Ushering in a new year comes with its fair share of reflection on the past, and how far you may have come. For many of us, it is a time to set goals and make plans with renewed optimism, and with the knowledge or wisdom that the year gone by might have left us with. In that spirit, we asked people across different industries and professions to share the financial realisations they’ve had and lessons they learnt in 2022, which will shape the way they deal with their finances this year. Read on.
Planning for Retirement
The past year has really been satisfying as I was more meticulous in the execution of my retirement planning as compared to before. Previously, this hadn’t been possible because of insufficient disposable income due to other financial commitments and a lack of professional guidance for comprehensive financial planning. When I joined 1 Finance, the team helped me create a financial plan, which included building an emergency corpus and a retirement plan, among other things. This provided me with a clear structure and visibility into the plan for at least the next ten years, as well as where I am currently standing. It also prompted me to talk about the National Pension System, which had been on my mind for quite some time. I spoke with my colleagues about it, its workings, and their experiences; and after detailed research, thoroughly understood the procedure — all of which reaffirmed my faith in this system, and I began investing in NPS. It provides me with the necessary discipline to save for my second innings while also serving a tax-saving purpose. I’m also hoping for good returns because I’ve ensured a well-balanced and diverse asset allocation. I believe that this, along with other small steps I’m taking to build a retirement corpus, will help me achieve financial independence.
—Manju Dhake, Vice President, Insurance, 1 Finance
Going Back to Basics
I am in my first year of business and I’m learning a lot. Our business — a café in Goa — was a pandemic baby that started in 2020, just after the first lockdown, out of a home kitchen with no overheads. Because it picked up so quickly, I was under pressure to kick up production, which pushed me to open a place without consulting anyone. As a restaurant business operating in an unpredictable and saturated market, we have to do a lot of things purely for marketing. Those eventually turn into a financial mess for us because we end up losing money instead of making more. This is my biggest financial learning this year. I participated in an event — hoping to gain exposure — for which I ended up paying a lot more than I made; and I also realised that the private dinners that I do primarily for social media content don’t make me money. These experiences made me realise that I need to sacrifice some unnecessary expenses and just focus on my basic needs for running this business. Earlier, I did keep aside a chunk for marketing, but I feel like I didn’t get a lot back in return, so I need to change that strategy. I’ve realised the importance of market research, and I’m going to try to be more inventive with our product and focus on investing in skilled labour and equipment. I’m definitely working on that right now, and being consistent so that I attract more people which in turn helps me financially. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know where I need to spend wisely at this point, and I’m trying to get good advice on how to manage my finances and distribute them evenly.
—Priyanka Sardessai, chef and owner, Larder and Folk
Preparing for Emergencies
As a financial advisor, my fundamentals are clear, but as an entrepreneur, I do want to capitalise on risks, venture into new spaces, or have certain investment goals. What I have learnt this year is applicable to each individual — that you should have at least 6 months of funds or a certain amount of capital that can help in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. It could be an emergency fund or some capital to cover an event like an illness or other major expense, which may be unavoidable. You need to have enough of a back-up to do that.
—Rishabh Lodaya, Certified Financial Planner and founder, RSL & CO
Finding Value in Creative Collaboration
The art of investing in creatives yields meaningful returns! The experience of creating and self-publishing my book Bombay Imagined involved working with more than 50 collaborators, all of whom were paid for their contributions without negotiation. The final book is a manifestation of the reality that when creatives are valued, they give much in return. I intend to continue investing in creative colleagues and friends in 2023!
—Robert Stephens, architect and author
Making Finances Sustainable
When I first started Bare Necessities, a large chunk of my focus was on the environment. As Bare Necessities started to grow, I began to think from a business perspective. It required me to understand how to make the business viable, and therefore deciphering economic and marketing metrics became essential. If you want to be sustainable, the definition of that also includes being financially sustainable. Today, my personal philosophy for running Bare Necessities has been to focus on people, planet and profit. At different stages, different elements have taken centre stage. Taking a holistic approach to running the business has helped maintain balance, while providing stability and sustainability. I have meticulously worked to buy things that are in alignment with my values. For example, over the last year, I’ve been using my electric car — which was a great investment! Additionally, I understood the importance of arming myself with knowledge and creating my own financial story, relearning and unlearning a lot of what I saw when I was young.
—Sahar Mansoor, founder, Bare Necessities