Personal Finance

Understand financial instruments first

Suresh Parthasarathy | Updated on July 30, 2011 Published on July 30, 2011

I am 42, and working in a private company. My wife is also employed. We have a daughter aged 13.

After meeting my household expenses of Rs 20,000, EMI of Rs 10,000, SIP and insurance premium, my monthly surplus is Rs 11,000. My wife earns Rs 9,000 a month, which is kept as emergency fund in a savings bank account. We live in an independent house and have let-out the ground floor for Rs 3,500 a month.

I have invested in eight mutual fund schemes and the market value is Rs 1.2 lakh. Now I have an SIP in Franklin India Blue Chip for Rs 2,000. I have four ULIPs, but I have stopped paying premium in three plans after the mandatory three-year lock-in. My total invested amount is Rs 1.3 lakh. I am continuing one ULIP for which I pay an annual premium of Rs 11,000 which I intended to stop in 2012 after completion of three years.

I have two traditional insurance policies with sum insured of Rs 1.3 lakh and my annual premium is Rs 9,902. The policies are maturing in 2018 and 2023. My wife has two policies for sum assured of Rs 4 lakh and the annual premium outgo of Rs 9,049. Her policies mature in 2025.

I have three plots in and around Shimoga (Karnataka) and its current value is Rs 27.5 lakh.

My concerns are: I have no idea how much I need to save for my daughter's education and marriage. But I would like her to study engineering. After checking my portfolio, suggest if I need to make any changes.

Based on my current monthly household expenses, how much I should receive as pension after retirement and how much do I need to save for retirement? From last month I have started to invest monthly Rs 3,000 in the new pension scheme.

— Sridhar

Solutions: A financial product may be good at structure, but it will not be of a great help to reach financial goals if the individual is not disciplined and persistent with his investments. The way you are investing and the products that you are investing in will not help you in your wealth creation strategy.

For instance ULIPs are recommended as a long-term insurance and investment product. But you seem to have paid premium only for the first three years. The high initial charges in the earlier years could have restricted your investment. Real benefits will come only after the initial years. But having stopped paying premium from the fourth year, you will not reap benefits from ULIPs.

Stopping SIPs when markets are down is against the concept of cost averaging. All this mess could have been avoided if you had fixed goals for investments. Compounding factors are important in building corpus. So fix a goal before starting to invest.

Education: None of your four traditional insurance policies will help you to meet your daughter's college first-year educational expenses as three of them are maturing well beyond your daughter's higher education period.

For instance, if you want your daughter to go for engineering, the educational expenses at a conservative estimate for four years could be Rs 4-6 lakh. To meet the educational expenses it is better to not surrender your ULIPs now. Close it as your daughter is about to start first year of engineering (if markets are highly volatile surrender well in advance). For the second year utilise the maturity proceeds of the traditional plan. For tuition fees in the third and fourth years earmark your current investment in mutual fund.

Marriage: Marriage expenses in India depend on the geography and lifestyle of individuals. As you have not mentioned how much you require for your daughter's marriage, we presume present value of Rs 10 lakh. If the present value is inflated at 7 per cent for the next 10 years, the sum required will be closer to Rs 20 lakh. To reach the target you need to save Rs 8,700 a month for the next 120 months at an interest of 12 per cent.

Retirement: If you wish to leave plots as estate to your daughter, save more for retirement. With your current monthly surplus such a goal is achievable provided you construct a portfolio with an equity allocation of 60 per cent and the rest in gold and debt.

Your current annual living expenses of Rs 2.4 lakh will be Rs 7 lakh if inflated at 7 per cent for the next 15 years (till 58 years). If you factor in your rental income for post-retirement expenses, you need Rs 6.6 lakh to meet your annual living expenses.

To receive such a pension at retirement you should have a corpus of Rs 1.17 crore after factoring in maturity proceeds of Rs 8.5 lakh from your traditional insurance plans and it should earn at least 2 per cent interest over inflation. Only then will the corpus sustain till you turn 80.

To reach your retirement target you need to save every month Rs 23,450 for the next 180 months and it should earn an interest of 12 per cent.

It is advisable to stay invested in the new pension scheme because it is among the least expensive product available. Its performance since launch has been good.

Insurance: To protect all your financial goals it is advisable to take term insurance for Rs 1 crore and the annual premium outgo would be Rs 19,600. If you are protected by group health insurance at least four year prior to retirement, buy health policy to benefit from any pre-existing aliments.

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