Dear young earner, what do you wish to optimise? Your money? Or your time?
Would you rather dig deeper and deeper into money management and learn "best" ways to "optimise" money management? Or would you rather spend some mandatory time in getting your finances in order and let it run in auto-pilot with periodic maintenance and use the rest of your spare time in doing what you love?
If money management is your passion, for eg. finding 'good' business to co-own as a shareholder, then this choice obviously disappears. And perhaps there maybe some hybrid choices in between the two - I don't care.
If you wish to optimise money management, or in other words get more returns, find ways to track the market efficiently, learn more and more aspects of personal finance then this post is not for you.
If you suffer from "fear of missing out" syndrome, this post is not for you. Rest assured that you will not miss much.
This post is only for those who wish to manage money efficiently with minimal effort so that they have enough time for their passions/hobbies.
With the objective made clear, here are some ways to choose time over money!
1. Stop tracking expenses. It is a waste of time and money.
2. Set a small monthly investment target. If you have just started earning, and just want to 'live life' without worrying about financial independence, set an investment target.
For eg. tell yourself,
I will invest at least 30% of my take-home pay, as soon as I receive it, in a Nifty Next 50 index fund*. Rest is mine to enjoy as I please. Each year, when I receive a pay hike, I will increase the investment amount by 5-10%.
* something I recognised only recently. Not claiming that it will do better than active funds blah blah. Just something simple to get going.
So you will have only two investments: your salary deduction into EPF/NPS (choose EPF if you have a choice) and the above index fund. Do not buy any other investment product for the next few years.
If you have to save tax over above the salary deduction, use VPF (if you have an EPF - thanks to Amit Gupta for pointing this out at AIFW) or a PPF.
If you don't like equity, that is fine too (your money, not mine and I am not a mutual fund salesman). Put it in PPF.
3. Stop tracking your investments ... on a daily basis. Money does not grow if 'watched' that frequently. Remember we are all primates and sooner or later will want to tinker with our investment just for the heck of it.
Young earners can afford to not watch their portfolios for at least 5-6 years after starting gainful employment. It would help the portfolio immensely if they simply let it be for a few years.
4. Do not go to investment seminars arranged at work. They are typically done by insurance and mutual fund salesmen with the help of your HR dept. Stay away.
5. Never talk to any bank employee unless absolutely necessary.
6. Politely tell your salesmen relative that you do not talk money with relatives.
7. If your parents disapprove of what you wish to do, tell them even more politely that you wish to chart your own course.
8. Don't read finance blogs (esp. mine), business magazines/newspapers or watch business channels. Waste of time and money.
Happy noise-free investing. Your time is way more important than your money.
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