How Goal Based Financial Planning Can Make Your Life Easier
Life isn’t just about dreaming; it is about working hard and smart to make your aspirations come true. When has anyone ever accomplished anything by just thinking? Thus, it is not enough to merely think that you want to buy a car, send your child abroad for higher education, plan a luxurious holiday for your family, or buy a house. All these goals can only be accomplished when you plan properly to achieve them. Also, proper financial planning
for both long and short term goals can keep you from feeling discouraged, as you can actually see wealth materialise for you to make your dreams a reality.
Independent financial advisor Sangeeta Jhaveri says, “Goals are the starting point of a financial plan. The planning process itself is iterative, it enables you to realistically assess your goals and shows you the financial roadmap to buy your house, pay for your children’s education and marriage, and retire in peace.”
We spoke to some women who used goal based planning to realise their dreams, both big and small.
Ramma Shiv Kumar, a single mother who works as the business head of mergers and acquisitions at a leading IT services firm is one such woman. She says, “Our grandmothers used to tell us how each rupee saved can help you multiply your wealth, and that is what I have been doing. I first think about it in terms of saving and then what do I need it for, and that is very important. It not only gives you the financial independence but helps you meet your personal goals.”
The planning process itself is iterative, it enables you to realistically assess your goals and shows you the financial roadmap to buy your house, pay for your children’s education and marriage, and retire in peace. – Sangeeta Jhaveri
It is these measures which allowed her to send her son abroad for higher education. Says she, “My son is doing his Master’s from Australia and we didn’t have to take any education loan for that. We are spending almost Rs. 1 crore on his studies. He is studying sports management, and we were refused loan because it is not a course listed among the approved programs. So I supported him on my own, that too, singlehandedly for the last 22 years, to make sure that even I can study further. In fact I just completed my MBA very recently. ”
But it is not as if one should only plan for big expenditures one is expecting to incur in future and neglect small goals which actually bring happiness to you. Short term financial planning helps you enjoy the perks of life, while long term planning helps you fulfil your responsibilities as a spouse, parent or a child.
Delhi based PR professional Priyanka Sharma used short term financial planning to fulfil a long held dream. She reveals, “After I began my job in 2012, the first thing I wanted to do was to gift a car to my father. So I saved money for a good two-three years and then in 2016 I was able to gift an i10 Grand to my father.”
Apart from changing her lifestyle, Sharma executed short term financial planning to realise this dream. “I stopped partying for a while. And then I made some investments which helped me buy that car.”
Megha Gangopadhyay, Senior manager at an engineering consultancy firm just began her financial planning journey two years ago. “I actually started proper financial planning just two years back. Before that it was just traditional methods of investments. But two years back we actually sat down and wrote all my goals, and my
advisor then planned it accordingly,” she says.
“My financial advisor suggested that it is better to define or spell out my short and long term goals, because unless you do that, it is very difficult to plan. So, my aim was that 15 years down the line, I should have a lump sum of money, so that if required I can fund my child’s education or for any other purpose, without facing any shortfall.”
Two years back she opted for a 15-year financial plan. “It is a long-term mutual fund and I am investing in it every month,” she says.
Sharma too believes that it’s important to spell out financial goals in order to realise them. “In my washroom I have a chart, on which I have written all my dreams. From smaller goals like giving an iPhone to my brother to long term aspirations like buying visualizing your dreams.”
But long term planning isn’t just what is on Megha’s mind, as she regularly makes short term investments to fund family vacations. “There are funds where you can withdraw money without paying any charges etc. These come in handy if we have a trip in mind and we need that money. These are also funds where we invest in every month,” she says.
My financial advisor suggested that it is better to define or spell out my short and long term goals, because unless you do that, it is very difficult to plan. – Megha Gangopadhyay
“Secondly, I am in the process of purchasing a house on my own. So I knew I would need money for its registration. Two years back I began investing money to reach this goal, because it is a large sum; all of a sudden you can’t withdraw that amount from your savings. I planned it in such a way that I could liquidate my funds whenever it was time to register my house.”
Sharma also believes that setting short term goals proves beneficial in the long term too. “Saving five thousand rupees per month takes you up to 60,000 rupees per year. When you keep adding money to it, it can help you realise a long term goal as well.”
For Kumar, diversification is the key to smart financial planning. She also suggests that one should avail services from a professional. “While I recommend taking help of an investment advisor to know where to put your money also keep in mind that you should look at saving 50% of whatever money comes in,” she added.
Further adding she says, “There are plenty of tools available in the market, like mutual funds, or other methods which let you park your funds for a short term. However it all depends on what your aim is. At times it also depends on your risk profile, for example my son is growing so he can take the risk. However as you grow old it becomes important that you channelise your savings and have a clear plan on how you are going to invest it. There are various buckets available, trick is to diversify your money into them.”
As Jhaveri sums it, “The essence of any plan is saving for the future. For starters, instead of making savings as residual to your expenditure, assign it more respect and set a savings target for every month. And, of course, start investing the savings so money earns money for you.”
“I would like to advise it this way rather than short and long term, because it can go on changing. Also planning for different goals of amounts – short and long term – will differ.”