You Live Only Once, Keep it Stress free

Being thankful for what we have is one of the most beautiful feelings. But we often take this positivity too far. Very recently, I was talking to a friend about getting our residential complex insured against Fire. The friend dismissed my concerns saying that I am fretting for no reason and even her building is not insured. At the end of it, I felt like the pessimist in the argument, over-worrying as if hell is just waiting to break on us.

That evening, I read about fire in this high-profile high-rise and immediately called up my friend. It was my turn to make even. Well, not really. The friend conceded to my concern. She said that had it not been for our little chat, she would have brushed aside this news. But not now. She is going to press for fire safety & insurance to be followed to the T in her building.

Great! I thought as I hung up the phone and started reading about why we overlook Contingency Planning. I came across this interesting interview of Author Robert Meyer of the book The Ostrich Paradox – Why we underprepare for Disasters. He called optimism pretty dangerous – “excessive optimism is probably the most damaging one. The idea that triggers action is worry or fear over something bad happening to us, and if it never hits the radar screen, we’re not going to prepare for it. And so the more we ignore worst case scenarios, the more we think that bad things are things that happen to other people & not to us, the less able we are to prepare’’. (Read the full interview here: http://wwno.org/post/why-arent-humans-better-prepared-natural-disasters)

True said the author. We always assume that a calamity won’t hit us. If there’s fire, it would be in another building. If there’s theft, it would be in neighbor’s. If there’s accident, it would be another guy on the road, not us. Due to this, we never equip ourselves financially for the emergencies. However, there won’t be a sane financial plan, unless it accounts for an Emergency Fund.

What is an Emergency Fund?

A Girl Having an Accident

An Emergency Fund is the pool of money that we keep aside for unannounced large expenses so that we don’t have to compromise on living expenses. Emergency could knock in any form like loss of job, major house repair, sudden ailment in family, unexpected travel. The fund should be easily accessible almost like cash since you may not have the time to access investments.

The fund should be 3 to 6 months of your monthly running expenses. For example, if your monthly expenditure is Rs. 1 lac, then Emergency fund should be between Rs. 3 to 6 lacs. Having said this, it is not easy to set aside a large sum just like that. It requires a bit of planning.

How should you create an Emergency fund?

To create an Emergency Fund, you have to do some math. A quick step by step will help here.

  1. Chart your monthly income and expenses: This must include the essentials like rent, fees etc. plus other discretionary expenditures like shopping, movie, eating out.
  2. Set your amount for the Fund:Consider the total of all essentials in a month. That total will give you a sense of how much you need to keep afloat in case of any emergency.
  3. Work out a Saving Plan: To accumulate a large sum, you need to work out a strategy. Evaluate how much is ok to keep aside every month and how long you need to keep saving to achieve the set amount.
  4. Put Emergency Fund in accessible place: The money should be available even at mid night if required. So you can partly keep it in cash, partly in a bank and some in maybe a liquid fund (more on Liquid Fund later).
  5. Stay on Track: You may have a festive month or new (school) session month which may prevent putting money aside but ensure that you are back to saving from next month on. Discipline is key in securing yourself.

I am doing Emergency Fund building for myself and can vouch for the peace of mind I have had lately. After all, it’s one life & those gloomy skies are better off at bay.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/a-girl-having-an-accident_2188407.htm”>Designed by Freepik</a>

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?

Successful habits of a Money Managing Mom

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Money knows no short cuts. It takes an effort if not an army 😊 to accumulate the riches we so desire. Momey-hood is a tough role but no one can do better justice than us at being good money-managers. Here are our absolute best habits for Moms to excel with money.

  1. Ledger of expenses: An account of household expenses keeps the overheads under check. It also motivates to save more by keeping an eye on outflows.
  2. Due-dates: A calendar for all payment due-dates keeps you prepared for any big expenses that can knock down liquidity such as: School fee, Insurance premium, SIPs, Loan EMI, House help salaries, Credit card payment and the like
  3. Saving first rule: A good part of (minimum 30%) monthly income should be first and foremost kept for savings / investments as a rule. The balance should be used up for family’s expenses.
  4. Create separate funds: To fund your wish lists, create small pools such as travel fund, festive shopping fund. This will ensure you plan your recreational expenses and not do them on impulse. You can exhaust these funds and start all over again for your next goal.