Category Archives: Finance

10 Family Budgeting Misconceptions demystified

Let’s put on our thinking cap!

Depositing our pay cheques in bank and using the credit and ATM card for spending seems easy. However keeping the track of your income and expenses, to get full value for your money is possible only with budgeting. Budgeting helps most of us to keep track of our income and spending and not overspend.

In practice 10 budgeting myths retard the savings of a lifetime. They are:

I earn a lot and need not budget:

This requires a change of perspective. Michel Jackson lived like a king but died awash in $400 million debt.  Budgeting by watching your spending pattern helps trace unnecessary     expenses on clothes or eating out, and help you save for a future or for a much wanted dream holiday.  So how much you earn has got less relevance. What is more important is budgeting. Proper budgeting can make a low income earner to retire richer and overspending can make a high income earner a pauper.

I hold a secure job and see no reason to save:

This does not hold well today with large corporations going in for labor layoff to save costs during recession. Small corporations also put you at a risk with the death of the owner or the company going into losses.

This insecurity demands caution to save for spending during such periods when you are caught unaware, with an emergency fund coming handy.

I am poor in calculations and cannot budget:

With useful tools like spreadsheet that help account for expenses and income earned make the budgeting much easier.  A look at the spending helps avoid unnecessary expenses to budget and save in future. If you are interested one can easily learn budgeting. So if you say ‘I don’t know how to make a budget’, it shows your level of interest and willingness to save for a secured future.

I am lucky; I will never be short of money:

However your ability in meeting high bills and other unpredictable expensive events like life threatening accidents, or a major surgery without experiencing shortage of money may not be always true.

So better save and be prepared to face unpredicted contingencies and then use the savings for something else that you may consider desirable.

I pay my bills promptly and do not need budgeting:

Congratulations I appreciate your credit worthiness, but going into negative balance is also quite easy. You may be self disciplined. It doesn’t mean that you need not make a budget. Preparing a budget makes you much more disciplined and spend consciously. So budgeting with saving helps avoid going into negative balance or overdraft.

Budgeting could lead to deprivation:

Budgeting is not frugal living and foregoing all pleasures like a movie a month and eating out once a week, but it just not allowing your earnings to be not overtaken by your expense.

Everyone is planning to save, planning to invest, but do we have a well thought out plan for spending. A smart spending plan only can lead you to save more.

There is no need to feel deprived with budgeting; it just means saving a percentage of your income spent unnecessarily to have a secured future.

I have small wants and find no need to save:

This need not be a stable attitude in human nature, with you wanting to take advantage of certain financial trends in the market like buying house or land at cheaper rates, or investing at higher rates towards building a bigger retirement corpus.  Hence budgeting helps to save when you do not want money for a time when you could profitably use it.

Your wants may be small but basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing are becoming costlier with inflation. Also you need to take into account your health care needs of the future.

I get rises, bonus and tax refunds and find no need to budget:

I think you have been lucky all these years, however these benefits are highly unpredictable and placing ones hopes fully on them is futile. It is better to budget and save than depend on unpredictable benefits like bonus, raise and tax refunds. The recent recession has taught us a lesson to all of us which we should not forget easily.

Budgeting and your future

Take charge of your future now. Budgeting is the first step towards controlling your financial destiny. Don’t let your unconscious spending habits decide your financial destiny.

The author is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.
Views expressed on this website are of individual writers and NOT of the website/blog-owner. Individuals are advised to exercise personal judgement before responding, using or contacting to any post/writer/organization.

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How to Get out and Stay out of Debt?

11 ways to get out of debt and stay out of debt!

Guest Column: Expert-Speak

In spite of steady, regular income there are so many individuals who live pay cheque to pay cheque, carry their credit card outstanding, and fail to save anything for retirement. If you are one of them, now is the right time to take action to come out of debt and stay out of debt. It is not only possible; it is unbelievably achievable.

  1. List down all your debts

    You need to take stock of all your loans. It could be credit card due, personal loan, car loan, housing loan, education loan, loan from FD, loan from insurance policies, loan from your employer and so on. For each and every loan you need to note down how much you owe, the present interest rate, EMI, Number of months to be paid.
  2. Negotiate for lower interest rates

    If you could negotiate the interest rate and bring it down then you can come out of debt faster. Most of the credit card companies come forward for negotiation if you really show interest in repaying. They need not run after you to collect the debt. It will reduce their expenses. So they will be happy to negotiate. Balance transfer offers from credit cards are also a way to reduce your interest rate.
  3. Refinancing and consolidation

    Replacing a loan with another is known as Refinancing. The option of  refinance should reduce your interest rate and it should bring down the time you are in debt. But most often people go for refinance that provides them lower EMI by increasing the time they stay in debt.
  4. Categorise your debt

    Housing loan can increase your net worth over a period of time. Housing loan gives you tax benefit too. For a business man car loan provides some tax benefit. Based on these factors a debt needs to be categorized. This will help us in comparing different loans.
  5. Prioritize your debts

    After sorting out various loans, now we can comfortably prioritize the loans. Obviously this will be based on the interest rates and tax benefits. At times paying off a small loan first can give you a lot of motivation to get out of debt.
  6. Creating and Executing a Debt payoff plan

    You need to create a debt payoff plan with different scenarios. So that you can find out how some more savings or a different repayment order will help you to get out of debt faster. When creating a plan, you need to choose one which is comfortable to your attitude. Otherwise, you may not execute it properly.
  7. Refrain yourselves from applying for fresh loans

    You need to make a vow that you will not be adding any fresh loans, till you come out of all your debts completely. Think for a moment, how you will feel when you become debt free. This will provide you a lot of motivation to come out and stay out of debt.
  8. Postpone buying major assets

    Buying a property or any other assets needs to be postponed till you get out of debt. With your new ownership comes the new, probably large and unpredictable expense. This can make you deviate from your debt payoff plans and at times the consequences could be uncontrollable.
  9. You stop using your credit card

    There are two groups. One group of people uses the credit cards responsibly. That is they will repay the credit card dues in full when they receive the bill. The other group will pay the minimum amount due and carry forward the balance amount due. If you belong to the second group, you need to stop using credit cards temporarily. Take out and keep your credit cards in the locker. Once your financial situation and buying habits improve, then you can start using your credit cards again.
  10. Change your spending habits.

    Being in debt obviously means that you have been living beyond your means. The solution is very simple. Spend less than you earn and you will get out of debt soon. You need to change your spending habits. Then only this simple solution will be achievable. If you buy things you don’t need, you’ll soon sell things you need. Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.
  11. Involve all your family members

    You need to inform all your family members and dependents about your debt status. Then you will be able to take decisions with much more clarity. Moreover, if your family members know about your debt, they will also change their spending habits and support you in getting out of debt faster.

Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. Similarly, you need to stick to your debt pay off plan till you get out of it.

The author is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners(www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.
Views expressed on this website are of individual writers and NOT of the website/blog-owner. Individuals are advised to exercise personal judgement before responding, using or contacting to any post/writer/organization.

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance