Key to being Financially Independent in India

We all work right from graduating till retirement for five days a week -sometimes six days – only to spend what we have earned. In the midst of this daily hustle, how much time do we actually devote to plan for financial independence? Hardly any! Is financial independence a plan only for retirement? The answer is NO.

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The first step towards financial independence is to not procrastinate it. A single drop of penny today will contribute to an ocean of financial resource. Then comes the below mentioned road map to a start of a great solo journey of life.

  • Financial planning – First, define clear and realistic financial goals like child’s education or a comfortable retired life. It is critical to factor in inflation while drawing up your financial plan. If you are planning your child’s education, you should be aware that a professional degree that costs Rs.4 lakhs today, is likely to cost around Rs.20 lakhs, 10 years from now.
  • Personal research – While a qualified financial planner can give you investment advice, the importance of doing your own research cannot be undermined. You can rely on credible websites to understand the pros and cons of each financial instrument.
  • Personalized financial plan – A common mistake is to opt for a particular plan simply because others are doing so. An investment plan must be customized according to personal factors such as your risk appetite, financial goals and life-stage needs.
  • Adequate time horizon – It is necessary to align the investment plan and the expected time frame for getting returns out of it. It is irrational to expect immediate returns from long term products like insurance, PPF etc.
  • Risk diversification – A smart investor would always ensure that the risk is distributed over a variety of instruments. A high risk instrument such as, an equity should ideally be balanced with a stable one such as bonds. Your investment portfolio should be a judicious mix of equity, debt, life insurance, real estate etc.
  • Planning for unforeseen events – Along with the current assessment of your future needs, risk of unexpected events must also be factored in. As a woman, it is crucial to be financially prepared to deal with unfortunate events like death, divorce etc.
  • Regularly track your investment – It is common to become complacent and expect the returns to flow in, once the investments are done. However, it is every investor`s responsibility to keep a tab on the performance of their portfolio.
  • Proper paperwork – There have been several instances where an investor is unable to claim returns from a bona fide investment simply because of misplaced or wrongly-filled documents. Proper documentation is a must to safeguard your investments. Also, ensure that someone other than yourself is fully aware of all your investments.
  • Securing your future: As a working member of the family, it is crucial for you to have adequate insurance to ensure that in your absence, your family does not go through any financial stress. Investing in a simple term insurance plan will ensure financial continuity.
  • Plan and execute – Last, but most important is to begin planning for all your financial needs from an early stage. The cost of postponement will weigh heavily on you in the later years when investing will become a compulsion rather than a choice.

In this world of instant gratification, have patience and watch as your pot fills with money one sweat and hard work at a time. Kudos to being financially independent!