We all feel it. Anxiety, insecurity and worry about money are common, at every stage of life. For many, thinking about finances can bring up paralysing fears and unpleasant thoughts — but what do we do next? Each of us has our own way of confronting (or avoiding) these emotions, which — for better or worse — is fundamental to our relationship with money and the uncertainty that inevitably surrounds it. We asked an eclectic group of people what they do to feel less anxious about their finances. Read on.
Taking Taxes into Account
Usually, the notion of ‘month end’ comes along with a hope to start fresh in the next month. However, this is not the case when you’re on the other side of the table and are playing the part of an employer. As a business owner, chasing and fulfilling monetary targets and goals has never been a reason to add to my anxiousness. Rather, during the first week of every month, when I am due to pay out my bills and salaries, it can become mentally taxing. In order to ensure that I’m in check of my finances and mentally less apprehensive, I plan out my months in terms of gains and expenses in advance. One constructive method I practise is specifically for Income Tax Returns. I maintain an ITR reserve through the year, which not only helps me gain some interest on my savings, but also avoids a major chunk of money from being wiped off if I am unprepared. Taking baby steps towards creating such targeted reserves and segregating funds keeps me from feeling anxious financially.
—Advaith Nayar, founder, Magari Café
I’m anxious about having enough money to sustain myself post-retirement. I don’t know how much money I will need at 60, or at 70, or at 80. That is the anxiety. My upbringing has been such that, for me, savings are very important. The moment I started earning, I took some actions — I started an SIP, some mutual funds — but those were not linked to a specific milestone in my life. I feel like I need to save more, and that’s at least helping me manage or deal with the anxiety. Each time I make a big purchase or decision, I try to be more intentional about it. I’m putting aside money in two different financial products, and hoping that’ll help me plan my retirement.
—Anooj Mehta, Vice President, Partner Success at 1 Finance
As an entrepreneur, cash flows are always a challenge and depleting bank balances send me into a tizzy! Over time, I’ve tried to shore up and invest some money when it comes in, and tried to get a better understanding of my spending. For someone who’s not so intuitive with numbers, that feels like a lot! With practice, and a little bit of help, I’m hoping to get a whole lot better.
—Antaraa Vasudev, founder, Civis
Financial Date Nights
Currently, I have a home loan to pay off, and budgeting is what I completely fall back on for this. Strong budgeting is key to facing all financial challenges. Also, every year on our anniversary, my husband and I go on a financial date — the point is to discuss our finances openly, without any distractions or time restrictions. This might sound a little funny, but we have actually prepared an agenda because both of us belong to the finance profession. This year, the main agenda will be that we want to prepay a part of our home loan — so we’ll decide how much it would be, from which investments we shall plan to repay and how much we should increase the EMI to reduce the tenure of the loan.
—Charmi Shah, Certified Financial Planner and co-founder, Torient Services
Building a Safety Net
Recently, I’ve had two houses to take care of. I moved in with my partner, so we have that house to manage, and then there’s my parents’ house. Now that they’ve moved out, all the expenses are on me — the utilities, the repairs, and so on. These are things I never had to pay for or worry about before. Now, every month, I find myself hoping that nothing breaks in the house — or in the five cars and three bikes that I own. I do get a little anxious for these things because that’s something I don’t usually factor into my budget. What gives me comfort is that I started saving money very early on, so now even if something happens, I have enough to tide me over. Just having that safety net helps. I have a target of increasing it every year, and whenever there are some really good months where business is booming, I put the money into a fixed deposit, for a rainy day. The fact that I have a substantial health insurance cover is also a factor that contributes to my peace of mind.
—Noel James Nelliyattu, founder, NellyAuto
In an episode of Sex and the City, a 30-something Carrie finds out that she has spent all her money on shoes, bags and clothes, and has close to nothing in her bank account. In my early 20s, I was like, “Who does that?!” At my undisclosed age, I have found out, it’s people like me. However, I don’t get that stressed about money. Usually, I spend what I make, hoping to earn truckloads in the latter half of my life, if I don’t pop early. Whenever I do get a little stressed, since investing is not really my forte, I usually take assistance from a financial advisor to manage my money, or else, just FD it. I have been told it is never good to store your cash, if you have any.
—Samidha Tyagi, lawyer and partner, Desai & Dewanji