Just as the right food habits create good health, correct investment habits create wealth. In India, women making investments is considered risky and they themselves adhere to this patriarchal belief. Look no further than our very own Grandmas and you will realize that women are not only good at shopping (read bargaining) but also our DNA is wired to stash away emergency funds. Here are 5 time tested money rules to help you save money and create wealth.
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You must have heard your mother saying that she could buy a fortune with Rs. 1000, say 30 years ago. Today you can’t even get your groceries with it. This is nothing but inflation and it can reduce the value of your money unless you invest it in right assets.
The moment we women talk of investing money, we think of gold. Let me break it to you, ladies, that gold isn’t exactly the most productive investment. It doesn’t give an ongoing return.
There is a bigger taboo in selling ‘Dhan Laxmi’ in India than the beliefs around acquiring it. Simply put if you have to invest Rs. 100 put no more than Rs. 5 in gold.
Invest in assets that have potential to grow so they provide you a cushion against inflation. In this blog we start by discussing the first 5 thumb rules of wealth creation:
1. Pay Yourself First: As simple as it sounds this rule can be a challenge even to the most money savvy. What it means is that right from the day you earn your first salary start saving for your retirement. According to experts at least 10% of your income should go into retirement fund and as you earn more over the years you should increase this amount proportionately.
2. Live Within Your Means: You have heard this before, yet due to pressures of living for social media many women furiously insist that they have no choice but to take that extravagant holiday or buy those luxurious shoes. My suggestion is to stay focused on what you need not what you desire. Remember, you can either look rich or be rich. To accomplish both you have to live a long prudent financial life.
3. Pay your debts ASAP: Use the popular snowball method when it comes to paying off the debt on your credit cards. Pay the minimum balance of all credit cards irrespective of the total amounts due. Thereafter, arrange them in order of highest to the lowest due and try clearing the dues of the smallest amount completely. Focusing on paying off the smallest amount will encourage you to move on to clear the next bigger one and you will soon be enjoying a debt-free life.
4. Emergency Fund: Getting out of debt does not mean doing so at the cost of an emergency fund. You should maintain an emergency fund that is 4-6 months of your monthly expenses. In today’s uncertain life the Emergency Fund is your Plan B to meet any financial crisis that comes in form of unemployment, debilitating disease or prolonged illness.
5. Time is NOT money, Money is TIME: Time is a non renewable resource in our life. Once it is up, it IS up. Money is also a precious resource. We spend time to earn money, at the cost of being away from our loved ones. So be judicious with where & how you spend your money. You can either shop with it or invest it. Start investing early and bring the power of compounding interest to build passive income for yourself.
In my next blog, I will take you through next five thumb rules of wealth creation & discuss investments every woman must make to create a strong financial portfolio.
(Deepti Goel is an Investment Adviser. She helps spread financial literacy through SLAP's on-ground & online campaigns.)