 114,550.

Why don’t you work it yourself and take away your learnings.

Financial Literacy Drive Treasure Post

This post links to a treasure trove of information on personal finance. Actually, April was National Financial Literacy Month in the US and JDR (GetRichSlowly) has the ultimate collection of posts covering everything on Personal Finance.

Other than the 20 posts linking to the literacy drive, he also links to his popular articles and the websites which provide such information. Maybe it’s all dry information, but you can do well to bookmark that post and keep coming back to it. It’s dry, but important for you. Why? Look at the following questions and then decide.

How much do you know about money? Have you learned about the power of compounding? Do you know how the stock market works? What is a bond? Can you tell the difference between an Income Statement, a Balance Sheet, and a Cash Flow Statement? Do you even know why you would want to?

Do you know how to keep a budget? Do you understand how your taxes are used and why we pay them? Do you know what it takes to purchase a house? How much insurance do you need?

Head on to this treasure trove. Even though some posts are US specific, the concepts are useful and important to learn.

Tips on Financial Planning and Budgeting

Getting rich is in your hands, nobody else’s . So get started with working hard or smart (depends on you again), adding to your finance knowledge and generally taking responsibility for yourself. Get Rich Or Die Trying.

If Financial decisions look like rocket science to you and Investing is even more daunting, here are some baby steps for you.

This one is from Deborah Fowles, Guide to Financial Planning in About.com Seems very elementary but I doubt how many people are scoring more than 5/10. Here it goes, the top ten:

1. Get Paid What You’re Worth and Spend Less Than You Earn : Hey, I get less than what I deserve and so do you!! And I’ve not done any budgeting so that I may be sure of the second part.

2. Stick to a Budget : I’m ashamed, no budgeting exercise for myself, not to speak of sticking to one.

3. Pay Off Credit Card Debt: Thank God, I finally get a score on this one. I’ve managed to stay clear though I’ve had to suffer with the agonising interest calculations earlier.

4. Contribute to a Retirement Plan: I do have a pension plan but I’ve never cared to figure out whether it is sufficient! Will give 1/2 for that one to me.

5. Have a Savings Plan: Yeah ,I’ll be partial to myself and give some score here too! I do save about 15% of my income though it’s a recent phenomena. Better late than never!

6. Invest! : Pretty straight forward. But few people manage to find an hour for that in a week. They’ll rather watch TV(Big Boss is on these days!)

7. Maximize Your Employment Benefits : A meeting with your HR guy!! Brace yourself. I have no hope with my guys.

8. Review Your Insurance Coverages: Putting a finger on that is important from the family point of view. Those of you without that responsibility can breathe easy on that count. But I get full marks here!

9. Update Your Will: Never thought about that up till now. Bless Ms Fowles.

10. Keep Good Records: I will, as part of my New Year resolutions. But I’ve yet to get started on that. Next Monday, I promise.

Phew!, I score about 4/10!! So much potential to improve!!

But before I sign off, for guys who suddenly want to get started with their budgeting exercise, here are percentages of major spending categories from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2003) Consumer Expenditure Survey. May not apply to you and me but it’s an interesting statistic anyway. Gives you an idea where you stand and where you can increase/decrease your expenses.

Food at home 7.7%
Food away from home 5.4%
Alcoholic beverages 1.0%
Total food and drink 14.1%
Housing 32.9%
Apparel and services 4.0%
Vehicles 9.1%
Gasoline and motor oil 3.3%
Other transportation 6.7%
Healthcare 5.9%
Entertainment 5.0%
Personal care products and services 1.3%
Reading .3%
Education 1.9%
Tobacco products and smoking supplies .7%
Miscellaneous 1.5%
Cash contributions 3.4%
Personal insurance and pensions 9.9%

Work on your Budget sheet for two hours and it’ll tell you a lot about yourself. Look at it as a personality test!!

And yes, Taxquery wonders how any financial planning can be successful without tax planning. He’s dead right. Go to his wonderful blog for tons of info on Taxes

Become a Crorepati in 30 months

Gaurav’s post on the 30 things he wanted to do before he’s 30 was a brave one. I wondered at his bravery and wished him all the best only to land up in trouble myself 🙂 He wants a way to build a Networth of 1 Crore before he’s 30 and now wants me to find it. 😦

Gaurav’s target of becoming a crorepati is brave but also bordering on being foolhardy, I think. To top it, he wants to start with a seed capital of only Rs 2 lacs and a monthly infusion of Rs 20000! This way he will need to grow his money at an outstanding rate of 200% annually!!

Impossible. Or could be there some way? Legal, ofcourse.

Very recently I read a book, The Big Idea, which ends with the following Goethe’s couplet: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Here in this blog I have been talking about Mutual Funds, Real estate, Bonds, ULIPs and ETFs. All of them do not pass muster when it comes to giving a return Gaurav wants. What about stocks? Yes, there are stocks that have given that kind of return in the past. But how to identify those stocks who would do the same in the next 30 months? Nobody knows those stocks. So is there still a way?

Now Gaurav says that he has avery high risk appetite. That should essentially mean that when he has invested in shares that he expects will zoom and those share prices drop 30% soon after he buys them, he will average his cost by buying more. Letus assume that he is willing to take the volatility for the desired growth and he is confident of his decisions.

Moving on that assumption, Stocks can give you that growth. But since we cannot identify the 5-6 stocks that will give a growth of 150-200% over a period of 30 months, we need to ride the waves on the stock market.

The first magic happened today morning when I looked at a blog/site that I had been avoiding (Because I understood little of that). It’s EagleEyeTrade by Rajeev Mundra.

Talking to Rajeev who runs a Technical Trading seminar too, I did some number crunching. Assuming a challenging but realistic goal of 10% growth every month, a starting amount of Rs 6,25,000 will become Rs 1.09 crore after 30 months. Vow!!!

Atleast, theoretically it’s possible. Ofcourse it will take a lot of guts (time & energy too). It depends on Gaurav’s risk appetite. And Rajeev’s expert guidance. If you ask me, the guys can do it. I wish them Good Luck.

For the first time I’m putting a disclaimer. Here it is: Ideas posted on the blog are educative in nature and must not in any way be construed as advice or recommendations. Investing/Trading in financial instruments is risky. This blog cannot be held liable in anyway for losses incurred.

Take Responsibility for Your Finances

Slideshare is a wonderful way of sharing your slides and powerpoint presentations. It is a place to share and discover slideshows. You can embed the slideshows in your blog, tag, comment and have fun.

I have embedded a presentation I have made on “Taking responsibility for your finances”

Click here for the slides

What do you have to say? Please subscribe by Email or Feeds

What is Finance all about?

FINANCE looks daunting. For me too.

I was in Rishikesh a few years back in the winters and one old resident told me, “The water is warm when the Sun has not risen. Try it”, with a straight face. Next morning, it was pretty dark when I waded into the “warm waters” of Ganga. Boy, Oh Boy! I did not expect the old man to be so cruel!! 🙂

But I had the bath of my life. It was invigorating and real fun! I came back and thanked the old man who had tricked me into that chilled out experience.

What’s that experience to do with Finance, you’ll say. Well, I’m an old man by some standards. (This should also mean that I’m young by other standards:). And I want you to have fun with Finance.

Let’s take a look at what Finance means and I’m sure you will find it Fun, Interesting, Nasty, gives an Advantage, Not Precise, Creative and Exciting.

Finance itself has a very wide meaning and it encompasses Business Finance, Personal Finance and Government Finance in general. We will focus on Personal Finance only.

Your questions in personal finance would revolve around the following:

  • How much money will be needed by you at various points in the future?
  • Where will this money come from (e.g. savings or borrowing)?
  • How can you protect yourself against unforeseen events in your lives, and risk in financial markets?
  • How can family assets be best transferred across generations (bequests and inheritance)?
  • How do taxes (tax subsidies or penalties) affect personal financial decisions?
  • Your Personal financial decisions will involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement. Personal financial decisions may also involve paying for a loan.

    Phew! Are you prepared to wade into the”warm’ waters of Finance? Welcome. Why don’t you subscribe by Email or Feeds We can travel together.