money view

My Money View Story : Small Spends add up to Big Numbers

My Money View storyNothing makes Ashish M, an IT consultant, happier than providing simple & effective solutions to the complicated problems his clients face. But as his business consolidated, Ashish found that managing office and personal expenses had become a nightmare. He grins ruefully as he talks about that time. “I was the classic case of the rocket scientist who was more involved with the day to day plumbing of managing finances than my core skills!”. “Managing expenses are a huge headache….I was tracking expenses on meals, travel, stationery and much more, rather than concentrating on what I am qualified to do. And then luckily, I read a positive blog about Money view, while researching on IT solutions related to text messaging. That was my Eureka moment! This is exactly what I need! “ My Money View storyMy Money View storyAshish researched the App and found it was safe, simple and easy to use.

Money View helped him manage expenses effectively. “There are many expenses involved in running a company. Money View automatically tracks all of my card spend. Cash management feature has helped me immensely in monitoring and budgeting my cash spend. Tracking expenses on paper or excel is a nightmare. Money View takes away this headache effortlessly”, explains Ashish.

Like many of our users, Ashish is positive about the future. With a young family he wants to be financially fit. “Small numbers add up to Big Spends” says Ashish. Money View helps him keep track of his in-flows and expenses with zero effort to budget for the future of his family.

How Money View Helps?

My Money View storyThe Money View App helps users like Ashish track, classify and monitor expenses. It auto-tracks the users' financial transactions across all their accounts (savings accounts, credit cards, billers, etc.) to present a real-time view of their financial summary. The App also provides personalised alerts notifying the users to undertake important financial activities/decisions in a timely manner – e.g., paying credit card or utility bill before the due date, prevent overspending, finding relevant savings to stay within budget and more.

Like Ashish, wouldn't you wish to keep track of your small spends that add up to big numbers?


credit score

Did you score well?

Credit Score

Everybody needs a wingman. Your financial life no less! Let’s help you make some right money moves. Since we’ve been talking Credit Scores in the last two posts, let’s figure out how to score well.

Credit Scores can be a vicious cycle - the lower your credit score, the more interest you need to pay; and the more you need to pay, the harder it is to render monthly payments, which means your creditworthiness falls further. Phew indeed!

Did you know that a CIBILscore of 800 vs. 649 improves your chance of getting a new loan by over 10 times? Take these measures to improve your score:

  • Be alert – Stay on top of your bills. Use a personal finance management app like Money View that will monitor and alert about pending payments – mobile, utilities, credit cards, EMIs and more.
  • Stay punctual – Ditch the queues, pay your bills online, on-time.
  • Length of credit - Retain your old credit cards; use them occasionally and repay on time - this will show that you have been in the credit system for longer.
  • Pre-close – Since outstanding debt affects your scores negatively, focus on paying off your loans as soon as possible.
  • Avail a loan only when you need it the most. Many loan enquiries will result in many CIBIL enquiries and therefore a lower credit score
  • Track - Check your credit score periodically to rectify any discrepancies

Follow these useful tips and help maintain a healthy credit score.


good credit score

Dude, what’s your credit score?

Credit Score

If you’ve made all the right moves, you score! Right? Not too different in your financial life!

Having a good credit score opens up many opportunities. Knowing what lenders see as risky behavior can enable you, the borrower, to make all the right moves!

Take a look at these personal financial ratios that impact your credit score:

  1. A clean, on-time repayment history will improve your score by up to 35%
  2. Lower outstanding credit can improve your score by up to 30%
  3. The longer you are in the credit system, the better the chances of improving your score, up to 15%
  4. If you’ve made enquiries for new credit cards or new loans, it can negatively impact the credit score by up to 10%
  5. If you have only unsecured loans such as personal loans and credit cards, then it is going to affect your credit score by up to 10%.

Most banks prefer to lend to customers with a CIBIL score of 750 and above. Review your financial footprints and get ready to score well.


know your credit score

Are you creditworthy?

Credit Score

Everyone who has ever been through a security check knows the vigilance of a metal detector! Keys, mobile phones or even that odd aluminum foil you forgot to throw away sets off a screening process. Screening is the most employed strategy in the world to assess risks and complications. Much like airports screen for safety and health risks, banks and credit card companies have to ‘screen’ individuals before deciding to take a risk on them, when lending credit.

Banks rely on a metric-driven system to screen and assess individuals seeking credit. So if you are looking for a loan or a credit card, banks will employ the metric-detector called Credit Scores to understand your creditworthiness. This score is arrived at by analyzing your credit and repayment track record. In essence, if you’ve been prompt at paying your EMIs and credit card bills, you are likely to have a higher score. Since a high score is reflective of a person’s creditworthiness, lenders are willing to bet on those individuals.

Do you REALLY need a good credit score?

If you are wondering why you should be worried about credit score, we’ll tell you this. It is the most important score you’ll be measured against in your financial life! From obtaining loans and credit cards to getting better interest rates, credit scores have far-reaching consequences. In advanced economies, the credit scoring system is used as a way to screen people for employment, leasing and marital opportunities even! Although not common in India yet, the trend is picking up. Recently, some major companies in the country have made it mandatory for prospective candidates to submit credit score documents - this will impact the way recruitment is done in India.

If you are not in the credit system yet, the best way is to get a credit card, and use it responsibly. If you have taken and repaid a loan or own a credit card, Credit Information Bureau of India Limited (CIBIL) has a track of your credit history. Find out where you stand by visiting the website www.CIBIL.com to know your credit score.


budget setting

Get Set Goal

Set Your Goals

From Management Gurus, Hiring Managers to Psychologists, ‘goals’ have been known to be a conversation-bender. All of us have a financial goal – becoming debt-free or saving up for something. One may argue that if it is about building wealth, all one has to do is save. But there is a lot more to financial goal setting than putting away money every month.

In order to secure the future, it is necessary to define what you have today and what you want to have tomorrow. Specific goals that are tied to what you value are often easier to achieve. For example, setting a financial goal to save Rs. 60,000 to buy that smartphone you always wanted is a bigger motivator than setting aside the amount to deposit in your savings account.

How to do it?

A written goal is the most definitive way to reinforce motivation that tends to wane after the first few weeks. Keep it SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. Goals that are clear and concise, aligned with quantifiable investments for defined periods of time, are most likely to have desirable outcomes.

  • Goal: Buy a car next year
  • SMART Goal:  For down payment - save Rs. 12,000 X 12 months
  • Balance – Loan - EMI: Rs. 12,000 X 36 months

What?

Define and categorize your goals. This will give you an overall perspective of your financial ambitions and identify what needs to be done to get there.

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Tip : if the goal looks tough break it up into smaller, short term goals. This makes it easier to accomplish.

The action plan

Now that you have identified your goals, it’s time to put pen to paper.

  1. Figure out how much you’ll need to save every month to achieve your specific financial goals.
  2. Use the power of compounding and stock markets as per your risk appetite and invest.
  3. Review your spending with your saving plan and make amends where necessary.
  4. The most important supplementary effort towards achieving financial goals is to stay on top of your money - keep bills intact, pay them off in time and monitor your cash flows.

Remember prudent financial planning begins with financial goal setting.


Save the Environment

Save Money. Save the Environment

Save Money. Save the Environment

It’s a pretty straightforward thought - you reduce your energy consumption, you save money! Being environmentally conscious can mean you are depending lesser on or buying lesser ‘manufactured’ products, therefore spending lesser money. But the message is often wiped out when the focus falls on how overwhelmingly expensive organic food is or how much more it costs to have a solar installation at home. The consequential investment recovery stays out of the purview.

Eco warriors have made sustainability a way of life – being mindful, questioning what’s necessary, retaining the integrity of things and repairing what can be. Not too different with what should be done with your money! Going green in simple everyday acts can make a positive difference to your monthly budgets.

Part of this change requires you to rethink some of the things you take for granted:

List

A to-do list is often dismissed as a geeky habit. But when put to use, it can help you plan, prioritize and save. One of the biggest advantages of putting things in writing is that it helps instil the feeling of pursuit. A list ensures you make fewer but combined trips, whether to the supermarket or to run errands or for anything else - keeps you organized and saves you precious time, money and fuel!

3 Rs

The life mantra of a green enthusiast - the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is the most effective and sustainable way of smart spending.

  • Reduce - You can cut back on electricity bills by putting off unnecessary appliances when not in use. Appliances and devices in standby mode still consume electricity.
  • Reuse – Use a water purifier/ filter at home instead of buying packaged water. Carry your own bottle of water when out. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of plastic waste.
  • Recycle your old things – Whether it’s paper and plastic or that not in use old phone which is collecting dust. There are several agencies to help you with this. Not only do you make a few bucks off it but also do the right thing of disposing responsibly.

Needs vs. Wants

Consumerism is a bully! We are constantly sold what we don’t need but want. Stop keeping up with the Joneses! If you find yourself coveting your friend’s/ neighbour’s glamorous lifestyle, it is time to re-evaluate your own spending pattern. Part of being sustainable is to question the need of something – if you REALLY need something. The lesser you buy, the lesser wastage you create and of course, the lesser money you spend.

Fuel Wise

This is not the first time you’ve heard this and it will not be the last time you hear it. Fuel consumption is one of the biggest environmental concerns, notwithstanding a significant portion of the monthly budget. How can you cut back on this – plan, pool and go public! We talked about plan in point 1. Carpooling with colleagues/ friends on the same route will help you share the fuel costs, while cutting down on traffic on the roads. There are several police-verified carpooling groups in your city. Check and pick that is suitable for you. Perhaps you could utilize public transportation on a few days! And if you can help it, telecommute! With technology enabling interaction, choose to do your meetings online than on-site.

Do the New

Every sceptic who has initially dismissed that growing one’s own vegetables has eaten his/ her own word and the vegetable! While the return on this may not be very promising in the first few months, with care, over a period of time you can save a significant amount in your personal budget. Start with the easiest to grow in a home garden: tomatoes, potatoes and greens.

The little things

Have you heard about Black Google? Blackl is an energy saving Google custom search engine. By displaying darker colours, this system ensures that the monitors use less energy. You can further save on energy costs by investing in a good solar mobile charger. You will not need to consume any more electricity for your phone, ever again.

By being mindful, you can find and plug the leaks, which will eventually help in building wealth.


Insurance Policy

Insurance 101: Why, when, how?

InsuranceHave you ever pondered about inane things like, ‘Are there more red or blue umbrellas in the world?’ or ‘how many people forgot to carry one today or haven’t found the need to buy one at all?’ If you have, you’ll know that sometimes the silliest thoughts can lead you to think of the more important questions. Think about it further and you’d discover that ‘umbrella’ has been a metaphor for Insurance for years now.

Protection, tax-saving, investment – insurance can mean different things to different people. And then again for some, it can mean nothing at all! Did you know that there are more mobile phone users than insurance policy holders in India? In 2014-15 alone, there were over 25 million new life insurance policies sold, versus 50 million new mobile subscribers in the country!

Why Insurance?

An uncomfortable topic for some, insurance is often ignored because it is associated with mortality. People would rather do laundry than talk insurance! But with new milestones in life, it becomes imperative to review one’s financial standing. Insurance is the most effective way to mitigate financial risks in the face of adversity. From paying off current debts to covering future expenses, insurance can take care of the family’s finances in times of loss.

What to buy?

There are endless kinds of insurance policies in the world today. But here are 4 basic kinds of insurance for individuals.

Life insurance – The most widely used, life insurance provides coverage against a person’s death. The nominee of the policy holder is paid the sum assured either in whole or in installments. Life insurance is a fundamental requirement for an individual who has a family that depends on his/her income.

Vehicle insurance – Covers damage to the vehicle and its passengers, third parties who’ve been harmed from the said vehicle and related expenditure. While this insurance comes with every new vehicle purchased it makes sense to renew the policy, every year, as long as you own or drive the vehicle.

Property insurance – This insurance covers property against fire, theft or damage from natural causes. Whether you have a loan against your property, have valuable things in the house or living in an at-risk neighbourhood, property insurance covers you in the face of all calamities.

Health insurance / Medical cover – From preventive care to hospitalization related expenses, you can get coverage in time of crisis. Certain insurance companies cover out-patient care as well as dental. Though many corporate companies provide health cover for their employees through a group insurance policy, it is recommended that you get an individual policy as well.

When to buy?

The best time to buy insurance is before you will need it! Most financial advisors recommend that you buy life insurance when you reach 30 and medical insurance while you are in your 20’s. A good tax break aside, buying insurance early on will ensure you pay cheaper monthly premiums, over time. Also, it is easier to qualify for insurance when young, than later when health status and risks change. But most importantly, insurance needs have to be charted according to one’s phase in life. Whether it’s a significant rise in monthly income or getting married or having a child, insurance needs have to be upgraded accordingly.

How much insurance do I need?

Each individual’s insurance needs are based on various factors – income, debt, lifestyle, health, dependents and risk profile. When it comes to life insurance, most financial advisors say that the thumb rule is 10 -12 times of your annual earnings. Another view holds that the sum insured should be investment enough to be an income replacement. Aside insurance agents, there are several online tools today, to help you arrive at the amount of coverage required.

Insurance is a subject matter for solicitation – What does that mean?

You may have heard or read this disclaimer in insurance ads. While the insurance company offers and advises on what policy to buy, with the disclaimer the onus of choosing the policy falls on the policy holder.

So what next?

  • Educate yourself: Before buying a policy, compare several options. Speak to other people who’ve bought similar policies.
  • Read the fine print – Don’t be put off by the long winding legalese document. Ask questions and thoroughly understand terms of the policy and renewal before you sign up.
  • Don’t believe everything – Although the role of agents is to provide impartial advice, don’t forget that they work for commission. Do your own due diligence
  • Claims and settlement – Buy a policy from an insurance company that has a high rate of claim settlement. Also check customer complaint forums to understand better.
  • Review - It is recommended that you review your policy periodically to ensure that it takes care of your present requirements. Insurance portability is also an option these days.
  • Expenditure – Don’t be lured by policies that promise low premiums. It’s important to choose a policy that will give you maximum coverage, including various important aspects. For example: In the case of hospitalization, if the medical insurance policy worth 3 lacs (with Rs. 5000 premium p.a) does not cover key expenses like ambulance, x-rays, daily allowances etc. you are getting lesser coverage than required.

Find out about insurance policies that are in line with your needs and resources and get a solid financial footing in your life.


Finance Advice

Financial advice from new moms

 Financial adviceWho do you get financial advice from? You could say a trusted financial advisor, a friend, your colleague, perhaps a business magazine. Sound financial advice no doubt empowers you to do the right thing. But have you ever learnt something simple but made phenomenal financial sense and that too from an unconventional source?

With all the interest around Mother’s Day, we thought we should explore the learning of a first-time mom. Are there any money management lessons hidden in the trials of parenthood? New inclusions in the budget aside, an addition to the family requires one to expand the emotional bandwidth, impacting several decisions. We came away amazed to note that in the routine chaos of a first-time mom’s day lays nuggets of financial wisdom:

  1. Think ahead, plan ahead – First-time moms are often compelled to think they have no idea about what they are doing. The period of new and transition can bring complexity. But the edification of a new mom is based on discipline and a practiced eye – figuring out patterns and behaviours of the child, based on which days are planned. Simple but empowering – you acclimatize to a set pattern and plan ahead. Not too different from money management – you know how much you make a month, therefore budget ahead!
  2. System and schedule is important – Everyone who has ever visited a bookstore understands the need for system and order. New moms no less! If it is in order, you spend lesser time, thereby being more efficient. Every first-time mom who has discovered, created and maintained the baby’s schedules realises the importance of it. A little deviation can mean a major challenge to face later. How different is that in terms of personal financial management? If you keep your bills in order and pay them off in time you have lesser to be worried about. A little negligence can cause piling of debt.
  3. Plan for contingencies – First-time moms swear by Murphy’s Law - If you step out without an umbrella, it will rain! Planning, packing and double-checking extra baby food, clothes, toys, supplies and other necessities for a day out saves one the trouble that comes with unforeseen events. Likewise, a good contingency plan will prevent your finances from taking a tailspin in the face of provocation. Most financial advisors recommend an emergency fund that will take care of your living expenses for six months.
  4. Avoid overbuying and overspending – With a new addition to the family, a new list of costs is created – clothes, diapers, the nursery, strollers, car seats and more. First-time parents, in the spirit of enthusiasm, may end up buying many things, much like a first-time stock market investor. New moms who have reined in that feeling understand that prudence is imperative. Whether it’s buying gear that grows with the child or mindfully planning purchases, deliberation might save more than your money.

As they say, mom knows best. Use these nuggets of financial advice from new moms and manage your finances better.


Retirement Plans

The Afterwork Life -- Plan Your Retirement

Remember the time when you first discovered a post-it? The time when you realized that you could actually have a productive day by writing down a list of things to do? The moment you realized that you need to get more organized, consistent or plan ahead in life? If you have, you know it’s been well worth the effort and if you haven’t, you know exactly why you need to.

Almost every major event in life warrants a process of planning. Whether it’s about moving cities and countries or quitting one’s job to start a venture, getting married or retiring to a farmhouse, everything needs to be mapped out and arranged for. That is how one works towards or takes control of the new event; that is how one adapts with ease. Not planning can make change complex and daunting. Retirement is not just a financial event but also a personal one. You need to plan your retirement just like any other event in your life.

The duality and dynamics of the phase makes it all the more important to be strategized for. But often, retirement doesn’t count as an important financial goal. It’s ignored, simply because it’s many years away; because there are many other ‘bigger’ intermediate goals to achieve – buy a car, build a house, marry, travel the world, have kids and then buy another car! The sunset years are but left in the back seat!

 Thumb rule for expenses and savings 

 

 

 

 

50% - Living expenses (including healthcare)20% - Saving for a house or EMI

10% - Retirement savings

10% - Other expenses/ savings or Children’s higher education

10% - Savings for other goals (International holiday or car etc).

This ensures that as your income grows, so does your investment.

Most financial advisors will tell you that retirement planning has to start when you get your first job. There’s a lot more to it than just putting money away in the banks. There are two important aspects to factor in one’s retirement planning:

  • Inflation – The steady rise in cost of living is known to derail many a dream. Unless accounted for, a retirement plan is incomplete. The money that is required for a good desired life today may be insufficient in the future. For example: If you are currently spending INR 50,000 (per month) for living expenses during your mid 30s, assuming an inflation of 5% to 6%, you will need INR 2.25 lakhs to INR 3.0 lakhs (a month) during your retirement.
  • Contingency - Secondly, the older you get the more important it is to account for healthcare plans and emergencies. Besides, with life expectancy on the rise, the period of retirement gets longer, making it necessary to draw up an extended plan.

With this at the backset, you can now tackle your retirement strategy in detail, in a more comprehensive way:

  • Be an early bird - When one starts saving early, the corpus is more likely to get bigger. Debt-based investments such as Provident Fund or Fixed Deposits or Bonds have the power of compounding the interest. When young, one can withstand more risks and invest in the stock market and Mutual Funds.
  • Get Medical insurance – Aside living expenses, most retirees need to shell out a significant amount for health care. Is there a way to minimize the financial strain? Yes, by getting health insurance early on, you could reduce the premium costs for policies. This also ensures that there is no waiting period for the pre-existing conditions clause. Many no-claim years help reduce the policy premium significantly. Look for a policy that covers you till (at least) 75 years.
  • Leverage on real estate – Retirement means different things to different people. Whether it’s about living in the Bahamas or in the Indian countryside, one needs a roof over the head. Without an income, it is stressful to pay rent. Investing in real estate during one’s working years ensures this is taken care of. It is ideal to first invest in real estate to cover stay expenses and then slowly extend to earn a rental income as well. In worst case scenarios, you could reverse mortgage your house during your sunset years for a steady income.
  • No dip – With home loans, education loans, children’s education expenses and weddings occupying one’s mind in the 40s and 50s it’s easy to want to dip in your retirement funds. But a retirement saving plan is like a ‘Do not open till (t)old’ package. Strictly stay away from touching your retirement corpus during your working years.
  • Go debt-free – As you advance towards retirement, you need to decrease exposure to financial risks. Your financial plans are on track when you aim to close all your debts before you touch 55.
  • Build your retirement corpus – Your nest egg should be at least 20 times your annual expenditure at age 55 – 60. Work towards achieving that by investing in a host of savings schemes. In India, traditional retirement planning includes investing in Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and Public Provident Fund (PPF). But the New Pension Scheme (NPS) touted as an alternative to the EPF is getting a lot more attention lately.
  • Earn after retirement – While one retires before the age of 60, it is still possible to engage in work after. Consulting assignments are a great way to keep you mildly-busy while adding to your funds. Investment schemes like Senior Citizen Savings Scheme and Post Office Monthly Income Schemes are a reliable way to earn interest.

If you haven’t started to plan for retirement as yet, start today.


Pay bills money view

Pay Your Bills Through Money View

Bill Payment

We are all guilty of doing it at some point in our lives! Even with best intentions, the most honest and honourable of us fall prey to it! And then of course, what else but pay for it. The crime in question – missed or delayed bill payments!

With multiple credit cards, utility and other bills, all on different billing cycles it is not easy to keep track. Post-its, diaries, spreadsheets, financial planning software – you may have done it all, and yet somehow there’d be a missed bill staring you in the face, costing you a penalty.

Paying bills on time is one of the most important aspects of being in control of one’s personal finances. To consolidate, know what is pending and taking corrective measures on time can be extremely tedious. But then again, bill payment-diligence not only reduces stress but also saves money that one would otherwise spend as late payment fees. Not to forget, one’s good paying habits boosts the credit score, which is imperative in getting a lower rate of interest when borrowing from banks.

So how does one keep track of expenses and get organized? Sifting through bills, noting down the different payment due dates, setting up reminders and writing cheques are absolutely obsolete now! All you need today is to get a smart and simple expense tracking app like Money View that does all the work for you.

Here’s how you get started:

  1. Download the free Money View app from the Google Playstore. The app is functional as soon as it is downloaded – no inputs, no setting required. Money View tracks your personal expenses from SMS received from banks and billers in your inbox, streamline and automate your financial information
  2. Open the app. Go to the Bills section, you will see a summary of the bills pending. Money View categorises your bills, so you know exactly who and how much you owe. The app gives you a countdown to the due date, sends you timely reminders, so you never have to miss a payment.
  3. Although the app is designed to sift through SMS to organize information, you can add bills that you don’t get SMS for. Once done, Money View will auto-generate these bills every month.
  4. If you don’t want the app to show a particular bill, you have the option to hide it.
  5. The app enables you to name your bills making it easy to refer to.
  6. Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Docomo and BSNL bills can be paid directly through the app (via Whiz Pay).
  7. For other bills, the app will redirect to respective biller websites, enabling you to make quick mobile payments.

And just like that, bill payments can become a fuss-free, hassle-free task. You don’t have to pick up a chequebook, visit a store or stand in line or look for a computer with internet access. You can now kill your bills from your smart phone, from anywhere, on time, every time!