Don’t lax, pay your tax

Momeys.. Bet your lists are going berserk with holiday season approaching. For a lot of us, travel would be on cards. A flurry of hosting to playing guests at weddings & parties will take up time. Add to that the pressure of turning out your best – a few salon visits & shopping trips – there goes any possible free time out of the window. But no one’s complaining. After all December is a time we all love waiting for.

Now having looked at literally the brighter side 😊, this post is to remind about the money that shouldn’t fall prey to taxes. We have seen from very close quarters, fellow momeys have heavily procrastinated, only to loose money to tax.

November-December can be busy time but it shouldn’t come at the cost of tax planning. For those in mid to high tax brackets, this is a great time to take stock. Here are simple steps to approach tax planning:

1. Calculate your year’s taxable income. For eg. If you have rental or interest income in addition, add it to your salary.

2. Determine your tax bracket

3. Check if you have any deductible investments like Home loan payments, life insurance, PF contribution, PPF etc. Under 80C, you can get tax deduction upto 1.5 lacs.

4. Check for any shortfall in the deduction limit of 1.5lacs. If the tax free investments are not totalling to 1.5 lacs, you need a tax plan.

5. Revisit your financial goals. If your money requirement will be soon, you will have to look at lesser tenure options.

6. You believe in No risk – No gain? Momeys if you want utmost safety of your capital, choose safe fixed income options like PPF or FD. If minor volatility doesn’t bother you, you can take some risks with market linked options like NSC, ELSS.

7. If youYou want higher returns, then zero down on NSC or ELSS. (ELSS would be our choice)

8. Save your investment proofs in a folder. While filing taxes, you will need the proofs handy so ensure you keep them easily locatable.

9. Invest because today is the best day. The sooner you finish tax planning and have your choices ready, go ahead and make a purchase. Often delay in investing leaves you in lurch when employer’s HR asks for proofs. For lack of proof, they deduct tax from salaries. You could totally avoid such rude shocks.
In the end, all we can say that is every money cautious person is taking stock of their tax liabilities ahead of the spending season . Are you too momey?

​Buy & Cry, the traditional approach on purchasing Gold!

Hey Momeys, hope you had a great Diwali filled with loads of shopping, feasting, dressing up and gossiping!

As we get back to our normal routine lives, the feeling that the festival is over takes over. While I was trying to keep up with my little one this afternoon, my neighbour came in with her daughter. Kids started playing, leaving us to do what we do best – gossip! She showed me her recently bought beautiful gold earrings and then narrated the long story behind it. She told me how she and her husband went to a branded jewellery store to buy gold bangles on Dhanteras, as a tradition, but ended up buying these earrings.

They went to the store in late afternoon to avoid the festive rush but could not escape the buzz. She was clear that she wanted to buy bangles for her but the store was so crowded that each sales person was handling around 6-7 families at a time.  The more she tried to inquire, the harder she got pushed back. Amid this chaos, finally she had to settle for gold earrings as she needed to buy something atleast on the ocassion of Dhanteras. Well, their hardship didn’t quite end there; they had to spend an hour and a half to pay for those earrings before they could leave the store. The worst part of her story was that even after taking all that trouble she didn’t like the earnings and was repenting her decision of not buying the bangles.

Now she wanted to know our side of story – what we bought on Dhanteras and from where. I said well my husband bought gold ETF during his tea break in office. We bought 99.5% pure gold within 5 minutes sitting miles away from the maddening rush at the Jewellery stores!! Her next obvious question was how we did pooja without the physical gold? Well we took the print of our account statement – after all we are moving towards Digital India!  She was completely stunned!!

Here’s quick maths for all of you to show the cost difference between my gold & my neighbour’s gold:

She paid Rs. 32,966 [including making charges (10%) + GST (3%)] for 9gms of 91.6% (22k) pure gold (P.S. and she didn’t like what she bought)

We paid Rs. 25,026 [including the brokerage charges (0.75%)] for 9gms of 99.5% pure gold

Apart from the costs involved, another major difference was our motives behind buying the gold – Mine was to invest in gold for my daughter’s wedding (she’s 5 right now) and hers was to buy anything made up of gold for Dhanteras. So what was your motive for buying gold Momeys? Hope your purchase did not make you cry. Just have to buy smart!

Have you planned for your child’s future?

Diwali storms up the social whirlwig; food, dress up and meet up is all on cards. The usual worry of how to keep the kids gainfully occupied is thankfully averted during such catch ups. They find playmates and enjoy their time, which for us parents is a huge load off.

 This diwali, we too had some great fun socializing. A new parent couple among our friends got talking about how responsibilities are keeping them engaged. Life has been very different after their child’s birth and one responsibility they can’t get a handle on is money planning. More discussions among the group led to finding out that it is a rather widespread question, parents are grappling to figure. It obviously became imperative that a blog post covers the topic of planning our children’s future.

Before setting out on a task, we have to understand what is it going to achieve. So parents unanimously voted Education and Marriage as goals to work for. Both are gargantuan expenses and require disciplined action. Depending on your age, children’s age, your risk profile, choice of education field and costs involved you will have to ascertain a sum required after a said amount of time. We are mentioning the tools you can use for investing. 

SIP

When you keep a horizon as long as your child’s growing up years, SIPs in small to mid cap funds and balanced funds are your best bet. They let your money gain with the benefit of compounding year on year. For those with some risk appetite, consider funds which invest a considerable part in equities of growing companies. Balance funds are slightly less risky because they have equity and debt (such as term deposits, bonds) instruments both.

For the uninitiated, SIP is Systematic Investment Plan better known as ‘the good EMI’. You invest every month a fixed sum as small as Rs. 500 into a mutual fund. The fund is managed by a team of experts and they in turn invest in various instruments to generate returns. We have more posts on MFs coming momeys 😄


Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
This has to be our favorite for those who have daughters. The scheme encourages parents to build a fund for the future education and marriage expenses for their female child. The scheme currently provides an interest rate of 8.3% p.a. (new rates are likely to be announced). It allows deposit upto Rs. 1.5 lacs in the name of your daughter every year and it matures when she reaches 21 years of age. You can either choose monthly or yearly contributions. Momeys should absolutely consider monthly contribution!

Insurance

Well it’s not our favorite, but we have to bring it into discussion to give you our reasons. If you search online for children investment options, you will find a gazillion ads by Insurance companies luring you with child plans. What should you do? Well our advice would be to ignore. They are mostly selling ULIPs to you which are far inferior in returns to mutual funds and charge expensive premiums. You might as well directly invest in MFs through SIP.

However, we have to add that you must take insurance, as life cover to safeguard your family and children in an unlikely event.

Gold ETFs

Gold ETFs are exchange traded funds that passively track the performance of Gold Bullion. These funds buy gold with investor’s money (on the behalf of investors) and convert it into units. 

Gold Exchange Traded Funds can also be an option if you want to invest for using them during marriage. These are traded on stock markets and are a great alternative to physical gold.

With children, you wouldn’t want to take a chance. So invest today for their tomorrow.

The Corporate Mom

Hello Moms! This is our part 2 in the Millennial Mom series. I am sure you recall our first one was The Media Mom.

To get started, I remember a discussion that dates back in time when I was a salaried employee. I was discussing my tax plan or rather the lack of it with another female colleague. I thought I was in pits as far as my investments were concerned, but to my utter surprise, my friend said that she has never made a single investment on her own. “There is something done by her husband on CA’s advice”, were her words. At that point, we were joined by another team mate and a senior, and the all women’s team shared their investments. A 5 year FD and real estate respectively were spoken of as their investments. But when asked, why these instruments, for what time horizon, what would be their future money requirements be like, these questions drew a blank. 

Now, Moms let me profile these women. Working millennial moms, married to high pressure jobs, over worked most of the times, all very well paid. Academically, management degree holders, fitness lovers, keen readers, well turned out, well travelled, conscious eaters and aware parents. Wouldn’t you expect them to be on top of their finances? But here’s the truth, they may have been HNIs along with their spouses but they were clueless about wealth creation.
Just like my colleagues, there are many millennial moms who have high disposable incomes but lack of awareness, interest and time add up to their financial ignorance. 
So there! We are sharing investments that the uninitiated can consider. These are overall recommendations which can aid in wealth generation and tax planning. However we do encourage our Corporate Mom to take help of a professional financial planner.

Emergency Fund: This is a critical element that we all must pay heed to. All the planning may go for a toss if we don’t keep an accessible emergency fund. Keeping all the money invested with a long term view may not be the best idea since exigencies can come down as a hard reality.

You should consider your 3 to 6 months expenses in emergency fund. If you are savvy about growing your money, then you can park the emergency funds in short term debt funds.

ELSS Funds: Equity Linked savings schemes are an ideal tax saving tool which can give better returns than traditional tax saving schemes. These are essentially tax saving mutual funds that come with a 3 year lock-in.

PPF: For those who are risk averse can invest in PPF for its tax efficiency but declining interest rates are definitely playing dampener on the returns. Plus a 15 year lock-in is a long enough horizon to get above-moderate returns from market linked products.

Mutual Funds: The equity markets have been climbing charts for the last few years. MFs have also been doing well therefore. Since MFs are professionally managed by a team of experts, they can be the best vehicle for working people. You don’t have to monitor market movements everyday basis. 

New investors with a long term horizon should start with large cap funds or balanced funds. 

The most preferred way for the salaried is Systematic Investment Plan better known as SIP. We will speak about it in detail in a following post.

Term Insurance: An important part of financial literacy is life cover. However due to misspelling and ignorance, it is not emphasized enough. Term Insurance is the protection that all income generators should take to cover for their lives in case of any uncertainties. It is a must for the Corporate Mom who makes a crucial contribution to household income.

In addition to above, working moms can also invest a small portion in Gold ETFs or if keen, then dabble in Equities with a long term view.

In the end, all we can say is investments don’t take as much time as we think. Moms and all women should consciously take steps towards investing. Remember Earning for Spending is not the deal, Earning for Growing is.

Checklist: How not to go broke this Diwali

It’s that time of the year when we all say Mera waala Pink.. We are feverishly preparing. Starting with Ganesh Chaturthi, followed by Durga puja, Diwali and right till Bhai Dooj, its packed with festivals. 

To give you a dekko of what all has played on our minds, here’s a cheat sheet of to-dos:

● New upholstery and wall painting

● Cleaning and home decor

● Sweets and savouries – home made and purchased

● Clothes 

● Gifting

● Pooja essentials and crackers

● Hosting a card party and attending a few 😄

This fervour is not going to leave anyone untouched. To achieve all this, major spends will happen. 

I recollect last festive season came as a big learning for a friend. Saying she went overboard in prep, would be an understatement. Some hasty swipes and she was up against massive credit card bills. Soon the festivals were upon us and she was having a delusional celebration owing to money worries.

To prevent from getting carried away, here’s is a checklist everyone should run past.

1. Have you checked inflow (salaries, bonuses received) vs. outflow (fixed expenses, bonuses paid to support staff or house help)? 

2. Have you made a festival shopping budget?

3. Have you made a list of people you need to gift?

4. Are there things you can up-cycle from some other time – especially clothes / gifts / crackers

5. Have you considered saving / investing a part of your diwali bonus?

6. Can you recycle the ethnic attire in the upcoming wedding season?

7. Are you ditching physical gold purchase for ETFs or a child plan?

8. If bringing home a new car, have you paid maximum possible down payment to keep EMIs reasonable?

9. Have you regularised your festival leaves with your boss to avoid loss of pay?

10. Can you manage yourself rather than calling for professional services like home cleaning, decorations and catering?

A motley of measures can save you the post celebration crunch. Have a happy Diwali Momeys! 😊