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Are You Ready With Your Financial To-Do List For 2019? - Outside View by PersonalFN

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Are You Ready With Your Financial To-Do List For 2019?
Jan 3, 2019

On the last night of 2018, my friends and I gathered for a house party to bring in the New Year. Before the party started, the conversation revolved around how disappointing the year 2018 was and we wished 2019 would be better.

Being a financial writer, everyone wanted to hear what I had to say as most of them admitted it was financially a bad year for them. I asked, 'Did you make a financial to-do list and follow it diligently?

I knew their answer even before they responded, as each one whirled their heads to look at the other with the same expression of denial.

I explained that having a financial to-do list helps sort out your finances and keeps your investments in the pink of health. Let's look at what should you include in your to-do list.

  1. Evaluate your financial status:

    Begin your year by assessing your finances. It will make you aware of your current financial status. Then, match your cashflow and check if you need to make a more stringent budget for optimum savings and better investments or if everything is on track to achieve your financial goals.

    Also, keep a track on your debt proportions. Ideally, your total debt outgo (including all the EMIs) should not exceed 40% of your gross income.

  2. Set new goals:

    Once you learn about your financial position, you can set new goals for your new year. Ask yourself these questions:

    What do I want to achieve in the current year?

    What do I want to achieve in 3-5 years?

    Do I want to buy a new car?

    Whatever goal you set, ensure its Specific + Measurable + Adjustable + Realistic + Time-based.

    Some people prefer to keep it simple when they think of goals.

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  4. Ensure that you have a regular savings plan:

    Investing small amounts regularly in mutual funds will be light on your wallet and reduce the burden of investing a huge sum at one go. If you choose systematic investments via direct route from your pay check, you won't miss out on saving and investing for your long-term benefit of wealth creation.

  5. Try to reduce debt burden

    When you reduce debt, you save and invest more for a blissful retirement. Avoid getting into any debt obligations, it might prove to be detrimental for your financial health. Especially in cases where you might be unable to pay the monthly repayments.

    Make sure you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Repay your Credit card debt in timely manner. In case you delay by a month, you will land up paying more as credit cards charge the highest interest rate - which could be a huge loss in the long run.

    Although getting a loan is quick and easy, loans and financial obligations must always be taken seriously and repaid in due time as any default on the payments can harm your credit rating and ability to seek loans in the future.

    Be smart with your loan repayments with auto-pay options you can pay your credit dues and EMIs. This timely payment will increase your credit rating.

  6. Pay bills on time:

    Remember, paying your utility bills on time can earn you credit points and in turn reflect a good credit score. So, bank smart with auto-pay options to pay all your utility and credit card bills. Under this option you can store the billers' details, and the bill amount will be automatically debited from your account whenever the bill is generated the following month. Hence, you need not worry, as the system records your bill cycle naturally.

    Once your bill payments are paid online, you can easily track your expenses and tweak them as and when needed.

  7. Build a rainy-day fund

    It is prudent to account for six months to two years of regular monthly expenses (including EMI on loans). So that, you do not have to burn a hole in your pocket, if you lose a job, have a medical emergency, or any unfortunate event that happens most unexpectedly. This may tamper with your other financial goals and ruin your financial health.

    Put money towards a contingency fund that will help you in case of emergency so that your goals are not derailed.

    Watch this video to know how to build a contingency reserve:

  8. Link your Aadhaar to PAN:

    The Supreme Court has passed a judgement to mandatorily link Aadhaar to PAN. So, do this before the extended deadline of March 31, 2019 ends. If you miss it then post the deadline, the PAN will be considered as an invalid document, as per Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act.

  9. Be prudent with your taxes:

    Note the deadline for all the tax saving reimbursements and claims from your employer. Ensure that you submit all the relevant documents for proof to avail the tax saving benefits and to avoid higher tax deductions. Also remember to file your ITR on time to avoid paying penalty for belated filing of your ITR.

    If you made a mistake last year, ensure that you rectify it by filing a revised ITR before March 31, 2019 deadline ends. From this year onwards, the government has reduced the time limit for filing belated ITR from two years to one year.

    This year as a part of your tax saving exercise, look beyond the Section 80C. There are various ways in which you can save taxes. Hence, efficiently do tax planning.

  10. Start planning your retirement:

    If you want to retire rich, then implement the rule of saving money --'pay yourself first'. It is a prudent practice to set aside a percentage of one's income towards savings before using the money for other things, including paying bills. The thumb rule is to save at least 10% of your income, towards your retirement .

  11. Seek professional advice:

    The one aspect that goes a long way in helping you start a wonderful journey of wealth creation is seeking professional advice. Sometimes you may overlook certain aspects when you create a plan on your own or lack some skill-set. Therefore, it is advisable to pay for expert advice

To conclude...

The discussion ended as we entered the New Year 2019. My friends realised how to rectify the financial mistakes they made last year. They thanked me and decided to seek PersonalFN's Financial Guardian on 022-61361200 or write to info@personalfn.com.

You may also fill in this form and our experienced financial planners will reach out to you. PersonalFN is a SEBI registered investment adviser. We will be happy to help you.

PS: Are you looking for "high investment gains at relatively moderate risk"?

PersonalFN offers you The 2019 Edition of PersonalFN's Premium Report, "The Strategic Funds Portfolio For 2025"

In this report, PersonalFN will provide you with an Ultimate Strategic Ready-made Portfolio based on the core and satellite approach of investing of its top equity mutual.

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Happy Investing!

Author: Aditi Murkute

This article first appeared on PersonalFN here.

PersonalFN is a Mumbai based personal finance firm offering Financial Planning and Mutual Fund Research services.

Disclaimer:

The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

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