From a net worth of Rs. 6000 to auto-pilot goal-based investing

Published: December 18, 2022 at 6:00 am

In this edition of the reader story, Mr Alam provides the most detailed account of his financial journey: From a net worth of Rs. 6000 to auto-pilot goal-based investing.

About this series: I am grateful to readers for sharing intimate details about their financial lives for the benefit of readers. Some of the previous editions are linked at the bottom of this article. You can also access the full reader story archive.

Opinions published in reader stories need not represent the views of freefincal or its editors. We must appreciate multiple solutions to the money management puzzle and empathise with diverse views. Articles are typically not checked for grammar unless necessary to convey the right meaning to preserve the tone and emotions of the writers.

If you would like to contribute to the DIY community in this manner, send your audits to freefincal AT Gmail dot com. They can be published anonymously if you so desire.

Please note: We welcome such articles from young earners who have just started investing. See, for example, this piece by a 29-year-old: How I track financial goals without worrying about returns. We have also started a new “mutual fund success stories” series. This is the first edition: How mutual funds helped me reach financial independence. Now over to Mr Alam.


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First, I thank my wife, who gave me crucial advice during my financial journey and supported me throughout my financial journey. Without her, it was not possible.

Some youtube channels and personnel who always helped me.

  • Investyadhna – Parimal Ade and Gaurav Kumar
  • Labour Law Advisor – Mandip
  • CA Rachana Ranade
  • Pranjal Kamra
  • Freefincal – Pattu Sir
  • Some many others 

2013 – 2015: I graduated with a B Tech in electrical engineering from a private engineering college in Kolkata. Got my first job as a site engineer in Godrej. But I didn’t feel connected with my work and salary. My dad was an RRB bank employee. So I also want to be a govt employee and the banking job selection process was the fastest. So I decided to leave the job and prepare for IBPS. 

I took coaching for Bank. In the meantime, I passed some banks’ exams and performed well in the Railway Junior Engineer (RRB JE) exam.

—- No savings till now.

—- I learned about India’s economics and the financial system throughout the preparation for banks (it was helpful in the journey, I learned quickly and took the right decision).

I joined as PO in the bank in 2016. I married my love. In the meantime, I passed the JE exam and my selection procedure was going on.

—- I funded 50% of my marriage.

—- No savings. 

—- Spending was a habit due to situations like marriage and some instability in the job as I wanted to switch jobs.

2016 – 2017 (The Beginning): Joined as JE in Railway. Earning and spending on shopping, vacations, trips, household items, and some charities. In October, I had an accident, a bike accident. Then I sat with my wife and discovered that we have no money. If a big accident happens, what will be the situation, I will have to take money from my father—only ₹6000 in my account and nothing. So, I will have to save and save first, then spend.

—— In November I started an RD with my salary account holder bank. ₹10K/month on the 5th day of the month for two years. It will give a cushion for any kind of emergency.

2017: I couldn’t save much. Still, spending was an issue.

—– Opened a PPF account and kept it alive

—– RD was going.

—– thinking about investing in MF but was scared of it as I do have not much knowledge

—– sometimes watched YouTube to learn about them

—– Avg monthly saving throughout the year ₹10K/m 

2018 – 2019  (The year of the beginning of learning – Product based approach)

2018:  July – October: ITR returns filing was done and I came to know that I could have saved taxes by investing and claiming a tax rebate as per 80C. So I thought about how I can invest. Thought about how much I invest. So, I need to track my expenses to invest for reducing taxes.

I started to track my expenses category-wise, note them and analyze them. But never set a budget. I didn’t want to control my expenses, just to track them as I invest first and then spend. So, my investment was on track.

Now coming to tax savings. Searched on YouTube and got many videos. Got a lot of options. I have NPS as I am a central government employee. There are a lot of options.

  • PPF
  • LIC Money back POLICY 
  • Insurance
  • ELSS (Through the add Mutual Funds Sahi Hai)
  • TAX Saver FD
  • NSC
  • KVP

I chose to invest in ELSS and PPF. Searched a lot on YouTube and chose ABSL TAX RELIEF 96 – Direct through their website. Started investing through SIP ₹3500/m

Why did I choose ELSS?

—– I thought of doing a LIC. But videos from the Labour law advisor kept me out of taking such endowment or money-back policies. Thanks to the channel for teaching me about the dark truth of it and learning the concept of IRR.

—–Felt ULIP is complicated. Tax saver FD is not tax efficient. NSC was on my Radar as it has tax benefits for reinvestment of Interest. 

—- ELSS is best as it has capital gains tax benefits and the least lock-in period.

The Labour law adviser channel’s videos were most honest about these things. Started following the channel and Mandip. Some other channels were also there but I think this channel taught me things in an honest way at that time.

I also began to follow investyadhna channel and Parimal Ade, Gaurav Jain. And I thought a Multicap fund will be an excellent fund to start the investment journey with MF. So, I started a SIP in the SBI MAGNUM Multicap fund of ₹1500/m through the ET MONEY app. I thought it will be good to invest from a single platform as it will be easy to manage.

Watched a lot of investment-related videos online. Started reading topics related to this, following various investor personnel, started reading about inflation, what to do to beat inflation, equity investing, how many people achieved a lot of wealth through equity investing, and how many ways to invest in equity—concept about assets, liabilities.

Learning in this period

—- PPF is the safest instrument in India. Even the court can’t touch it.

—- Endowment policy is a bogus instrument. Never ever fall for it. Don’t mix insurance with investment. Insurance is for risk coverage, and investment is for future needs coverage. You just can’t get both from a single product. It’s an inefficient, useless, NetWorth-eating product with zero inflation-adjusted real return. 

—- Through YouTube, I gained knowledge about how mutual funds works, their types etc.

—- Also learned that investing in MFs through a Regular plan is a bogus thing to do.

—- learned the concept of compounding and how much it is important and for that to work investment is needed as much as possible.

—- discipline is important for investing and luckily I have it as I started an RD. Will have to work on it a lot more

—- an increase in investment amount is so important. This will benefit in the long run

—- it’s better to be debt free

  • —- if the debt is a home loan and you are residing at home, then it is a good loan
  • —- if you are into a car loan and the car is a “need” not a “want” then it is okay. But it’s a depreciating asset, better not to get involved in a loan.

I and my wife were thinking about getting a flat as we were on rent. I even gathered money for a downpayment of about 50K. My father was to help me with that. Talked with the branch manager also for a home loan. But seeing the EMI amount I was sleepless thinking that I won’t be able to invest much. And investments are essential. So, I dropped the idea. Thought about applying for quarters from my employer. Later on, after saving some money I can buy a flat or land.

We both also wanted a car. and thought about a car loan. But we decided that it’s not the right time and also we don’t need it. I don’t wanna take out a loan. I will save then I will buy if I have to wait, I will wait. Thought I will start an RD for these purposes.

My RD matured. As NSC was in my Rader I invested that in NSC adding 50K of that down payment, a total of 3L. And I thought it would help me buy land (my wife wants but I don’t feel comfortable buying land) or a flat or build a home with my father’s help with or without a loan.

Why did I choose NSC? A tax saving instrument?

—– Simple, I can save tax. I can use 80CCD(1B) section to get more tax benefits showing NPS Contribution.

Opened an account in ICICI and started RD of ₹17K/m for 3 years. Thought it would help me to buy a car.

Also started another RD in SBI of ₹3K/m for emergency purposes like I started my investing journey.

What did I do this year?

—- learned to do tax planning

—- learned about mutual funds and started the journey with MF

—- avg saving/month increased to ₹27K/m (₹17K in ICICI RD, ₹5K in SBI RD, ₹3500 in ELSS, ₹1500 in Multicap fund) from last year’s ₹10K/m. 

—- I had discipline in investing and thought about to be disciplined in increasing my investment each year 

—-  I realized that it’s important to assess your financial situation once a year. I want to maintain this discipline too.

—- I was also tracking my expenses.

2019: Again after ITR filing I realized if I need to claim tax benefits under 80CCD (1B), I need to invest more in ELSS.

Now I started to analyze MF in a different way after watching a lot of YouTube videos. I started to pick funds based on Risk Parameters (Beta, Standard deviation), Return Parameters (alpha, mean, Sharpe, Sortino), Rolling returns consistency, Fund Manager, Funds consistency, turnover ratio etc. I started to first look at the risk parameters. 

—– Used Value Research for comparing funds.

Changed my investment platform too. Switched to PaytmMoney from ET MONEY and then to KUVERA ultimately in the next year 

I picked Parag Parikh Flexi Cap (PPFC). Started SIP of ₹3500/m in mid-year.

Then I thought I would invest in every type of fund. Started small SIP in every type. 

  1. Axis Midcap
  2. Axis small (ASC)
  3. Axis Long term equity – ELSS
  4. Parag Parikh Tax saver (PPTS) – fund house bias 
  5. Mirae Asset Tax Saver (MATS)
  6. ABSL 96 (Total 4 ELSS)
  7. Gold fund
  8. Hybrid funds
  9. Some debt funds (Liquid, UST, Short terms, Banking & PSU etc.)

The aim was to invest as much as possible. I reduced the SIP amount of existing SIPs. I knew I was doing the wrong thing but I wanted to do it.

Monthly Investment

  1. ICICI RD – ₹17K
  2. ELSS (4 funds) – ₹8K
  3. DEBT – ₹5K
  4. Other MFs total – ₹7K

Total 32K/m from 27K/m of last year.

2020 to 2021 (The years of intensive learning – Shifting from a product-based approach to a more mature Goal Based approach )

2020: Now in 2020 corona happened. My total MF portfolio investment was ₹2.2L and it came down to ₹1.5L. But I didn’t withdraw any amount. I followed the “Never lose money” concept by Buffet Sir. Instead, I tried to pump money through some lump sums along with my SIPs. I stopped some ‘Other MFs’ SIPs. Waited for all the funds to turn green. Waited for the respective funds to fall under long term capital gain. Thanks to the bull run, I didn’t have to sell units at a loss.

I didn’t watch as many movies or something like that as I used to. This year I watched a lot of YouTube videos. Another channel I was following a lot, was CA Rachana Ranade. 

  1. CA Rachana Ranade
  2. Pranjal Kamra
  3. Invest Yadhna
  4. Labour Law advisor
  5. Parimal Ade
  6. Freefincal (a little, due to this channel and Invest Yadhna I began to feel good about index Investing)

I started investing in the UTI Nifty 50 index fund for large cap exposure in my portfolio. This was after watching videos about index Investing in various channels. During this time I found freefincal. But I didn’t watch much because I didn’t find things interesting. (Later I realised the contents of freefincal were so much more matured and I was not much matured then)

Revised monthly Investment 

  • ICICI RD – ₹17K
  • ELSS (4 funds) – ₹8K
  • PPFC – ₹1K
  • ASC – ₹500
  • UTI N50 – ₹1000
  • Motilal Nasdaq Index fund – ₹1000
  • Debt Funds – ₹8K

I thought about investing in direct equity. But I need to prepare myself for that. I did two courses.

  1. Basics of Stock Market
  2. Fundamental Analysis of Stocks

Both were by CA Rachana Ranade. These courses are awesome for beginning stock market investing. Started to invest in small amounts slowly. First stock was Tata Power.

In the meantime, my wife got pregnant. After watching videos related to personal finance (I was stunned about how difficult is Retirement Planning and child education planning with respect to inflation, the first lecture of investyadhna was free), now I began to feel the need for basics.

  1. Emergency Fund
  2. Term Insurance
  3. Health Insurance
  4. Savings for basic needs in future
  5. Deciding Financial Goals

Investyadhna launched a course for a limited period of time on 1. Personal Finance 2. Mutual Funds 3. Stock market

At the end of 2020, I purchased Personal Finance (₹760 only) first and did a lot of thinking and did my own plan. This course was a game-changer in my life. They touched all the basics of personal finance (not intensive planning with asset allocation, that’s why I called it basic) and provided some basic essential calculators.

  1. Retirement calculator 
  2. Education Goal Calculator
  3. Marriage calculator
  4. Home loan EMI calculator
  5. Vehicle calculator
  6. Wealth creation calculator
  7. Asset allocation calculator
  8. Own Car vs Ola/Uber calculator
  9. Risk profile assessment

After taking this course

  • Post-tax Return expectations from equity – I set it to 12% (they told me not to expect more than 12%)
  • Took 50L term insurance from HDFC LIFE
  • Took 5L health Insurance from HDFC ERGO

I began to play with nos in those calculators. My thought process began to change. I started thinking about everything in a different way. I somewhat tagged my existing investment with goals and continued SIP in some funds and stopped further investment in some funds. I started thinking about organizing my investment and getting the basics covered to start with.

  • Emergency fund – at least 6 months of expenses (I was pretty much short of this)
  • Term Insurance – thought of taking another 50L

My father started building a house for me and my brother. I will have to help him financially whenever it’s needed. Termed this “Home decoration” as a goal. Dropped the idea of getting a flat for us as we are happy in Railway quarters.

Immediate goals (1yr)

  1. Emergency fund – Need
  2. Delivery of my child – Need
  3. Some important home appliances – Need
  4. Jewellery for my wife – Need

Short-term goals (1-3 yrs)

  1. House decoration – Need
  2. Buying a scooter – Want

Medium-term goals (4-7 yrs)

  1. Vacation – Need
  2. Car – Want
  3. New Bike – Want

Long term goals (>10 yrs) – Need

  1. Child Education
  2. Child’s Marriage
  3. Retirement

Child Education became a top priority among long term goals as it occurred to me as a daunting task due to high inflation. Thought about using a part of matured ICICI RD for this goal in 2021 end. Besides this thought about continuing my SIP in some funds for this. I thought about managing this goal first and then thinking about others. 

I thought that my investment was too messy and I am totally confused about what to do and how to do it. So I decided to meet a CFP and fixed a meeting with him in my town. I learned a lot of things during the 3 hours of conversation. But he didn’t entertain me much as he was into handling financial decisions on his own on behalf of his customers and he would earn commission by selling regular mutual funds. And I was not ready for that. I felt it absurd to let others control my money and investment strategy. 

So, I decided to do things by myself. Yes, it will not be easy. Yes, I will make mistakes. Yes, I will be confused. But I made myself mentally ready for that.

Now I started tagging my assets to my goals. A rough tagging was done, which is as follows

Emergency Fund

  • Liquid Fund – had some amount + ₹6K/m SIP

Delivery of my child

  • My total EPF + EPS balance from my previous job (I was thinking about withdrawing this for two years but I was so lazy to do it; luck favoured and now I have become active to get it done) 
  • Some liquid fund amount

Jewellery

  • 15% of ICICI RD

Home appliances

  • Started SIP in a liquid fund – ₹4K/m

House Decoration

  • ABSL 96 (new investment was stopped) – with the ending of lock-in I can use this
  • Some FDs I had

Vacations

  • Parag Tax + Axis Tax (New investment stopped) as this goal is away for about 4 years. Until my child becomes four years, a vacation is not happening

Child Education

  • 70% of ICICI RD after 1 year
  • ELSS only MiraeAsset tax – ₹7K/m. Why ELSS? To save tax also. Tax planning also comes under financial planning. I merged these two goals.
  • PPFC – ₹1K/m Why PPFC in this goal? Well it’s a good performing fund with different kinds of portfolio and the portfolio overlap was less between these two funds.
  • I used thefundoo.com for checking portfolio overlap
  • Post tax Return Expectation – 12%
  • Inflation – 10%

Child’s Marriage

  • Axis small cap – ₹500/m
  • Post tax Return expectations – 12%
  • Inflation – 7%

Retirement

  • UTI Nifty index – ₹500/m
  • NPS Contribution default 
  • Didn’t plan about it much. As per my calculations, my NPS was doing good. Thought first I sort out Child Education planning, then come to this
  • Avg Monthly expenses – ₹25K
  • Inflation – 7%
  • Return expectations – 10% from NPS and 13% from equity MF
  • My NSC – I didn’t tag it with any goal. I will do it in the year 2023 when it matures.

Revised monthly investment

  • ₹17K/m ICICI RD
  • ₹6K/m for emergency
  • ₹4K/m for home appliances 
  • ₹7K/m ELSS
  • ₹1K/m PPFC
  • ₹500/m ASC
  • ₹500/m N50
  • Total = ₹36K/m couldn’t increase much. I expected to increase more, but it was not possible for me as my salary decreased, there was no DA declaration by govt, some allowances stopped and, more importantly, my expenses were increasing. In the meantime, I stopped tracking my expenses in that copy as I was too busy planning.

What I started new?

  • I started tracking my cash flow in a spreadsheet 
  • Started tracking my expenses in a spreadsheet, with no budgeting. Later shifted to an app for tracking expenses, “Money Manager” (Still using this as it’s one of the simplest app among many apps available, one can use also “Moneyfy”)
  • I started tracking my investment each month just in the back of my head
  • Started “KUVERA” for my mutual fund investments. I felt most comfortable with this app
  • I started investing in Direct Stocks slowly through Upstox

2021: I gave myself a break from financial planning and enjoyed my daughter’s birth. Enjoyed a lot of time with her. 

My goals so far from the last financial review:

  • Delivery of my child – successfully achieved 
  • Home decoration goal – almost successfully achieving 
  • Home appliances goal – successfully achieved 
  • Vacation goal – sorted
  • Emergency fund – still a long way to go
  • Car goal – still a long way to go
  • Other three long term goals – long way to go

I thought about reviewing my portfolio with a fee-only advisor after getting to know that it’s the best way. I talked with some of them (they were not the ones mentioned in freefincal article, I found some contacts online). I shared my thought process with them. But they were more into imposing their thought process on me, and they will do the plan after accessing my financial position. They were not giving proper guidance so that I can do things on my own. None of my colleagues or friends thought about financial planning. So I wasn’t able to share things with anyone.

Later I fixed a 39 mins video call with a CFP for free. She was amazing. I told her about my journey, confusion, my goals and my thought process. She gave me some advice and told me that I was on the right path in many ways. I will have to organise myself. She told me that I knew what I was doing. That’s the important part and I can consult with a fee-only advisor if I need but I must try it by myself as I have time to make some mistakes and learn from them and rectify myself while doing this. 

  • Took health Insurance
  • Took term insurance and thinking about taking one more
  • Taking emergency funds seriously
  • Thinking about fund overlapping for choosing funds for particular goals
  • I prioritize my goals as per my need and want
  • I am thinking about child’s education goal though the child hasn’t seen the light
  • I am thinking about the marriage of my child
  • I am thinking about my retirement and tracking my expenses and my investment monthly wise with a great step up SIP in NPS by default. I was thinking about opting for the LC50 auto choice in NPS. She told me that it would be beneficial for me if I am comfortable with it.
  • My discipline in Investing
  • My discipline for reviewing financial situation every year
  • I am almost debt free. I had a personal loan (9% from employer co operative society)  of just 1 lakh, and I was about to repay the remaining amount 

These were the positives she saw in me. I felt so confident after the 1 hr meeting. I thought yeah, I could do it. I will try my best as per my needs and wants.

Took another term insurance of 50L from TATA AIA with an accidental permanent disability rider.

My ICICI RD matured with 6.8L.

  • 5L to invest lumpsum in a staggered way in three mutual funds for Child Education
  • 1L to invest in Direct stocks
  • 80K for jewellery of my wife

Child Education Plan

  • Chose three funds – Mirae tax, PPFC, Axis small for doing the lumpsum 
  • Chose these three funds as there was just a little overlap among these 3 funds (thefundoo.com is a great website for checking portfolio overlap)
  • Chose six months for staggered lump sum
  • Stopped all the SIPs in these 3 funds

Child’s Marriage

  • Started SIP in Nifty Next 50 (NN50) – ₹1K/m

Retirement

  • SIP in N50 – ₹1K/m
  • Regular NPS

Vacation

  • Still the same Parag tax  + Axis Tax

Car

  • Started SIP in Canara ROBECO Conservative Hybrid – ₹10K/m

Recurring goal (Insurance + Charity)

  • ABSL Low duration fund – ₹6K/m

Wifes Jewellery

  • Axis UST – 10K/m 
  • I met with some emergencies, and the ₹80K became zero

Emergency Fund

  • ICICI Liquid – ₹12K/m to get it done as quickly as possible

Total ₹38K/m from previous years ₹36K/m

Now to 2022. The year with “freefincal”. (Matured Goal or Process Based approach)

I kept the above investment strategy going for 6-7 months till my staggered lump sum was done. In October this year, I started to think more seriously about all three long term goals.

  • Jewellery goal – successfully achieved (still have some to buy another ornament)
  • Emergency Fund – Successfully achieved six months of expenses (1.8L)
  • Recurring goals – achieved for this year and sorted for the next year
  • Car goal – ongoing 
  • Vacation goal – sorted

When my other goals were sorted well, I began to think about mainly “Child Education Planning”. Because I was stuck in this. If I can sort this out, I can sort out retirement & marriage planning too. I knew it. But I don’t feel comfortable. So many questions are coming to my mind.

  • Is it even possible to complete the child’s Education goal?
  • How to do it? Investyadhna guys say that asset allocation is the most important thing but not that much important for goal Based investing. Is this even true?
  • 100% – your age = that should be maintained they said. But how?
  • Is there any full proof thumb rule?
  • Why do I feel asset allocation is important now? Why not a few years ago?
  • I am thinking Post tax return as 12% for this goal? Is it okay or an absurd expectation?
  • I am thinking about only investing in equity for this goal. Is it the right thing to do?
  • If anything happens to the market at the goal end year, what will I do? Like corona happened
  • Why am I feeling like I am taking too much risk? 
  • Why don’t things feel right and comfortable?
  • If I want to reduce risk I will have to shift corpus from equity to debt when the goal is near the deadline. But when will I have to do it and how?
  • How to reduce risk in a proper way?
  • Is there anything like the best strategy to control the risk?
  • What kind of education should I keep in mind for planning?
  • How much to expect from my portfolio?
  • How much can I invest?
  • How much investment is needed?
  • Is there any calculator available where I can play with real numbers?
  • Where can I find them? How can I use them?
  • Is there any intensive goal-planning calculator for child Education planning?
  • I am using three equity funds for my child Education goal. I am thinking about adding an index to this, also. Is it okay?
  • Parimal Ade always says that a financial journey should be boring. Why is it full of excitement when it comes to mine?
  • Is there any strategy to get things in auto mode and be boring?

While thinking about the main 3 goals, I also realised many things about mutual funds as I spent four years with MFs.

  • Saw a recent performance drop in PPFC fund due to SEBI regulations and some international factors and a sudden excessive increase in AUM. So, it’s happening for this flagship fund also.
  • Some funds were so well performing before the COVID crash, their performance dropped (all the axis mutual equity funds)
  • Some funds were not performing well before but now performing awesome (Quant equity funds)
  • After watching some videos, I realised that it so hard to beat large cap index N100 for a active large cap funds
  • But now also realize that it is also true for midcap funds also. It’s hard to beat the MC150 index.
  • But there are some funds which beat the index consistently. But there are also some funds which can’t beat it.
  • There is also another fact – a fund is consistently beating index or benchmark for now, but it may not be same in the future.
  • So, in short any kind of active fund may not live upto your expectations 
  • So, there are so many risks in mutual funds.

So, many questions were arising in my mind

  • Why run after the best fund?
  • Why to run after fund manager risk?
  • Why to run after benchmark outperformance?
  • Why run after an active fund when there is AUM increase risk?
  • If a fund starts underperforming, I will have to change the fund. So for how many times will I have to do this throughout my life? Why make the financial journey high maintenance?
  • Every fund goes through rough patches, how to handle things then?
  • Active funds expense ratio is also high when compared to index funds. Is it a really mature thing to go for an active fund when there are so many kinds of risks involved? I mean you pay 3-5 times expenses and your funds will not be able to beat an index

See, I am now more leaning towards index Investing. I felt index Investing is way better for achieving goals. I just have to expect less. Some index funds are on my radar.

  • NIfty N50 
  • Axis N100 
  • MC150 Q50
  • Nifty 200 momentum 30
  • S&P LowVol
  • But only started investing in NN50 beside N50 for Child’s Marriage goal in the previous year

But again I also have some questions in my mind regarding index Investing

  • How to choose? I knew some things but I also felt about do some more research
  • Is it possible to build an index based portfolio? If yes, then how to do that?
  • How many index funds should be there for a single goal portfolio?
  • After watching a review of NN50 by investyadhna, I found out that it’s not a proper large cap index. It is a lot more volatile than N50 and it performs well when mid and small caps perform well. Then what is it actually? Is it wise to take only the NN50 index as the equity portion for a goal? (I was using it for marriage goal)
  • If not, then I should use a mix of N50 and NN50. I will use it for my retirement portfolio. But what is a good mix?
  • Can I use an active fund with an index? How to use this combination?

Started to search on youtube about index Investing. Started watching Pattu sir’s thought process regarding Index investing. And wow! I started to get answers to all my questions on index Investing.

Began to read a lot of articles on index Investing and personal finance in freefincal. Now I realize that it’s a gem of a platform for DIY investors (I didn’t know the term before, I didn’t know that I was inching towards DIY investing). I started to get a lot of answers that were revolving around my head but not all.

So, I decided to purchase the “Goal Based investing” course hoping to get more answers. Watched all the videos and I got almost all the answers about personal finance that were bothering me.

Then I felt that it was possible to get into auto mode. I need to buy the “Robo Advisory Tool“. I bought it and almost sorted all the goals.

Then I felt that the MF goal tracker and stock portfolio Tracker is also a great tool to visualize things. I bought it and started using it.

I almost sorted everything now. I was a little confused about some little things. I wanted to use my NSC amount for my Child’s Education and Retirement Planning. But I was confused about how to do it and use it in the calculator. So I wanted to have a fruitful discussion with a fee-only advisor.

I joined the AIFW Facebook group after getting the information from freefincal. I started to follow, and it’s a great platform; members are so helpful, honest and knowledgeable. There I found Chandan Singh Padiyar Sir (you can get details from the fee-only advisor post of Pattu sir) to be one of the most active and honest guys.

Tried to arrange a meeting with him, I didn’t want a robust financial plan but to discuss my thought process about what I am doing, if I am committing a serious mistake. I don’t bother about small mistakes, I will learn from it and will rectify things as per my capabilities. So, luckily I got a chance to fix a meeting with him and he was so generous to listen to me, my problem, my confusion and guided me in a simple way which was more important. I was confident about what I am doing, but after talking to him I am more confident now. 

Now I am in the driver’s seat and I know where to go, when to go, and as I have a road map I know how to go. So, my investment journey is in auto-pilot mode now. 

— Emergency Fund – 6 months expenses (As I have a stable job, otherwise I would opt for 12 months)

  • ICICI Liquid Fund
  • ICICI savings account

— Health Insurance – 

  • HDFC ERGO of 10L (I will take super top up)
  • Railway facility

— Term Insurance

  • 10X of my Annual Income. After using the insurance planning calculator of freefincal, I am happy with it but I would suggest 15X.
  • HDFC Life – 50L
  • TATA AIA – 50L with 50L of permanent disability rider

Short term goal:

  • Buy a electric scooty (2-3 years) – SIP in a liquid fund of ₹2K

Recurring Goal:

  • Insurance & Charity – SIP in a liquid fund of ₹5K

 

Short term Goal: Vacation (2-3years)

  • Axis tax and Parag Parikh tax fund
  • Will gradually shift from equity to debt

Short to medium term flexi goal: Buy a Car (4-6 years)

  • Canara Robeco Conservative Hybrid – 2L
  • Canara Robeco Aggressive Hybrid – SIP of ₹8K
  • I have chosen risky assets as it’s still a “want”, not a “need” and it’s flexible
  • Chandan Sir told me to take an index fund but I chose an aggressive hybrid fund because I didn’t get the taste of this. So I want an adventure with this category of fund.
  • I have delayed this goal since the last 4 years as it’s a “want”

Monthly Saving and investing CAGR

  • 2018 – 170% (from 10K to 27K)
  • 2019 – 18% (32K)
  • 2020 – 12% (36K)
  • 2021 – 5% (38K)
  • 2022 – 18% (45K)
  • It’s not possible to maintain the same CAGR each year. That’s why it’s important to invest more whenever possible.
  • Average investing CAGR from the beginning of 2016 – 28%

Now

  • I don’t care about outperformance.
  • I don’t care about taxes. Will opt for the new tax regime
  • I don’t run after returns much.
  • All I care about is increasing investment every year, Low cost, low maintenance
  • Try my colleagues and friends to do financial planning
  • I have a Direct equity investment about 5% of my total net worth (excluding emergency fund and cash) but didn’t attach this to any of my goals. I am still a learner in this field.

Some courses and platforms I use  throughout my journey:

For stock market investing:

  • Basics of Stock market
  • Fundamentals of stock market
  • Both by CA Rachana Ranade. It was really helpful for me as a beginner
  • I recommend these two courses (you can get these two at free of cost like me, but you will have to search in google, I actually forgot the links. I have these videos in my laptop)

For mutual funds

  • I had already obtained much knowledge through YouTube
  • Mutual Funds Course – by investyadhna
  • I would recommend you to use freefincal videos and articles. These are so honest, with a lot of backtesting data, proper way to choose MFs

Personal finance 

  • Financial planning – by investyadhna it was a game changer for me
  • I would recommend Personal Finance by CA Rachana Ranade to cover the basics (yes you can get it free of cost like the others). As investyadhna course is not available now, I am recommending this
  • After covering the basics you should opt for “Goal Based Investing” by Pattu sir. But don’t start with this if you haven’t done the basics. These are mature contents and you won’t be able to digest them if you don’t know the basics.
  • Freefincal – I got all my answers and cleared my doubts through freefincal. I rate it highest among all the personal finance websites.
  • Arthgyaan – This is also great, and a goal-based investing tool is available. It’s free; you can download it and use some features for free. But to use it at its full potential, you need to get a licence. I have the free version and have not opted for a licence as for now, I don’t need it, and also, it’s a bit complicated for me. But this tool includes the FIRE goal, home loan emi goal too along with all kinds of goals. Those interested can check out this. Maybe in the future I will try this too.
  • For investment advice you can go for discussion with a fee only advisor. Lists are in freefincal and you can book a call or arrange a meeting with them free of cost. Details are on their website. I visited these sites where I could arrange a free meeting. While Chandan Sir cleared all my doubts, I didn’t need further advice.
    • padiyars.com
    • srinivesh.in
    • insightful.in
    • arthgyaan.com
    • Discuss with them as per your requirement and explore if their service can meet them.

Mutual Funds investment platform

  • Groww – UI is simple, easy to use. You can also invest in stocks here
  • KUVERA – my favourite. The UI is not good. But it’s feature loaded like Trade Smart, Tax harvesting, family portfolio. Most importantly the customer support is great. They have a live chat option for any kind of difficulty with a real person, if not satisfied they will call you to clarify things.
  • ET Money is also good
  • Niyo Money – it’s also great for goal Based MF investing. Best direct MF investment platform for goal Based investing 

For goal Based financial planning

  • Robo Advisory Tool by freefincal
  • It will set things in auto mode
  • You just have to review your situation yearly. You will get a road map

For goal Based portfolio tracking

  • Mutual fund and stock tracker by Pattu sir. It’s great

Net Worth tracking

  • IndMoney App – it’s a great app with a lot of features like MF investing, stocks investing, US Stock investing and many more
  • Artos App – my favorite only for tracking your net worth. It also has a lot of features with graphical representation (asset allocation, goal wise asset allocation, investment vs net worth graph, fund performance vs N50 and some others). It gives a lot of visual clarity for investment. But to use full features you will have to subscribe to their premium version. ₹500/year. Here NPS tracking is also great, better than IndMoney

Expenses & Budget

  • Money manager App by Realbyte – simple, details, a tons of features like connect PC. I use this to track my expenses and get an idea. I never use budget section. But with app its easy and helpful.
  • Moneyfy – UI is nice and simple

Tracking monthly Investment 

  • I would suggest “not to track the expenses but to track the investment”. This will change everything. I never controlled my expenses, always tried to control my investment. I have done this from the very beginning but never visualized it. As I was tracking my investment, I never had to think about expenses through these years. I spent whatever amount but never thought about the amount, never thought about not buying anything or spending whenever needed. You don’t need budget or expenses tracking, you need to be critically disciplined about your investing.
  • There is a free spreadsheet in freefincal. Use it for some years and you will see the difference. It will give you visual clarity about what’s going on. I have just started using it and it’s great. 
  • I mean this is why I love freefincal. I get whatever I need. It’s almost like a prime book for DIY INVESTORS. Read it, use it.

In this journey

  • I was lucky (mainly I didn’t have to take any loan that too for my home. My father did that for me, I just had to spent some amount than was in my capacity).
  • I was lucky to get the right thing at the right time. Like when I needed to know the basics of personal finance I got the course of investyadhna. When I needed a mature platform I found freefincal. When I need support, my wife is always there. When I needed to consult an honest advisor I got them and had discussion at free of cost.
  • I was disciplined
  • I was always hungry to learn something, something new.
  • So, you need knowledge, hunger to learn something new, discipline and luck to get into the right track. 
  • Most important is discipline about 90%

I wanted to tell my journey to someone. Who will listen to me? If I tell this to someone, he or she thinks I am only thinking about money (some people think like this). But I know it’s pretty much more than that. Now I know a community where I can share all these.

From next year I will regularly do my financial audit and write it down. Happy investing.

Reader stories published earlier

As regular readers may know, we publish a personal financial audit each December – this is the 2021 edition: Portfolio Audit 2021: How my goal-based investments fared this year. We asked regular readers to share how they review their investments and track financial goals.

These published audits have had a compounding effect on readers. If you would like to contribute to the DIY community in this manner, send your audits to freefincal AT Gmail. They could be published anonymously if you so desire.

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About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over nine years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation for promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We have all made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it and teach him several key ideas of decision making and money management is the narrative. What readers say!
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