Source/Contribution by : NJ Publications
“Set your goals high and don't stop till you get there” ~ Bo Jackson
There is a strong correlation between your investments and your goals. To make life simple, every goal must have an investment attached to it. To justify its presence, the investment must qualify in two tests viz. it must mature at the time of attainment of the goal and the maturity value of the investment must be adequate to meet the goal.
We have spoken a lot about the investment options that are available and how they can be customised according to your goals. Today we would talk about the latter, i.e. the basis of investments “your goals”.
Most people do not invest because of lack of excitement to achieve or lack of knowledge. “Plan for your retirement” may not excite you, but “Having Rs. 5 crore at the time you retire” or “Getting Rs 50,000 a month even after retirement” would definitely excite you. It's just a matter of choosing the right set of words. You have to make your goals simple and exciting and your financial advisor will take care of the need for knowledge.
Personal finance, saving and investments are terms which might scare you off, but a little modification in your perception and presentation of these terms can make things smoother to understand and apply. As a part of the simplification process, you must make your goals exciting, as the thrill will motivate you to invest for them and work to achieve them. Following are a few key points which can help you make your goals exciting:
Pen down your goals: We do remember what is important for us, what do we want to achieve at the back of our minds, yet it is prudent to write down your goals along with the target date. Writing down your goals will remind you constantly that you have to work hard to achieve them, you can go on check-marking the ones you've accomplished. You can review the list to track your status and edit them as per your requirements. So, whatever short and long term goals you have set for yourself, just write them down irrespective of how and when you'll achieve them.
“Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants; cant's into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality” ~ Michael Korda
Step by step: If you are the one who is averse to investments, try your luck with investing for one short term goal. Start with a thrill, you may go for a one year debt mutual fund to actualise your dream of going for a vacation with your wife, the one which you have been postponing for dearth of money. After one year, when you come back from the vacation, you will not be the hesitant investor anymore, but an investment fanatic. The contentment of achieving one goal will help you in setting and working for the next goal. The joy which you will imbibe from this vacation will motivate you to invest for your next goal, and this motivation will set you on track.
Challenge yourself: If you feel you may not be able to conserve money from your income, to provide for your investments, “Challenge Yourself”. Your income is limited and you have a lavish lifestyle. Due to maintenance of your standard of living, you have not been able to own a house and it is your dream to have your own house. However, you feel setting a goal to buy a house is of no point since you will not be able to achieve it. It is only you who can help yourself at this point. Provoke yourself, start with a short period, say a month, develop a conviction that you will not waste money in parties, fine dines and shopping, and for this month you will limit your expenses to necessities only. After a month, when you see the extra money, you'll realize that your dream can be actualized. And at that point, the goal of buying a house occupies a place in your mission list.
Process driven: Make a list of short and long term goals. Break down your longer term goals into short term goals. Let's say you want to leave certain assets for your kids to inherit. This is a very long term goal. But before that you must provide for their education, marriage etc, these are relatively shorter goals which also in a way form a part of the former. Or you may want to be debt free five years down the line, paying off your credit card debt is a short term goal and is a part of your long term goal. Achieving your short term goals one by one will set you on the path to reach your long term objectives.
Achievable: The goals that you set for yourself must be exciting but attainable, else they will loose their charm. If today, you are hardly able to make both ends meet, you have other important objectives to fulfill, like your children's education, owing a house and you set a goal of owning a BMW after five years. You are most likely not achieving this goal. So, by exciting we mean goals which are thrilling and realizable.
Now, keeping these points in mind, once you are through with setting your goals, approach your financial advisor, who will help you in prioritizing your goals, allocating budgets and developing a portfolio to help you achieve your goals.