Are you in control of your finances? Mani, a 33-year old media executive has a great job, paycheck, perks, rents a decent apartment, drives a sedan, wines and dines at the best hot spots, pays all his bills, but has no clue what he is financially worth, and wonders if he is far behind his peers. Yes it happens to the best of us.
Know what you have
* Add up the balance in your cash in hand, savings accounts, and other investments if any in instruments like fixed deposits, bonds, certificates, etc. Update it at the beginning of every month. Demarcate variable investments such as stocks and funds which vary month to month based on market trends * Value jewelry, property, collections and other such possessions that have a resale value at current market rates and you can revisit this once a year, but do this.
* Note that some assets like vehicles and appliances depreciate (decrease in value) over time. Yet, while they don’t increase spending power, you can turn them into cash. So you can add them to your asset base, but erode it by a 20 % of original value every year.
Know Your Monthly Income
Your monthly pay check.
Income from dividends, interest on deposits,
Income from additional resources such as freelance or part time work if you do them. If it is variable every month, pick an average and make note of it every month.
Know What You Spend
Note down all your fixed bills for the month (rent, interest on loans, utility bills, grocery bills, payout for domestic help, petrol/travel, etc.)
Note variable bills such as eating out, shopping, etc.
Set Your Financial Goals
Knowing what you have and what you have to spend, will help you to define your financial goals, how much more do you want to have and how much more you would want to spend. Put these down, and make your plan on how you can achieve these goals.
In these days of high mobility, there may be some waiting period while moving from one job to another. This problem gets compounded when you are financially weak. How do you ensure that you secure yourself financially?
• Plan for the change in advance by saving more than what you normally do.
• Ideally, you should have 3 to 6 months of salary as savings to take care of your financial commitments during the transition period.
• Ensure that you have covered yourself adequately with medical insurance.
• Keep your credit card liabilities to the minimum so that you will be able to use the credit card limits during your transition period.
• There is of course nothing like minimising the transition period.
• Investing your savings in a combination of investments
•Having returns on monthly basis like units and deposits, and growthinvestments like shares, units can provide capital gains over a period of time.
• Improve your savings, it must be substantial when you don’t have jobsecurity
• If you are receiving any lump sum payments, you may invest them inannuities, which offer tax shelter as well as monthly payments of annuities fromthe end of the period specified by you in such annuity policies.
Spouse decides to pursue higher studies leaving you alone to fend for the family? Time you mastered the art of managing your monies, especially on how to best utilize the limited funds.
Opt for discounts and sales. These are leaner times and you must spend astutely –do set aside some dough for fun times though. Seek aid from your finance wiz pal to draw up a shoestring budget something which won’t make you cringe when the bills arrive. This is the right time to make maximum use of credit cards. Use them to the maximum; you can breeze through the payments once your spouse restarts his job. A word of caution though, don’t over spend.
While a job does provide comfort in terms of getting salary every month and getting good social recognition, lack of a job does not impede the growth prospects, if one is really enterprising. Capitalize on your strengths and opportunities. The world is full of opportunities for those who stretch out enterprisingly.
The most important lesson one has to learn is that one should not become despondent and lose morale, if he finds himself without work in the present scenario of downsizing of operations even by well-known organizations. Instead generate income by exploiting the existing resources. Remember: `Where there is a will, there is a way.’