We invest to safeguard ourselves for a rainy day. If you’ve just started investing or want to start, then you could use our 7-step plan to become your own investment consultant!
Managing your investments becomes easy when you make it a habit to save, even if it’s very little money. You need to keep a meticulous account of personal income versus expenditure on a monthly basis before you start investing. Here are some steps you can follow:
Step 1: Create a budget and track your expenses
A budget helps you identify problem spending areas and also helps regulate your cash flow. Tracking your expenses against the budget helps you control spending and free up cash to clear existing debt and save for retirement or your child’s education. For example, your budget allocation includes a certain amount for groceries for a week. You discover on comparing that amount against actual expenses that you have overspent on buying additional items that you did not really need. This will caution you against making similar expenditure next week and at the end of the month, you will end up saving money!
Step 2: Pay off your existing credit card debts
Are you surprised that paying off credit card debt is a step towards investments? Credit cards charge a high amount of interest along with the principal repayments. When you clear this amount, you‘ll be glad to realize that all the interest amounts and late fees you paid to credit cards can be utilized for your savings and investment program.
Step 3: Save effectively for a rainy day
Emergencies often arrive unannounced. Ensure that some money is set aside to cover monthly expenses for at least three months. These funds should be invested or set aside in instruments that can be readily accessed should you need cash. For example, keep these funds in a savings account in a bank or invest in a money-market mutual fund.
Step 4: Design a disciplined savings program
You can open a recurring deposit account. In this case a particular amount from your income gets deposited every month for a fixed tenure. You can also invest in a series of fixed deposits (FDs). For example, if your cash reserve is USD 24,000, this amount can be divided into six FDs of equal amounts, each with a 6-month maturity. At the end of 6 months, you’ll have a fixed deposit maturing every month. You can continue to roll them over to create a source of regular income and minimize risk.
Step 5: Invest in education, pension, and retirement insurance plans
You can get life cover, education cover and save for retirement when you invest in insurance. Besides this, you get tax exemptions to reduce your current tax payout. For example, you can invest in the insurance plans which offer not only life insurance, but riders for investment of the premium amount so that you get good returns when you retire.
Step 6: Buy yourself your dream home
Investing in a house is one of the best investments you can make. First, your payments towards interest and real estate taxes are tax deductible. Second, your property increases in value over time.
Step 7: Invest in a diversified investment program or systematic investment plan
Your risk tolerance level goes a long way in defining your investment approach. If you’re not averse to taking risks, then you may want to invest in an equity based mutual fund. Else, you may want to invest in a plan that involves bonds and other safe securities. Also, ensure that you keep in mind your investment objectives before you subscribe to an investment plan.
Do you have tips and/ or tried and tested plans for managing finances effectively? Do you have your own version of a 7-step plan? Do share it with us!
Monday, January 10, 2011
7 steps to better investment planning!
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