The 2015 personal financial audit

Published: December 31, 2015 at 7:44 am

Last Updated on

Each December, I conduct a personal financial audit. I take stock of my financial goals and other aspects of personal finance relevant to me. For the last couple of years I have been sharing the gist of such audits at freefincal:

This may help interested readers to conduct one themselves: how to conduct a personal financial audit 

Why do this? I think the DIY investor community should share their thought process in the hope that it would be mutually beneficial (I have made course corrections based on reader comments). My intention is not to brag or show off returns or my money management strategy. I would urge you to share your own strategy either here as a comment or at the DIY Investor’s forum

Some background:

For those who are new to freefincal, I am an investment junkie. I push myself to invest more and more each year – typically 10% more. For the last couple of years, it has become extremely tough to keep up with my investment schedule. I track the schedule and investment made with this monthly tracker.

My wife and I live a reasonably frugal lifestyle without depriving ourselves of any pleasures. This enables us to invest more than our monthly expenses.

In general, I use this as a second benchmark to evaluate financial health. A family without any liabilities should manage to invest as much as they spend each month.  If this does not occur, the reasons must be evaluated and corrective action taken (if possible).

The first benchmark is the well known, but trivial, “spend less than you earn”. Trivial because, having something to invest is important, but more important is how much we manage to invest and if that is sufficient.

This is where personal financial audits are crucial. Goal-based investing is not a one-exercise. The inputs used in goal-planning calculators must be evaluated once a year.

A few years ago, I used to look forward to the audits in December. Unfortunately, I have completely killed the romance of such an exercise. I have been doing this for the past 8  years and have slowly automated the process. Today I just use the monthly financial planner  to keep track of investments  (been doing this for 8Y) and the automated mutual fund and financial goal tracker to keep track of goal corpuses, CAGR, asset allocation etc.  (since last Dec.). While the process has become convenient, it has come at a price. Few years back I used to be so excited to do the audit in Dec. Today I can do it anytime I want by opening a file and clicking a few buttons – not quite as exciting but actually a good thing!

“There is something in people; you might even call it a little bit of a gambling instinct… I tell people investing should be dull. It shouldn’t be exciting. Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.”

— Paul Samuelson, “The Ultimate Guide to Indexing,” Bloomberg Personal Finance, 1999

I do not time the markets and believe in systematic investing. I do not chase star ratings and my holdings (please do not ask what they are) are not at all impressive.  So now over to the audit.



Base asset allocation: 60% Equity, 40% Fixed income

Current asset allocation: ~ 55%+ equity.

Instruments used: Equity mutual funds, NPS (mandatory) and small exposure to PPF. 

Current net Equity XIRR: 15.40%

Current NPS XIRR: ~ 10%

PPF ~ 8% (net)

Status:  Notional retirement or financial freedom is 7 years away*, if equity returns are close to current XIRR. Seventh pay commission would also help!

Current invest must is a touch above required investment. Will not sustain without the 7th PC.

(*) want to bet on a 2008-like situation within next 7 years?!

Related Post:

Calculators used to compute this information

Son’s education

Base asset allocation: ~60% Equity, 40% Fixed income

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Current asset allocation: ~ 75%+ equity. Rebalanced once last year. Will take a call a bit later.

Instruments used: Equity mutual funds, PPF

Current net Equity XIRR: 13.9%

PPF ~ 8% (net)

Status:  On track, both corpus-wise and investment amount-wise.

At 10% inflation, 10% net portfolio, return, current cost 50 Lakhs, goal ~12 years away, future corpus expected, 1.5 Cr.

Son’s Marriage

Base asset allocation: 100% Equity

Current asset allocation: Same as above!

Instruments used: Equity mutual funds

Current net Equity XIRR: 11%

Status:  Have not invested for more than 1 year now, due to unexpected recurring expenses. Will try to resume after 7th PC.

Related posts

Life insurance and Health insurance

These are in auto-pilot mode. So not much to do here.

Offline term cover from LIC (6+ years old)

Individual mediclaim for family from United India (9+ years old). Cover enhanced as much as possible each year.

Last year, my net worth exceed my term insurance policy.  This means slowly (hopefully surely) our dependence on an expensive LIC term plan is decreasing.  Hopefully, after a few years, we can get rid of this policy. The next milestones for the equity net worth and fixed income net worth to individually exceed the term cover.

Related post:


  • Section 80 C is taken care by NPS via 80CCD(1)
  • Section 80CCD(2) by NPS (employer contribution)
  • Some excess under 80CCD(1)  may be assigned to 80CCD(1B) if possible – the new 50K rule.  Note that these contributions are not voluntary.
  • 80D by mediclaim

NPS is obviously tagged to retirement.

Monthly Budgeting 

Just ensure we invest enough and spend the rest any which way necessary and/or desired. Do not believe in tracking spending habits. Tracking investments is more beneficial.

Emergency Fund

Have some about in SB account, and some in online FDs. Don’t know exactly how much in terms of monthly expenses.

That is about it. Hope 2016 is a dull and boring money management year. Wish you all a happy new year!

Previous Audits

The 2014 personal financial audit

The 2013 Personal Financial Audit

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About the Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations on the basis of money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association. For speaking engagements write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com

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  1. Hi Pattu,

    Once again thanks for this post. I have a doubt, in the Life insurance column you wrote “Last year, my net worth exceed my term insurance policy”.
    So my Q is, does this mean your total net worth from all the goals have exceeded your term policy cover or just the Retirement goal investment net worth has exceeded ? Or am i missing something here..?

    Btw, this will be a good benchmark for the insurance cover considerations.

    Best Regards, V

  2. Hi,
    I have a doubt. Since you have different goals, Son’s education and marriage etc how do you decide the XIRR as the investments will be same for most stocks i.e. you will have many similar overlapping stocks for all goals.

  3. Pattu, an eye opener. I need to revisit my goals. Kept my daughters education expense as 20 lakh at current value. Also noted, your net worth exceeded the life coverage required – your rock. I will take another decade. (I think both you and me are almost same age 🙂 envy ) Thanks Butun

      1. 🙂 I am 37 but I guess another 4 years would not help much at my current state. But congratulations and I need to do my first financial audit. Thanks Butun

  4. “Emergency Fund: Have some about in SB account, and some in online FDs. Don’t know exactly how much in terms of monthly expenses.”

    Dear Pattu Sir, Not sure if I am misunderstanding the statement, but it sounds like, you are not bothered how many months of expenses are there in your emergency fund! Is this because you have significantly more than required – say more than 12 months) or you are not able to change the emergency fund value at the current time, or just too lazy to check the actual multiplication factor?

    As having a buffer of 6-12 months expenses is usually the foundation of personal finance, was confused by your statement.

  5. Does 50 lakhs as an educational expense includes both UG and PG?
    I think this is on higher side, including both UG and PG. Could you please elaborate on this?

    In 2014, I have considered 6 lakhs as UG’s current expense, under payment seat in private college. 20 to 25 lakhs as PG’s current expense.
    I have excluded MBBS in private college in my consideration.

    1. Right!. That’s the first thing that jumped out at me. A plain Engg (BE/BTech) or even MBBS education, either state college or NIT/IIT/AIIMS, (merit seat only) should not cost more than 5-6 L (2015-2019). That is my calculation after going thru fee structure, hostel expense etc

      Pattu Sir, are you factoring in MS in US for your child? Please clarify

      1. Anand, Jai,
        1) Yes I am factoring in PG+UG.
        2) I want to minimize the probability of being in a situation where I tell my son, “I have only this much” or “we will get an education loan for the rest”. As now I can do this. Future is unknown.
        3) End of the day, it boils down to affordability.

  6. Sir
    You have separate portfolio for each goal.
    Is it only one MF scheme for each goal ‘or’ a set of MF for every goal?

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