While more and more women are pursuing high powered careers and becoming an inherent and valuable part of workforce, few, however, are aware of how to make themselves financially secure. Kinnary Nensee shows you how the right investments can make all the difference.
Investment can be best defined as – ‘The purchase of a financial product or any other item of value with an expectation of favourable future returns’.
This ‘financial product’ can be in the form of an immovable asset (a house or a piece of land), stocks, bonds, Bank FDs and Mutual funds.
Some investments like stocks or Mutual Funds largely act as creating and increasing liquid cash reserves, whereas Bank FDs, Provident Fund, Public Provident Fund, preserve invested money, also drawing interest over the years.
Some investments can also be used to generate a monthly income as the Interest Amount on the principal. Immovable investment assets add security increasing in value over the years.
Here’s a look at some of the financial tools available in different categories, and their advantages:
Preserving Cash Reserves
Public Provident Fund
- Available with Post Offices as well as Banks
- Valid for a time frame of 15 years
- Attracts an annual Interest Rate of 8%
- Minimum investment of Rs. 500/- and Maximum of Rs. 70,000/- per annum
- Withdrawal Options are available from 7th year onwards
- Tax benefits on withdrawals
Whether you’re a home-maker or a professional, the PPF facility is available to all. A regular input per annum will not only attract the interest amount but also build a large saving in a space of 15 years.
Kisan Vikas Patra
- Available at the Post Office
- Attracts an annual Interest rate of 8%
- Valid for a time frame of 8 years and 7 months
- The Maturity value is double of the principal amount
- Investment amount is at individual discretion. There is no specified limit
Money has to be invested in this scheme only once and not every year as is pertinent with the PPF facility. The returns are high, guaranteed and risk free. Also, these returns are assured in a specified time frame, which makes this scheme very attractive, and a viable investment option for women.
National Savings Certificate
- Available at the Post Office
- Attracts an Interest Rate of 8%
- Investment amount is at individual discretion. There is no specified limit.
- No Withdrawal options are available
This scheme is ideal for individuals who want to diversify their cash reserves. Since there are no withdrawal options available, this preserves the liquid cash for the specified time frame earning an interest regularly, thereby also building a kitty.
Post Office Time Deposit Account
- Investor can decide on the time frame of investment
- The time frame can be between 1 year and 5 years
- The interest rate differs on the time frame chosen
- Interest on the deposits are payable annually but calculated quarterly
Like the KVP and NSC, this investment is also a one-time investment and depending on the time frame chosen, the principal amount attracts interest. Since there are no withdrawals allowed, this account holds and builds a savings kitty.
- Available with Public and Private Sector Banks
- Investor can choose the time frame for FDs
- Attracts an Interest rate anywhere between 9% to 11% depending on the time period of the FD and with which institution FD is made
- There is no maximum amount limit on investment
- FDs can be broken mid term at pro rata interest rates
Earning a high interest rate, FDs also act as emergency money. FDs can be broken mid term as and when money is required or can be carried to full term. However, if broken mid-term, it will affect the interest earned on the principal amount
Post Office Monthly Income Scheme
- Valid for a time frame of 6 years
- Attracts a 10% bonus on the principal amount
- Also attracts a monthly interest amount (e.g. A deposit of Rs. 1,50,000/- will earn a monthly interest amount of Rs. 1000/-)
- Maximum investment limit for single holder is Rs. 3,00,000/- and for joint holders is Rs. 6,00,000/-
This scheme is ideal for women who have retired from an active professional career and for home-makers who are looking at a regular monthly income. Even single women living alone or old ladies can gain financial freedom utilizing this scheme.
- Short term investments
- High returns
- Investor is eligible for dividends as declared by the companies
- Opportunity to trade in Initial Public Offerings
This type of investment gives the highest returns in a very short time. Also it gives the investor complete control and freedom over his/her finance and to decide where and when and in which stock to invest.
However, dealing in stocks is also the most risky. An in depth knowledge of the functions of the stock market, constant vigilance on the behavior of the market, awareness of the financial world and the past, present and future actions & plans of various companies becomes utmost necessary.
A good alternative to self-trading is to trade through a stock-broker. A stock-broker is in close touch with the market, it’s ups and downs, the performance parameter of different companies and hence can be a better guide on stock investment.
- Long term investments
- Through SIP can minimize losses and maximize returns
- Investment amount is managed by Fund Experts
Another good alternative to self-trading is investing in Mutual Funds. There are a variety of Mutual Funds being floated in the market by Banks and Financial Institutions like HDFC Bank, Franklin Templeton, Reliance, Prudential ICICI Asset Management Co.
Investors can choose the product suitable to their requirements and can either invest a lump-sum or choose a SIP (Systematic Investment Planning) wherein a specific amount is injected into the fund every month. The benefit of the SIP way of investment is to save huge losses.
Long Term Investments
Investing in real estate, like a house, is an expensive affair. However loans are easily available with Public as well as Private sector banks. Loans make it easier for investors to purchase real estate and then repay over a period of 10-20 years with interest.
Although expensive, real estate investment is a sound decision. The purchased house can be either rented to individuals or a company and thereby can be made to pay for itself. Incase the loan has be cleared with the bank then it becomes a source of regular monthly income for the investor.
With debt, equity and real estate, gold should form an integral part of investment. Banks and branded jewelers today sell certified gold coins in different denominations like 5 grams, 10 grams, 20 grams. Though gold prices are volatile, they are well within a range and become a great investment option with a 15-20 year investment range view.
Women can invest as little as 5 gram gold coin every year and build up a kitty of around 50 grams in 10 years and 100 grams in 20 years. These gold coins can then be exchanged for either cash or even designed jewellery.
Various options for investments are available in the market. An investor need only choose the best suited and invest.
It is always a wise decision to have at least three to four different investments in diversified plans. Putting all cash reserves in one plan can limit the growth and also can be very risky.
Women can plan their finances with great accuracy. All that is required is a little awareness of the different kinds of financial tools available in the market.
Life offers no guarantees and it is not humanly possible to predict what may happen in future. A little timely planning and action can go a long way in ensuring a future that is independent, secure and stable.
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