Money is a stressful topic, so much so that some households prefer to not talk about it at all. In fact, some even consider it a taboo subject, similar to "sex". The difference is, while it's understandable to be embarrassed discussing the birds and the bees, it doesn't make sense when it comes to discussions about bread and butter. There's literally nothing to be ashamed about - for couples, it gives a sense of clarity, and for kids, it teaches them about financial literacy.
What better way than to start at home instead of developing a subconsciously fearful and negative attitude towards it from watching our parents silently struggle with money management!
Money is a touchy subject for many people, but, thankfully, this notion is slowly starting to fade away, especially among the millennials who are facing the brunt of it with slow pay growth while the cost for rent/house and other commodities shoot up, according to the OECD.
Additionally, in India, there is an ingrained belief (or call it a myth if you want) associated with financial literacy - that the rich are automatically 'financially literate'. The truth is, even comfortable households face anxiety when it comes to paying the bills and have feelings of guilt when they realised they've overspent.
According to Capgemini’s Annual World Wealth Report, even millionaires aren’t immune to money tensions. For them, they are concerned with how they can still maintain their lifestyle in the years to come, and also whether their descendants can handle their inheritance wisely.
Take a poll at any location, among any group - urban or rural, rich or poor, young or old - and the result is always the same, money is the main source of worry.
How To Get Rid Of Money Worries
Check Your Bank Statements
As cliché as this may sound, perhaps money may not always buy happiness, but it is essential for our survival. Our first advice would be, spare some time for yourself, sit down, and start with your bank statements. This is something we have ignored or forgotten ever since we all our banking is now done online, which, on the bright side, should make viewing your bank statements that much easier.
The Indian Government had been vigorously pushing the usage of mobile payment that, now, even with the immense population, India has over 220 million smartphone users, making it the world's second-biggest smartphone market. The mobile internet users round up to 350 million and this figure is expected to grow by 50 million every year till 2020. This tells us that the only citizens not engaged in mobile banking or online payments are either in very remote rural areas or living way below the poverty line.
What to look out for in your bank statements:
- That your outgoings aren't exceeding your income.
- That you haven't encountered any unexpected charges.
- That there are no fraudulent transactions.
- That there are no forgotten regular payments (they may have interests attached to them).
- That you've come to the end of a service contract and your monthly charges have jumped.
- That you haven't signed up for a free service and forgot you would end up paying later.
Your bank statement will give you a general overview of your spending habits and where to cut costs. No matter how trivial some of these costs may seem.
Millennials are more active in this field compared to their predecessors, yet they are also still vulnerable in dealing with personal finances - mostly due to non-existent or very minimal financial education.
Lower Your Debts
Quit burying your head in the sand! It won't make your problems go away, much like there are no invisible cloaks to help you escape unwanted incidents. We all know debts accumulate faster than you can remember the next chief minister's name, especially in a country as diverse as India, with at least one festival every month catering to various religious, cultural, or traditional festivities. Let's not even get into birthdays, weddings, and other celebratory days. This means you are bound to have debts incurred, regardless of whether you are a host or an attendee, stores with good sales pitch during these times can be tempting.
Let's face it, it is hard to live debt-free these days, but it can certainly be minimised by following the first principle - 'Review Your Bank Statements'.
Again, there are several ways you can lower your debts. A simple Google search will give you at least 100 websites to refer to for tips so we'll not get into that. We'll just list them out in bullet-points:
- Make a budget and categorise and prioritise your debts.
- Pay more than the minimum payment and spend less.
- Refrain from applying for new loans and don't buy major assets.
- Sell everything you don’t need and find ways to earn more money.
- Negotiate for lower interest rates on your credit cards and other bills.
- Stop using your credit card and consider a balance transfer (if necessary).
- Involve your family members and talk it out.
- Rinse and repeat!
Regardless of the type of debt you’re in — credit card, car loans, or personal loans — there is always a way out, and it starts with your personal empowerment. Granted, like medicines, it may not happen overnight, but if you stick to your plan, a debt-free future could be yours. Just don't fall into the cycle of getting too comfortable with being in debt inadvertently. Some people have a bad habit of letting their debts escalate to a certain level, pay it off, and then let it climb back up again.
This is a psychological routine that later manifests itself into an unnecessary habit.
Power To Me's 'Financial Empowerment' sessions addresses the reasons why you don’t always treat money the way you should, it also identifies deconstructive behaviour and attitude you may have unknowingly cultivated in these last few years. But most of all, these sessions tell you how to deal with them from a psychological, emotional, social and financial aspect.
The advice given is not necessarily on how to deal with RBI, mutual funds, PPT, and other financial schemes provided by the Government. You already have a ton of material on the web with specific instructions on form-filling and the steps involved in setting up an account or signing up for a new scheme.The point of Power To Me is to show you a way to balance the power of your financial goal, income, and investments; and stimulate a calmer, more rational financial approach.
THE 15 SESSIONS COVERED IN FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT
- The Power of a Financial Goal
- The Power of Financial Mapping
- The Power of Successive Growth Assets
- The Power of Income
- The Power of Items
- The Power of Business
- The Power of Investments
- The Power of Commodities
- The Power of Shares
- The Power of Real Estate
- The Power of Capital or Money
- The Power of Letting Go
- The Power of Awareness
- The Power of Proximity
- The Power of Action
Learning financial empowerment can be strange for some, but yet interesting and fun while being realistic and straightforward. It caters to all income-slabs and circumstances, despite the massive diversity in India. For others, they might find it outrageous that they need to pay in order to learn from experienced masters.
But the rewards – both financial, intellectual, and emotional – can be remarkable.
Got any investment questions? Go ahead and drop us a message!