31st March has just passed. Was the last month of the gone financial year full of a hassle for you? Do your last-minute tax-saving plans always lead you to invest in the wrong instruments? Well, if your answer is yes, you are at the right place. In this blog, we have brought you tips on how to organize your personal finance in the new financial year.
A book named “Personal Finance” written by E. Thomas Garman and Raymond Forgue defines Personal Finance as the study of resources, both personal and family, that can be considered important from a financial perspective. It involves spending, saving, protection, and investment of these financial resources.
Financial freedom is available for those who learn about it and work for it. - Robert Kiyosaki
Key Aspects of Personal Finance
The reason most people fail in making a successful financial plan is a lack of awareness. Although people make a lot of effort while managing their finances, they often overlook important areas. In this section, we will discuss the 5 key aspects of Personal Finance.
Warren Buffet has said “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving. This is indeed a great piece of advice. You cannot predict when the financial crisis will hit you. Therefore, it is better to remain prepared.
Savings help you to keep calm in such situations and look for a solution. As per experts, your optimum savings should be equal to your six months expenses.
Earlier, the most preferred option for savings was a “Saving account”. However, recently a lot of people are moving towards debt instruments such as liquid funds for saving.
There are a number of reasons for this shift. Foremost, Liquid funds have minimal credit and interest risks attached. Further, you can easily withdraw money in small time. Also, though there is no guarantee, these funds provide you with better returns than your savings account.
As Benjamin Graham said, “Successful investing is about managing risk, not avoiding it”. Many people confuse saving and investing to be the same. Well, they are not.
While investing, you are actually using your money to make more money. There are plenty of investment options available in the market such as mutual funds, real estate, stock market, etc.
To choose the correct investment options organize them into short, long, and mid-term goals. The option best suited for your requirement, horizon, and time frame should be chosen.
As per WHO, financial protection is the heart of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). If chosen well, it gives a safety net to you and your loved ones. The key is to ascertain prepayment and pooling of resources to save you from financial hardship.
Financial protection ensures that these impromptu situations do not hamper your savings and investment plans. Insurance is classic financial protection. Basically, four types of insurance plans are considered mandatory for an individual. They are Term insurance, Health insurance, Mortgage Protection, and Personal accident insurance.
You can save your tax by identifying the right kinds of investments and purchases. In India, there are almost 70 exemptions and deductions that can be used to lower your taxable income.
Section 80C and 80D of the Income Tax act may help you save a lot on your income. Under Section 80C, you can reduce your taxable income by investing in certain tax-saving instruments such as EPF, PPF, NPS, NSC, etc.
On the other hand, Section 80D allows you to save tax on the money you pay as a premium for the health insurance of you and your family.
“Planning for retirement is not something we can put off until a later date. The time to plan is now.” Here Bob Reid has correctly described the need for a retirement plan.
Unless you are planning to become a liability to your kids, you should start planning for your retirement now. This is actually because you never know when you will stop working.
The greater life expectancy and frequent inflations have further enhanced the need for a retirement plan. Investing in sources of steady income can be the best option. Life insurance annuity, rental income, and mutual funds are good options to consider for your retirement plan.
How to Organize Your Personal Finance in the New Financial Year?
Now that we know the key aspects, we are ready to organize our personal finance. We have listed tips to help you organize your personal finance in the new financial year.
1. Start Early
“Haste makes Waste”. If you have tried to plan your finances and investment in the last month of the financial year, you can certainly relate to this statement. During the last-minute rush, not just you but investors are also impatient. Thus, there are maximum chances of making a wrong decision. Therefore, it is better not to wait for March to plan your finances. Starting early helps you to make calculated decisions. Put your financial plan in place in the month of April itself.
If you wish to invest in PPF or SIPs in your equity-linked saving schemes (ELSS funds), better start at the beginning of the new financial year.
2. Plan your Budget
Living within your means is important. Plan your expenditure and savings for the next year in the beginning. Go through your previous year’s income and expenses to make the right decision.
Set your financial goals and decide your cash flow accordingly. If you have received a good bonus, try to prepay your loans, at least partially. Our income and aspirations play a major role in deciding our financial plan.
This would help you to identify your spending. So, you can strike the right balance between spending and savings. If cutting down your expenditure is not an option, try using smart spending means such as loyalty programs, credit cards, or some apps.
Try competing with your previous month’s budget. It would help you grow as a smart spender. Try setting goals and make efforts to reach them.
3. Create an Emergency fund
This is the fund that will help you take care of the unexpected expenses in “just-in-case” situations. Usually, financial experts advise keeping 20% of your every paycheck in this fund.
As per Forbes, you can create an emergency fund by simply following a few steps. They are:
- Setting up a target date to start your fund.
- Reallocating some amount from existing assets.
- Drawing a monthly commitment.
- Creating a separate account for gathering.
- Channelize extra income towards this fund.
4. Determine your insurance needs
Insurance is not only meant to save tax, rather it is a means to serve critical needs. The beginning of the new financial year is a good time to determine if you have adequate insurance coverage.
The finance experts believe that your insurance cover must be 10 times your annual income. Also, reviewing your insurance needs as per your changing life goals is important for example, if you are planning to get married, have a child, or buy a house.
As per a Swiss report, people in India are awfully uninsured. The protection gap is almost 83% wide. This means that if the Rs 100 insurance cover is needed only Rs 17 are spent by the policyholders.
To evaluate the adequacy of your insurance cover you can also use Human Life Value (HLV) tools. These tools are available online and help you assess your financial requirements based on your liabilities, increments, earning capabilities, and your age.
5. Review your investment portfolio
It is always a great idea to review your investment portfolio at the beginning of the new financial year. Track the market performance of your existing assets to understand how it has changed since last year.
Readjusting your investment strategy is especially important if you have experienced any major life changes in the last year. For example, if you are nearing retirement, you may want to invest in a good retirement plan. Evaluate your needs and invest accordingly.
6. Plan to spend your annual bonus
If you have received an annual bonus do not let the money get fritter away. Plan your spending well. For example, if you have a loan you can partially or completely prepay it. Or if you have a child try spending the bonus on good Children’s plan.
Even if you have no such liability, this does not mean you can just cross your budget and waste that money. Try channelizing it towards your savings or emergency fund. This will help you meet your financial goals.
7. Plan your taxes
Planning your taxes at the beginning is a great way to start your new financial year. It is actually a part of the financial discipline. To initiate tax planning, you first need to identify your tax slab. The tax rates are different for different levels of income. If you know your tax slab, you can easily calculate your tax outgo. This will help you to figure out your tax-saving requirement.
To analyze the scope for reduction, first, evaluate your existing tax-saving investments. This is crucial as there is a maximum limit for reducing the tax outflow.
A number of tax-saving instruments are available to choose from such as PPF, NPS, tax-saving mutual funds, etc. It is also important to distribute your tax investment across the year instead of doing it in the last month. However, it is equally important to understand that investment goals must be derived from your financial goals and not for the purpose of tax savings.
8. Limit your debts
It sounds easier said than done. Anyways who wants to remain in debt? It just happens. However, as per Central Bank, there are certain strategies to keep your debts in check. They are:
- Do not buy anything which you cannot afford without a credit card.
- Completely pay off your credit card balance, every month.
- Focus on your needs not wants.
- Plan your budget as per your financial goals and requirements.
- Limit the number of cards you own.
- Maintain a master sheet to track your expenses.
9. Monitor your credit score
It is almost impossible to not own a credit card in today’s world. However, it is crucial to managing your credits correctly. A solid credit report is required if you are planning to obtain a loan or mortgage a property. For this, you better pay off your balance every month or at least try to keep a minimal credit utilization ratio.
The most popular credit score these days is FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score. The factors that determine your FICO score include payment history (35%), length of credit history (15%), amounts owed (30%), credit mix (10%), and new credit (10%).
It is also a good idea to subscribe to credit agencies that provide you with regular updates on your credit score. This would not just help you in identifying mistakes but, also to detect any fraudulent activity.
10. Maintain financial records
It is always important to keep your financial records organized. This will help you track any discrepancies at later stages. Traditionally, a folder or drawer is used to keep all your bill and payment receipts. However, this increases the risk of missing or forgetting one or more of them.
Currently, a number of apps are available to keep track of your finances. These online services help you separate the old bills and receipts from the new ones. Also, you can set reminders for upcoming payments. This saves you from the hassle of looking through every document in your folder while trying to find one.
Therefore, it is important to understand the five key aspects of personal finance i.e. savings, investment, financial protection, tax plan, and retirement plan before you start to plan. Moreover, organizing your personal finance in the new financial year using the tips mentioned above would certainly help you get more out of your available assets.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something. Keep visiting for more fun and knowledge.
How do I write a financial plan for the new year?
Start early, create an emergency fund, plan your taxes, and monitor your credit score.
Which financial plan should be set first?
Creating an emergency fund should be your priority because you never know when a crisis will hit you and you'll be buried under debts.
What is the 50 30 20 budget rule?
According to the 50 30 20 budget rule, you should allocate 50% of your income to needs, 30% to spending, and 20% to savings.