5 STEPS TO BETTER FINANCIAL PLANNING
Its pretty simple to grasp but just difficult to stay disciplined to abide by all the things that we know. We would have heard of this probably a hundred times, acknowledged it with a lazy “ah yes thats what i should do” but its always hard to keep it going. I thought I’d share a couple of things I keep in mind when it comes to financial planning and how it has helped me going.
This isnt too difficult to apprehend. More you earn the more money you have. Not really !
Its always the case where your expense follows your income. I still remember when I was earning around $2,000, I had an expense of about $800 — $1000. So naturally I thought to myself, should i earn $10,000 per month, I should be able to save more and gather more wealth. I was wrong.
Money & Mind plays a funny game with you and I realised that as I started getting older & wiser. When you have less money, your mind tells you that you should earn more so that you can save. Once you earn more money, you buy bigger things to better your lifestyle, than your mind tells you to earn even more money because now you have liabilities and a better lifestyle to supplement. Its an endless game. So I realised this can be stopped.
This is the concept; We as a human being have an inate desire to keep growing no matter in which aspect of our life. We are unsatisfiable creatures if you want to put it that way (In a positive way).
I like to name this concept the Droplet. Lets say you have a monthly income of a $1000. You have lots of online resources telling you how many percent to spend on expenses, how much on debt and how much on savings. I like to look at this way. Lets fix the savings and then go about spending to grow your lifestyle and wealth.
Let me clarify the lifestyle portion, if you are not earning much you shouldnt be spending on lifestyle. I used to be spending on branded labels, wasting money on things i didnt need just to impress my peers, spending on lavish dinners and the list goes on. As I start to understand why and when the rich spend, I started getting frugal on trivial things. There were reasons for me to spend on something instead of going on a random spree and finally sinking into my sofa at the end of the day filled with guilt of wasting hard earned money.
Set a percentage that you are comfortable with. But you MUST set a percentage. Transfer or deposit this money into an account that you have little or no access to (Really important). Always remember you have to set this amount aside EVERY MONTH WITHOUT FAIL.
There are a plethora of investment opportunities out there. Equity investments into stocks, forex or programs offered by banks and investment firms. Property investments ranging from land banking to real estate and much much more.
My rule of thumb. If you understand it, invest in it. I have personally burnt more than $150k in these sort of investments over time to know that quick money is no money. If you cant get the answers to your questions about how the investment works, how the returns are paid, how is your capital used or preserved, look for other investment vehicles. Its in fact better kept in the bank for another day than to frantically invest into “investment of a lifetime” opportunities which you have no clue as to whats happening.
Another thing that I always look out for in my choice of investments are that the returns has to have more than 5% per annum. This is so that even if inflation is going to hurt 3% of my money, I am still afloat. I am not recommending that you look for investments with 5% returns annually, do look out for better opportunities. This is just to let you have something in mind when you are doing your selection.
If something pays you lesser than 5% per annum, it better be as secure as heaven. I do also want to share that once your investment quantum reaches above 500k and above, you will have access to investment vehicles that makes you far more than 5% per annum. So do quickly join the bandwagon to make much more.
The idea of refinancing has become popular these days, probably unheard of during the 2005–2008. Its basically to secure better rates for your property mortgage. There are a couple of variations that the packages are offered by banks, some a fixed, some a variable with SIBOR/SOR/Board rate.
Usually we dont bother looking at our bank statements, we just keep paying for the monthly installments thinking our mortgage liability is going down year by year. You should inspect your statements from time to time. Normally once you sign the papers with a bank offering you the loan, the first three years will boast really great interest rates, the % you pay to your principle and % you pay for interest will seem sane. However once you cross the term where the attractive interest rates were in place, the banks have the rights to revise the interest rates accordingly. This is where you can start monitoring the % going towards your principle and interest gets lopsided. Talk to your current bank or other banks to get your interest rates repriced or refinanced.
HOW TO HANDLE DEBTS
Always write down what you owe and what you own. It helps you by giving a picture of your financial status, even if there isn’t going to be much of a change so soon, write it. Your mind will be tuned to address the situation and look for alternatives and opportunities to change it for the better.
Ignorance will be the Mother of all problems when it comes to handling your debt. There is some tact and tips you can employ to get you debt free faster and with much lesser damage.
Identify the debt that you are paying the highest interest and the highest monthly commitment. (Not necessarily the same) Look at alternative loans that charge you lower monthly commitments and interest rates to offset these high blood suckers. It takes a bit of research to do this. You can also choose to offload fixes assets like (Gold,Silver or bitcoins) to settle these sort of commitments. It’s a big decision but it’s far better than paying high interest and losing actual dollars in value
In general debts, rank them by largest quantum to the smallest quantum. It’s scary to look at it at a whole, but address it first and work out a proper payment plan. There are debts that work like line of credit which will keep charging you for outstanding amount and there are fixed repayments over a fixed tenure. I would recommend you find a way to convert as much of your debt to a fixed tenure as although the interest might be slightly heavier, it requires less discipline and attention to follow through.
I truely hope this information would have rendered useful, do feel free to share your comments and thoughts. Thank you !