Stairway to personal finance

Stairway to personal finance

Our Indian culture has so many instances that teach us about various important aspects of our lives. Today, I am going to tell you one such Legend of “Paal Payasam”(Rice Pudding).

Long ago, there was a king who loved playing chess. Once, he challenged a traveler sage to play Chess. He was ready to reward him whatever he demands if he wins. The traveler is a modest guy asked only for some rice. The sage said, “On the chessboard, one rice grain will be placed on the first square, 2 rice grains will be placed on the second square, 4 rice grains will be placed on the third square, 8 rice grains will be placed on the fourth square and so on for all 64 squares”. The king confidently started adding the rice grains as instructed by the sage. He soon realized that on the 10th square, he needs to place 512 rice grains and the number would further grow exponentially making it impossible to finish the task. The sage won and he revealed his true identity as Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna asked the king to provide Paal Payasam (Rice pudding) in his Temple daily.

This story can accurately explain the Power of Compounding. Isn’t it rightly called the 8th Wonder of the world? Just imagine, how compounding can grow your wealth exponentially over a period of time. Let’s find out how we can put this to work.

50/30/20 Rule of thumb for Budgeting

Before we start putting our money to work, we must analyze our financial position. How much is the monthly spending? Can it be reduced? Figure it out first. The 50/30/20 thumb rule can help us with better allocation of our income. It suggests that we allocate 50% of our income to basic needs - Roti, Kapda, Makaan, and Internet. 30% goes to wants which can include hobbies, vacations, shopping, dining, etc. And the last 20% is allocated to savings and investments. This can cater to various financial goals like buying a house, child education, retirement planning, etc. The allocations suggested in this rule can be altered according to one's needs and financial position.

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund must be kept aside in case any unforeseen situation arises. Since such a situation can be unanticipated, the emergency fund should be invested in a highly liquid investment avenue. Make sure you park in an avenue which is promising your principal amount whenever you liquidate.
An Emergency Fund should comprise monthly expenses for the next 6 months. For instance, if the monthly expense is Rs. 30,000, then the corpus should be Rs. 1,80,000 (30,000*6). You can divide the corpus into Recurring Deposits, Fixed Deposits, and Liquid Funds. Apart from that, some portion of the emergency fund should be kept in savings account for easy access.

Start small with SIPs

A Systematic Investment Plan is a tool for investing a fixed sum at regular intervals in an investment avenue. This will gradually increase the corpus and at the same time compounding will work its magic as we discussed earlier. It will also inculcate a financial discipline. Another benefit is Rupee cost averaging. It simply means whenever markets are low you will gain more units and whenever markets are high you will gain fewer units. So, over the period of time, the cost of holding the units averages out. You can start SIP with as low as Rs. 500 or even Rs. 100 in some cases!
Bottom line
Stock markets can be intimidating but it is essential that we first lay down the foundation. One can gradually work their way up in the markets as they learn more about it.
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