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Last Updated : Dec 24, 2015 06:37 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Ten financial goals for new year 2016

Financial freedom frees our soul in the physical world opening a vast universe of opportunities. Here is how to take a step closer to financial freedom in new year.

Mehrab Irani
Tata Investment Corporation

The single most important thing which comes between man and their dreams in the physical world is money. New Year 2016 is approaching very soon and we will be busy making different wows in order to improve our health, social and family life. Now, let us also make 10 goals to improve our financial health through the year 2016 for our entire future lives so that we all achieve financial emancipation. And once we achieve financial freedom, we would be able to live a worry free life, we would be re-introduced to our dreams and get the courage to live our dreams and then achieve our higher self actualization goals.

Let us now understand the ten financial goals for New Year 2016:

Goal 1: You shall strive to increase your current income and make money work for you

I or in fact nobody can teach you to increase your income. God has given each one of us certain unique talent and some special gift. It is upon all of us to recognize those special talents, believe in our own selves, sharpen those talents and convert it into some meaningful gainful income generating venture. Without income there is no scope for financial security but just by having income it does not mean that you will achieve financial independence. And once you start earning, don’t just work for money but make money work for you because if you keep working for money than you will just keep doing that your whole life.

Goal 2: You shall do proper budgeting

In the modern technologically fast changing world, we pay everyone including government income taxes, bank loan EMIs, children school fees, medical bills and even our servants and drivers. But when we draw our monthly budget list, do we put our own name on the list? Do we pay our own selves? Unless one learns to pay himself, money will just come from one hand and go out of another hand without actually entering your pockets. So, make payment to yourself a “necessary expense” and always “pay yourself first” which will be your second financial goal for the New Year.

Goal 3: You shall not merely save but wisely invest money

We shall understand and accept the fact that savers are losers in today’s fast changing currency world wherein they save in terms of paper money whose value keeps depreciating due to more money printing and loses value to inflation. Hence, we would invest in those assets like equities, rental real estate, commodities etc whose value over a longer period of time keeps increasing due to inflation. However, we would realize that these assets move in long term cycles of their own and would never give linear continuous returns.

Goal 4: You shall do proper asset allocation

Asset Allocation is the primary premise for investments. Long term statistical analysis has shown that 90% of the portfolio variability is due to asset allocation while only 10% from investment selection and market timing. For example, say there are 4 major asset classes, viz., equities, debt (fixed income), real estate and commodities (gold). Now, say you allocate 25% to each of the four mentioned asset classes. For whatever reason if tomorrow equity markets were to crash by 10% in one day, your equity value will come down by 10% or to Rs.22.5 but the overall portfolio will just come down by 2.5% or to Rs.97.5. Over a period of time, debt portfolio will earn return which will make up for loss in the equity portfolio. Moreover, when equities fall due to turmoil in financial markets, gold because of its perceived safe haven status might rise which would balance out your overall portfolio performance. Hence, asset allocation would be your automatic portfolio insurance.

Goal 5: You shall not do reckless spending

People spend their time earning that money which they don’t value, take those loans which they can’t repay, to buy those things which they don’t require to impress those people who don’t matter! We shall not save what is left after spending but infact spend what is left after saving and investing. Working for money is a sad way to spend your time which you have in limited quantity for someone else’s money, which is available in abundance. If you keep buying things which you don’t require than very soon you will have to sell the things which you actually need. Reckless mindless spending will lead you to the doors of lifelong financial slavery. Therefore, we shall not fall into the trap of reckless spending; infact we will spend where it is necessary and spend to get rich.

Goal 6: You shall learn the difference between positive and negative leverage

Learn to distinguish between good and bad debt. According to me, bad debt would be that debt which is used to create bad assets or liabilities like car, holiday home, costly vacations which take away money from your pocket. On the other hand, positive leverage would be that which helps you in creating an asset which then puts money in your pocket (income) as well as scope for future capital appreciation e.g. rental property which earns rent, shares which earn (tax free) dividends and both having potential for future capital appreciation. Never borrow to incur a revenue expenditure like foreign trip or bad capital asset like a car, holiday home because they will not only take away money from your pocket in the form of interest payments but also put you into recurring waste revenue expenditure in the form of maintenance of those assets or shall I call liabilities like petrol, repairs, property taxes etc.

Goal 7: You shall take proper insurance protection

Never confuse insurance with investments because investments are supposed to grow your wealth while insurance is primarily for providing you with protection. You shall take proper insurance cover of atleast 10 times your annual after tax expenses (revenue and average of past 3-year capital expenditure). You shall also take proper medical insurance. Before starting to build fresh wealth, it is our duty to protect our existing assets. Assets like house, flat, or car should be insured against accident and natural perils. The event of earthquake or terrorist attack to our flat/ house seems to be remote but the impact of such things could change our financial stability upside down. So protect your house and other major assets with proper insurance.

Goal 8: You shall buy your own house for self occupation

If you already don’t have than you shall look into buying your own house for self occupation in the year 2016 with some bargain and discount from the developer while trying to time it in the middle of the interest rate reduction cycle (because you may not be able to get your house at a discounted price at the lowest interest rate).

Goal 9: You shall not over invest in speculative items

This would include speculative or penny stocks, junk bonds, non cash flow generating commodities like gold or silver and non-revenue generating posh real estate like holiday homes and beach houses. Investments in these can be done only when you have a clear view on the above asset class and expecting to gain from the price movement in it. But, you have to remember that they are speculative in nature and will not go up in perpetuity and hence you should not marry with those investments but sell it when the right time comes.

Goal 9: You shall make a proper retirement plan

If you want to enjoy the same life style which you are currently living even after your retirement or have the joy of bequeathing your wealth to your children then start planning for it today. And be realistic about it – make an estimate of your needs which will keep evolving with your age and time and also consider inflation in your computations.

Goal 10: You shall remember these principles while investing in equities:

Bull and bear markets run for several years. Hence determine the primary trend of the market and don’t generally go against the primary trend
Market is supreme and above everybody - no Government, Central Bank, Industrialist or Operator can alter the primary trend of the market – they can only complicate the wave structure
Once a low is made – it gets and has to be tested once or twice – if it gets tested again and again it means that it was not the low and market is eventually going to break it
Right asset allocation and getting the macro view right are far more important and profitable rather than individual investment ideas
Never invest or trade more than you can reasonably afford to loose
Put stop loss at a logical, not convenient, place and always adhere to it
Cut losses and let profits run. Don’t let a profit get converted to loss
If you wait too long to buy, until every uncertainty is removed and every doubt is lifted at the bottom of a market cycle, you may keep waiting and waiting
Act on your own judgment or entirely on the judgment of another
Tips are for waiters and not investors
When in doubt, stay out and don’t get in when in doubt
Don’t overtrade
Don’t invest or trade based on hope
Learn to accept your mistakes in the market (otherwise market will make you accept it in a cruel way) and then analyze and learn from your mistakes
Wherever possible, trade liquid markets
Don’t believe everything which a corporate official says about his / her company’s stock
When opinions in the market are too unanimous – beware because markets are famous for doing the unexpected
Never be sentimental about an asset class or individual stock
Market is more of an art rather than science
Simple logical things work far better in the market place rather than complex algorithms, theorems, valuations principles, DCF etc
Buy the stocks of companies that have shown consistent growth in earnings and producing those goods / services which people cannot do without
Last but not the least - Never try to catch the top and the bottom because only fools can do it

Learn before you earn, protect before it is taken away from you, budget before you spend, save before you invest, create cash flows as you invest, leverage before it can grow, insure before you risk, love before you die. We are not human beings having a spiritual existence but spiritual beings having a human life. Money is of no use if it does not help us in achieving our higher self actualization goals. When God blesses us financially, we should not raise our standard of living but our standard of giving. When we are ready to give back, the process of receiving automatically begins. Money is a necessary instrument in the physical world to help us grow spiritually. Money may not make us happy but it surely can help us in making others happy. Financial freedom frees our soul in the physical world opening a vast universe of opportunities. People might be ridiculing or making fun of our efforts but we have to remember that if people are not making fun of us that means our dreams are too small. And never believe in the greatest lie which the world will sell you in the name of success – that your dreams cannot be fulfilled. Remember that if you can dream than you can surely achieve it because the divine would never allow you to dream something which you cannot turn into reality. We are all connected to each other at a higher invisible level and when you start working for your higher self actualization goals your soul converges with the soul of the universe and then the Kingdom of Heaven through the hand of the Lord, the power of the sun, blessings of the stars and wisdom of time, all converge and conspire to help you achieve your dreams.

All the very best for a very glorious New Year 2016 and future life ahead.
First Published on Dec 24, 2015 04:53 pm