You’ve got the Power!

With a copy of Roald Dahl, I sit pondering when will the time come to introduce my toddler son to it? In no time, my thoughts meandered…

I attended an amazing interactive session last week for moms. It was about how to become moneywise. In an open chat, moms asked their money doubts – what are different investment avenues, what is more rewarding between bonds and stocks, how not to fall prey to mis-selling, what is more rewarding between bonds & stocks, how much do they need to secure children’s future so on and so forth. The questions kept darting at our lovely speaker Srishti as she gave balanced responses to them.

For me, what stood out was Srishti’s opening talk about how momeys should not be afraid to invest themselves. As a case in point, she narrated how her friend acted on her advice and decided to make some prudent investments. She at first egged on her husband to do it. The busy husband agreed, although could not prioritize investing over a hundred other things. Finally, one afternoon the friend ventured and made her maiden investment online. I heard this and gushed with cheer in my head, almost imagining a victory speech by the friend.

Bet it wouldn’t have been easy for her. Humongous clouds of doubt, questions about the choice of investment, fear of losing the money, inexperience, chances of husband’s disagreement to worries about submitting personal documents – the friend would have battled multiple aspersions. What she did was commendable and a learning for all of us – All of us have the power to accomplish if we have the will (of investing :))

 

Yes we really do!

My second point is ‘Be the Change’. Since we carry so much power, we should use it to be the change. Often future planning and money matters take a backseat with so much going on per day basis. We, as a family put aside money without assessing requirements or following any system.

Momeys can take a step and influence the entire family. We manage the budgets of our homes without even flinching. So, if we consciously try to make financial planning and investing a routine, we will definitely meet with success. Our resolve to invest will be a huge help to husbands who have to bear the burden of saving / investing adequately for present & future and extended future – retirement.

A bright way to look at it is that with a thrust on investing we will also lay a very strong foundation for our children – they will not just benefit from our investments but also develop a keen eye for pay-offs.

Tch tch! Back to The best of Roald Dahl 🙂

Coming soon: The year of the women

The Malaysian government in its 2018 budget has declared the year as the women empowerment year. Below is an overview of the steps it has announced.

  1. Women must occupy 30% on the Boards of Directors of the government linked companies.
  2. Private sector employers to increase their mandatory maternity leave from 60 to 90 days.
  3. Government has proposed a 12 month income tax exemption for women who re-enter the workforce after a break of at least 2 years.
  4. All new office buildings are mandated to have accessible child care at work.
  5. Malaysian government has allocated RM 20 million (apprx. Rs. 32.3 cr. In INR) for women to attend training and entrepreneurship programs.

(source: femalemag.com.my)

When I was reading an article on this, I couldn’t help but feel impressed. The above measures are by no means small. They are clearly chalked out to show visible changes and within a short time frame of 2-3 years. My mind immediately started juxtaposing the situation to India.

The idea is not to get into any sort of feminist or women’s lib spiel. But truth be told, for women to continue in work force and remain gainfully employed after motherhood, aren’t there more detractors in our country?

Well to be fair, I decided to not go by my prejudices and look up a bit. The government in its 5 year plans right from the first one, has earmarked initiatives for women’s economic and social welfare. For example, During the 7th plan period, the Indian Parliament adopted a ‘National Policy on Education 1986’ which included a chapter on Education for women’s equality.

A national perspective plan for women was brought out by Ministry of HRD between 1988 to 2000. There have been schemes like Swashakti, Swayamsidha from time to time in various policy decisions, which would have definitely contributed to women’s cause.

To add, here are some top stats on the website of Ministry of Labour and Employment.

  • As per Census 2011, the total number of female workers in India is 149.8 million and female workers in rural and urban areas are 121.8 and 28.0 million respectively.
  • As per the last Employment Review by Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T), on 31st March, 2011, about 59.54 lakh women workers were employed in the organised sector (Public and Private Sector).

Coming across such measures by government was, I can say, quite heartening. Still a question haunts me, what are the big benefactors for women in workforce in our country?

I tried hard to remember. Sure, I could think of one -The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill in 2016 was said to benefit 1.8 million women. The Bill took India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave after Canada and Norway where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively – a move of a similar calibre to that announced by Malaysian government.

Yes, we definitely need more of those. And then will dawn on us THE YEAR OF THE WOMEN.

 

 

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!