Follow These 5Ps to Take Control of Your Finances in the New Financial Year 2023-24

Mar 29, 2023 / Reading Time: Approx. 10 mins

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It is critical to plan your finances and investments at the start of the fiscal year in order to avoid a last-minute scramble and to invest based on your needs and financial goals. Every year brings new challenges that we must overcome, learn from, and move forward. As a result, it is prudent to revisit our financial decisions from last year in light of our present financial status and market conditions. Learning from our mistakes in the past can help us make better financial decisions in the future.

Financial planning has evolved in recent years, and more people are recognising the importance of having a long-term financial plan. Today's digitally-savvy generation prefers to manage their finances using digital platforms or apps. A one-stop solution that allows them to plan, manage, grow, and address their financial needs.

Now, What is Financial Planning?

Financial planning plays a pivotal role in allocating funds to the best-suited investment vehicle to add value to your overall financial portfolio. The beginning of the new financial year 2023-24 is the perfect time to reflect on your financial practices or mistakes from the previous year 2023-22 and get started with smart financial planning.

Recently, on the occasion of Gudi Padwa, I met all my cousins. Rohit and Madhu were discussing ITR filing, their investments and how they are struggling with the finances due to last-minute hassle. While our youngest brother Rishi said, "All these financial planning swing like a bouncer over my head. I wish there were a simple concept or theory to understand this."

To which Rohit replied, "These Gen Z's want everything readymade and easily available at their fingertips. Rishi, the new financial year is approaching, and you must emphasise on financial planning rather than splurging on irrelevant gadgets online; the early you start the better it is."

Rishi replied, "Yes, bhaiya, I too, intend to put my finances in place and have better control. But I don't know where to start. The basic I understand about personal finance management is earning enough to manage one's daily or monthly expenses and saving enough for the future."

To which I responded, "Rishi, there is more to financial planning than simply saving from monthly expenses; however, it is one of the elements. The practice of financial planning should be considered as a scientific approach to achieve life's milestones rather than seeing it as an ad hoc process only to save maximum tax at the end of the financial year. The goal of developing a financial plan is to understand your financial situation, prioritise your goals, and maintain stability even during challenging times."

Follow These 5Ps to Take Control of Your Finances in the New Financial Year 2023-24
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Let me help you understand financial planning with a unique approach. You need to follow these 5Ps to take control of your finances.

1. Planning

If you create a plan for any event in life, it is easier to manage; for instance, if you are going on a vacation, proper planning is required. Similarly, your personal finances require structured planning to stay in control and manageable. You can begin with 2 simple steps:

Step #1 - Goal Planning - You need to create S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals. A good financial plan is guided by your financial goals. If you approach your financial planning from the standpoint of what your money can do for you, whether to buy a house or help you retire early, it will assist you in saving efficiently towards your goals.

Step #2 - Budgeting - Budgeting is an important aspect of financial planning; developing a budget helps you manage your cash flows, and you can cut back on non-discretionary costs to save more and meet your goals. An accurate picture of your finances is the key to creating a strong financial plan and can reveal ways to direct more to savings, investing, or debt pay-down. There are various budget planning apps available online that can assist you in prudent budgeting exercises.

2. Protection

A common goal that every individual holds is providing a secure financial future for our loved ones and protecting them from any financial challenges. You need to protect your financial worth, to maintain financial stability. An adequate insurance cover helps you do that and is thus considered a vital aspect of financial planning.

You have all seen the necessity of having life and health insurance during the pandemic. One must remember that as we age, the probability of getting insurance coverage at an affordable premium decreases. Therefore, if you already hold insurance coverage for life and health, take a close look at it, and enhance the coverage wherever needed. The best way to cover your life risk and provide financial security to your family in your absence is by getting appropriate health, term or life insurance.

Insurance has several aspects like protection, wealth generation, and a select few that offer the policyholder a combination of both. This is an essential element of your financial planning and should be of utmost importance to avoid having a dent in your savings due to unforeseen contingencies.

3. Provide

Many individuals are charged with the responsibility of managing finances and providing for household expenses and others. With this step of financial planning, you can ensure a better plan tailored for emergencies as well. A major component of financial planning is liquidity management to sustain unforeseen events.

You need to create a financial cushion or safety net to maintain your financial stability in times of emergencies. The future is uncertain; a sudden job loss or an unexpected medical emergency can shake up your finances considerably. Ideally, you need to keep an amount equal to 6-12 months of expenses, including loan EMIs, as a contingency fund. You can start small, and the money can be invested into liquid funds so that you can access the money quickly in case of an emergency.

4. Power

One of the benefits of taking control of your finances through financial planning is the sense of empowerment it brings to you. There are two aspects of financial planning that can strengthen your overall finances.

  • Investment Planning

    Your finances are powerful once you indulge in prudent investment planning. Your savings are best utilised when they are invested in rewarding investment avenues like mutual funds. Starting investments at the beginning of the year through ELSS or SIP in the best suitable mutual funds is a convenient way for novice investors to start off.

    Do note you need to pick mutual fund investments that meet the risk-return expectations and, eventually, your investment objective. It is essential that you begin investing early so that you can take full advantage of the power of compounding, which has the potential to help multiply your returns exponentially over time. Investments in worthy mutual fund schemes will give you the power to beat the cost of inflation as well.

    Ideally, investors need to identify their financial goals and align their investments accordingly. 

  • Debt Reduction

    You may have debt that you created to fulfil various financial requirements; however, repaying your debt on time is crucial. You need to focus on clearing/paying off your debt burden to be in the pink of your financial health. Eliminating the debt burden gives you the power to have more disposable income to save and invest in rewarding avenues.

    You need to tackle a high interest debt that pulls out the major portion of your income, leaving you with a small amount to manage the rest of your financial needs. There are numerous approaches to dealing with high interest debt, including the well-known snowball method, which focuses on paying off your smaller bills first. The avalanche method, on the other hand, prioritises paying off your highest interest loans first. You should aim to maintain a debt-to-income ratio of below 40%.

5. Promote

To promote a financially secure life for yourself and your loved ones, you need to be financially literate. All the factors and processes of financial planning will only work for you if you are financially aware of how to implement them.

Financial literacy is the enhances your capability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for your financial wellbeing. Major financial decisions like opening suitable bank accounts, planning for retirement, paying off personal debt from loans or credit cards, and developing a strong investment portfolio for wealth creation are difficult to make when one lacks financial literacy. 

 

To conclude...

Personal finance management is crucial for every person mainly to ensure that they have a comfortable present as well as a secure financial future. The beginning of the new year is a perfect time to reflect on the areas of improvement and get a head start on building strong financial health.

 

MITALI DHOKE is a Research Analyst at PersonalFN. She is an MBA (Finance) and a post-graduate in commerce (M. Com). She focuses primarily on covering articles around mutual funds including NFOs, financial planning and fixed-income products. Mitali holds an overall experience of 4 years in the financial services industry.

She also actively contributes towards content creation for PersonalFN’s social media platforms in the endeavour to educate investors and enhance their financial knowledge.


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