Ravish was a long time investor in mutual funds. Recently, when he redeemed his debt fund after a couple of years, he had a rude shock. He was not aware of the Budget changes that changed the period of holding debt funds for the purpose of capital gains calculation from 12 months to 36 months. As a result, instead of an indexed 20% tax liability on his capital gain, he was taxed on the full gain at a flat 30% (which was his regular tax slab).
Ravish is not alone. Personal finance is a very dynamic subject and the financial rules and regulations change from time to time. Beyond knowing what’s going on around the world, it’s equally important to keep track of what’s in your wallet and bank accounts. The question is thus: how can you stay updated on money matters?
Here are some simple ways to get you started.
First things first, get your newspaperwala to deliver one good financial newspaper like the Economic Times, or Mint to your home or read online. This will serve as a daily dose of financial reading for you. When you read, do it smartly: don’t have to read the complete newspaper word by word: be choosy and scan only for topics you want to read like changes in Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, important consumer forum judgements in the area of personal finance, latest announcements from the Income Tax Department etc.. Once you shortlist and read the articles, assess their implication on your finances and take action wherever necessary.
Good money blogs provide a good source of pros and cons on latest developments so that you can take a thoughtful decision instead of an impulsive one. Our very own blog right here on Tomorrow Makers has personal finance wisdom that comes from various financial experts and thought leaders on matters such as dealing with tough financial situations, recovering from debt, and how to tackle increasing medical costs, among others. Reading one article or infographic a day can help you get rich insights into how the world of finance works all around you.
Related: Top 10 New Year Financial To Dos
Another way to stay updated on money matters is to subscribe to good personal finance magazines. Some good examples include Money life and Outlook Money. Then, there are niche magazines like Mutual fund Insight (for mutual funds) and Wealth Insight (for stocks) by Value research team. Purchasing subscriptions to Money life will also alert you to periodic personal finance awareness events held by the Foundation and you can also make it a point to attend it as per your convenience.
OK, so if you are not a reading person, no sweat! Amongst the multiple financial news channels in India, there is at least one dedicated programme/show on personal finance per channel. For example, ET Now telecasts shows like Investor’s Guide which is rich sources to capture & learn about developments in personal finance. You can watch them at scheduled time or even catch up the episodes on YouTube. Additionally, you can catch up on videos right here on topics such as What to do after a car accident or Should I rent or buy a house?
Apps can help you stay abreast of your personal finance news on the go, keep track of your expenses, calculate the tax payable for the year or even discern how much you need to achieve your financial goals like retirement. To see a list that can help you stay updated with financial matters, read this listicle. There are many such apps but if you plan to integrate your card and bank accounts ensure that that the app is from a reputed provider and does not compromise on data security.
The media can provide at best generic information. As an investor, if you seek personalised advice & want a professional to guide you in financial matters, or are a senior citizen & need handholding, invest in a financial advisor. Pay him/her a fee for a monthly or a yearly retainer. That way, a financial advisor can help you in the form of discussing the impact of developments, provide personalised suggestions on what to do or not to do and help you tide through tough times. See that the advisor is qualified, competent and most importantly, is registered with SEBI.
Benjamin Franklin said: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”. Likewise, spending some time and little bit of money to stay updated on personal finance is also an investment and the return of this investment is saving yourself from costly mistakes and helping you take the right decisions at the right time for your family’s financial wellbeing and secure future.
While credit cards come with a host of benefits, they must be used carefully, and never in these situations!