NRIs, have you’ve been toiling hard to rake in that extra bit but unable to fathom where all your money disappears by the end of the month? Chances are there’s a money leak. Fix it right away with a financial budget says Geeta Nair before your expenses balloon to unimaginable proportions leading you to a debt trap.
A financial budget can help you set your finances in order. It’s all about personal finance. And it’ll help you allocate your income appropriately among your needs, wants and desires enabling you to meet your financial goals easily.
Here’s how NRIs can go about managing their finances:
- Ascertain your total income: Jot down all your sources of income. Apart from your regular employment, your part time jobs, dividends, interest income from investments are all sources of income. Total them all.
- Save atleast 20% to 30% of your gross income: Says Kairav Shah, Vice President, Personal Finance, Apnaloan.com, “Make it a point to set aside 20% to 30% of your total monthly income towards savings always. Leave this money untouched. And depending on your age, goals and risk profile invest this amount in mutual funds, equities, fixed income among others.”
But then do you have a good support system in place? For instance if you’re living in places like Australia wherein children’s education, retirement, health are supported by the government there’s not much to worry. States Shah, “If you’re covered under a social security in whichever country you reside, you may reduce the said percent by about 5%.”
- Buy property at the earliest: NRIs, buy a home at the earliest wherever you stay outside India. Opines Shah, “Most NRIs make the biggest mistake of not buying a home in the foreign country they stay and continue to live in rented apartments for long periods. You must consider buying a home at the earliest. This is because over a period of time property gets expensive, and if you continue to wait, back home too you’ll not be in a position to buy on your return after several years since by then the same may get unaffordable. You’d lose out both ways.” Besides real estate investment in India is important too.
- Are you spending on a need or a want? Paying up your monthly rent, electricity and grocery bills are all needs you can’t do without. But you can surely cut down on your several outings at expensive restaurants and shopping sprees that burn a deep hole in your pocket.
With several malls around convenience is in, no doubt. But think. Are you buying goods that you really need or are you following herd mentality? Have you used that food processor you bought last Christmas or is it still lying in a sealed pack in the corner of your kitchen unused? Analyse your past purchases and you’ll know your spending habits.
- Put off impulse purchases: Do you go berserk when you hear of heavy discount offers, free gifts and cashback schemes. Stop! Simply put off impulse buying. That buy-one get-one free offer may not be as good as it seems. Besides, give a thought – do you really Need that shirt now or do you Want it because it simply appears to be a good offer?
- Follow the 60:30:10 ratio: Try maintaining a ratio of 60:30:10 between your needs, wants and desires. Maintain a list of each of your expenses howsoever insignificant they may seem. And you’ll know how much you’ve ended up spending on items you don’t really need. Segregate the fixed and variable expenditure. While there’s not much you can do with the former, you can easily fine-tune your variable expenditure.
- Contingency fund is a must: Financial emergencies such as loss of employment, illness in the family, accidents etc can spring up unpleasant surprises just anytime. You need a contingency fund that can take care of sudden financial needs. Opines Shah, "Keep aside three to six months of your income for emergencies. And you won’t have to dip into your savings in case of a financial crisis."
- Stick to your budget, review regularly: Creating a budget is easy but its hard to stick to it. Ascertain each time how closer you have been to your laid out plan. Make necessary changes wherever needed, fine tune and stick to your budget always come what may. Do a review to find out how far you’re on track and whether there is a diversion at all. If yes, make up for the same in the next month and soon you’ll be on the right track to achieving your goals.