Saturday, 21 July 2018

Cars: How To Get The Best Deal While Selling Your Car


You laid eyes on the new model launched by an automobile company & you have been wanting that car to be in you garage since that day. But you do not have enough money to pay the money for your new car upfront & will have to sell your existing car for a good price. So how do you sell you existing car at the highest price possible & buy your new car for the lowest price?

When it comes to selling your existing car, you have three options(the other options will fall into either of these three categories)

1) Sell it to the showroom from where you are buying your new car

Or


2) Sell it to Cars24 Or Droom Or OrangeBookValue

Or

3) Sell it On Olx or Quickr

We analyse each option & tell you the pros & cons for each option

1) Sell It to The Showroom

Post going to the showroom for a test drive & getting relevant details, the showroom salesman will ask you if you are interested in disposing off your existing car(he is trained to do that). He will then ask you to wait for a few minutes, post which he will give you his offer on you car. His offer will make you throw up.

Pros:


  • Ease - Selling it to the showroom is very convenient. No need to put up an ad or wait long to get you money.
  • Reliable - The odds of the showroom fleecing you is zero.


Cons


  • Worst Offer: The offer made by the showroom will be the worst offer available. Unless you have an important event coming up within a days time, we strongly suggest you to not accept the showroom's offer.
    2)  Cars24 or Droom or OrangeBookValue

In the last few years, car sellers have presented with newer avenues to sell their cars. It is car buying companies like Cars24, Droom & OrangeBook Value. They too promise you a host of benefits. All you have to do is to take you car to their outlet nearby & within 30 mins post examining you car they will make you an offer. Cars24, Droom & OrangeBookValue are registered companies with sufficient funding.

Pros


  • Ease: Like the showroom option, this option too is very convenient. These are reliable companies to deal with. They will make you an offer post inspecting you vehicle & if you choose to accept, a cheque payment will be made.
  • Better Offer: The offer made by these car buying companies will be better than the offer made to you by the showroom. 
  • Reliable: Like the car showrooms, these companies are registered & are reliable.
There are no cons of dealing with these companies, except one. Read on to find out what that is...

3) Olx Or Quickr

Another option for selling your car is to list it on marketplaces like Olx & Quickr. Post listing your car, you will get several offers within a day's time. Post which the interested parties will schedule a visit to your home or a mutually convenient location. After inspecting you car, they will make you an offer.

Cons

1) Not Reliable: Off all the three options this option is the least reliable one. While the automobile showroom & the car buying companies like Cars24 or Droom have offices & online reviews, you will have no clue as to whether the person you meet is genuine. You will have to rely on your gut. 

2) Ease: Unlike the other two options, you may have to come back home early on a weekday & meet your prospective buyer several miles away from your home. Many buyers will schedule a meeting, only to cancel it later. 

3) Time: The best offer will take time. Most of the people who call you early on will be car dealers looking to make a profit on selling your car to a third party. We suggest you to wait for the best offer ,sell your car to a customer directly & pocket a handsome profit if possible.

Wondering why we haven't mentioned any pros under this option & cons under the previous option? The reason is the deal breaker or the deal maker for both the option being the same. While there are cons with dealing with a online car dealer like Cars24 or Droom, their offer will not just be a tad better than the offer the car showroom will make you. 

The best offer will come from Olx or Quickr. Typically offer made by a car dealer on Olx will be 20%- 30% higher than that made by Cars24 & 50% higher than the showroom's offer(own experience). The offer made by a customer intending to use the vehicle will be higher than the car dealer's offer, but will require you to hold on to your car longer. But your patience & effort is likely to pay off.

Verdict: Unless you are in a tearing hurry or averse to risks sell your car on Olx or Quickr. Else you can sell it on Cars24 or Droom Or OrangeBookValue. But please do not sell your car to the showroom!




Wednesday, 18 July 2018

How & Where To Invest Your Annual Bonus


Appraisals are over in most of the companies in India. Several employees have been rewarded or will be rewarded with big fat bonuses for their individual & company's performance last year. while junior level execs earn bonuses of INR 100,000-300,000. the head honchos earn bonuses which runs into several crores.

But if you are a junior or mid level executive who has earned INR 100,000 as his/ her annual bonus, where should you invest it? How much do you splurge on shopping? How much do you spend on partying with friends? How much do you invest & where do you invest(assuming there are no medical/immediate expenses)?

Shopping/Partying

We would suggest you spend 3%- 4% of your bonus on dinner/partying with friends & family. Although you might be tempted to be more generous, we strongly advice you against it. One way to spend on your friends & not disappoint them by asking them to pay later on is set their expectations right. You can do it by informing them beforehand about your budget for the night & that they will have to chip in for the amount exceeding your budget. There is no shame in informing your friends that you are on a budget.

You can spend another 4%-5% of your bonus on shopping expenditures. We would suggest you opt for an EMI option or use money saved in your salary account to fund your electronic goods purchases which are beyond 5% of your bonus. You can invest 5% of your bonus in an ultra short term debt fund & withdraw it during Diwali, when retailers offer huge discounts on electronic goods.

Travelling

Millennials love to travel & post about their experiences. It would be prudent that one saves up for their trips/travels beforehand. We would suggest you invest 10%-20% of your annual bonus in a short term/ultra short term debt fund for your trips planned in the next 1-2 years.

Investments

Out of the money that is left, you can look at the following investment options based on your age & risk appetite

Stocks

Stocks are the best investment option, especially to park funds which you won't require in the next 3-4 years. We would recommend you to research stocks & invest in them directly instead of investing via mutual funds. If you do not want to spend time researching stocks, you can invest in mutual funds, but the returns will be much lower(click here to read about stock investing strategies). We would suggest you invest in ELSS, as it is a tax saving option.

The more you can invest in stocks the better it is for you. If you are single/newly married & without any major responsibilities or upcoming expenses we suggest you invest all your money left post splurging on friends, saving for travel on stocks. If you are in your late 40's or 50's we would suggest you invest 20%-30% of your money left in stocks. The ROI on stocks is much higher than any other asset class. The average return on stocks is in the range of 13%-20%.

Debt Funds

If you intend to buy real estate or have any other major expenditure in the next 1-3 years, you can invest in debt funds. We would recommend investing in debt funds instead of investing in fixed deposits as you do not have to pay tax on the interest earned. Although you are liable to pay long term capital gains tax when you redeem your debt fund units.

Debt funds can fetch you around 8%-9% returns Y-O-Y on your investments.

Stocks/ELSS + Debt fund should ideally be allotted 30%-60% of your investment monies off your bonus.

NPS

National Pension Scheme(NPS) is turning out to be the preferred investment option for the salaried class. One must note that the pension one may earn post retiring is taxable. But the benefits more than make up for it. Tier 1 gave returns of 11% last year. It is also a great tax saving instrument.

We would suggest you invest a big chunk ie approx 30% in NPS if you are in your 40's or 50's. For millennials, we would suggest investing 10% in NPS.

Provident Fund

Provident fund is a safe investment option which gives decent returns of 8%-9% Y-O-Y. People in 40's & 50's should invest 30%-40% of their bonus in provident fund.

Like NPS, PF is also a good tax saving option.

Gold

Gold is one of the most favoured asset or investment option for Indians. But owing to government regulations & other external factors, the return on gold has been dismal.

But experts insist that one must have gold in their portfolio. They say that one should be happy when the value of gold is going down, as people tend to invest in other investment options when economy is favourable. Whereas people divest from other investments & buy gold when the economic conditions are not favourable. Gold should constitute 5% of your overall portfolio.

You can also use your bonus to pay advance tax. This will help you reduce your tax outgo at the end of the financial year.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

When Is The Best Time To Buy An iPhone?

iPhones enjoy a cult following across the globe. Most of the celebrities are snapped with an iPhone in hand. A recently study said that people with an iPhone or an iPad in hand are perceived to be rich. While there are several other mobile phones in the market, which boast of similar features the brand equity of Apple products mainly the iPhone is unparalleled. Which brings us to the big question......


When Is The Best Time To Buy An iPhone?

While most might think the answer to this one, is the flash sale on one of the shopping portals, the truth is far from it.

iPhone launches a new model in August-September period. Fans queue up all night outside Apple stores to get their hands on the latest iPhones. The phones are initially available for INR 100,000 a piece. Mobile phones are a depreciating asset. It is common knowledge not to spend heavily on depreciating assets like cars, electronic goods, mobile phones etc.

So we recommend you to not splurge on the latest iPhone in town. Of course unless you are in the top 2% bracket with millions in your bank account & or earn upwards of 300,000 a month, the rules for you are different.

For the rest, the best time to buy an iphone is one year after the said model has been released. To be more specific, buy the iPhone model released this year after the latest iPhone model has been released next year.

For example, buy iPhone X in October-November 2018, which will be 2-3 months after iPhone XI/iPhone X2 is released. Prices for iPhone will then drop to INR 35,000-40,000 post Diwali. You can save further by asking your friend/relative in the US to get it along on their way back home.

Buying an iPhone a year after its release is found to be the ideal time to buy it in terms of longevity as well.

Longevity

While the latest i0S update weigh on the phone's speed & battery 4-5 years after you phone, it gives you a solid 3-4 years before you are forced to upgrade to the latest iPhone.

It is an open secret that iPhones are designed in such a way that it runs only for a few years, post which it either slows down or gets spoilt. You then have no option to buy a new iPhone. Anything upwards of 3 years is a good time to have spent using an iPhone. But if you can do, with your iPhone momentarily hanging, slowing post updates you should aim for using it for 4 years before you buy the year old model.

Remember: The price of your phone must not be more than 50% of your monthly salary

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Intra Day Trading Strategies


Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Porinju Veliyath, Dolly Khanna are known for their smart long term picks. Investors closely follow the stock portfolios of these noted equity investing stalwarts. While it is their long term stock picks which makes them famous, it is intra day trading profits which gives them ammo to buy value picks for the long term.

There are several people who have quit their day jobs & are wholly living off intra day trading profits. We spoke to one such individual who does not wish to be named.

Here are some tips & tricks to make some money off intra day trading

1) Broker: To make the maximum of your intra day trade, open an account with a brokerage which charges you a fixed amount of money instead of a % of your traded value. Zerodha is a better option than Angel Broking, when it comes to intra day trading.

2) Pick 4-5 stocks: One needs to have a good judgement when it comes to intra day trading. The best way to develop a judgement for stocks is to religiously study 4-5 stocks for a few weeks. For the intital few weeks just observe the highs & the lows the stock touches.

For the next two weeks play with imaginary money. Make a note of the price at which you intend to buy. After selling your stocks make a note of the price at which you sold your stocks. This will tell you the profit/loss calculation. If you are making decent profits off your bets after two weeks you can try your luck with real money. If not, then you need to wait & get better, before you start playing with real money.

3) Scalping: The most common strategy to make money of intra day trades is scalping. The modus operandi is simple. For example If you buy 1000 shares of HUL at 1000, you sell it as soon as the stock reaches 1004-5. This money just about gives you a small profit after paying for brokerage & other taxes.

People make the mistake of not taking brokerage & taxes into account, before using this strategy. This results in them being under the false assumption that they have made a decent profit, while actually they have been making losses.

4) Results/ Bonus Shares/Dividend: When it comes to stock trading, information is the key. Prior information of profits, bonus shares announcement or good dividends can be advantageous in placing intra day bets. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Porinju Veliyath, Dolly Khanna etc all have research teams who give them the much needed info on various companies.

 One way to get information is to rely on the information passed on by friends who work for listed companies. While insider trading is a criminal offence, you can get an idea of what direction the company is taking by just asking your friend "How Is Work?". If he/she says that there is a lot of pressure owing to declining profits, it is a good idea to short stocks of that company on results day.

5) Bet On Your Company: The best way to make money is to bet on the company that you are or were a part of. While bets placed on information based on access to confidential reports can put you behind bars, you can place bets based on your experiences within the company based on the mood on the floor.

6) Follow the currency rates & commodity prices: Fluctuations in currency rates vis-a'-vis the US$ is a good way to predict whether the markets will close high or low. If the company you are betting on relies heavily on US exports, then one should bet on the stock going higher. If the company relies on domestic trade & imports heavily from abroad one should short stocks of that company. The same holds true for commodity prices as well.

7) Stop Loss: Never trade without a stop loss. Trading without a stop loss is very harmful to your financial health. You can see profits accumulated over several days or months being wiped out thanks to a few bad trades. Ensure that you don't have to sell of stocks you are holding for the long term to pay off your losses accumulated in intra day trades.

One should have a profit margin in mind as well. Holding on to your stock for too long in intra day trades too can prove to be detrimental.

These steps will help you in making a decent profit. But in order to be in the league of  stock market bulls, one needs to do loads of research & be very lucky. We have all heard stories of people going broke dealing in stocks. What people don't realize is that it is intra day trading which makes people go bankrupt. Investing on the other hand is a fairly less risky proposition.

Monday, 9 July 2018

How To Watch 8 Movies For INR 470 At A Multiplex!

Watching movies at a theatre, which used to be a favorite past time for many middle employees, students & the senior citizens alike is turning out to be an expensive habit. With the advent of multiplexes, prices of movie tickets are at an all time high. While single screens attract the masses, urban audiences have no other option but to go to their neighborhood multiples for watching the latest flicks.

But, thanks to a multiples chain's loyalty program one can watch 5 movies a month for a measly INR 290 bucks. Read on to find out more.

Moviecardindia.com

Carnival Cinemas has launched a loyalty program. As per this program, one can enroll into the program by logging on their website - www.moviecardindia.com & paying the fees of INR 149 per month. For every movie you watch thereon, you will have to pay INR 40. That's it! You can watch unlimited number of movies by paying just 40 bucks per movie. If you watch two movies a week, your cost per movie will be INR 58.7 & the total money spent on movies for the month will be INR 470.

The loyalty program is a boon for movie buffs & especially students.

So what is the catch? You may ask. Here are the limitations of the loyalty program

1) Days: Moviecard holders can watch movies only from Mon-Thurs at the discounted price of INR 30. On other days the offer is not applicable. So if you were dreaming of watching the first day first show of the upcoming blockbuster for INR 40, you are sadly mistaken. You will have to make time on a weekday, brave the traffic to watch your movies.

2) Seating: The seating is restricted to three rows in the front. Although you won't be asked to sit in the very first row, you cannot choose from the seats in the last row. The seats are mostly from 3rd row to the 6th row.

3) Theatre: The offer is applicable to  Carnival Cinemas patrons only.

This concept is hugely successful abroad & is now available for Indian movie enthusiasts as well. We did enroll ourselves & though it was great value for our money. For lovers of cinema who were scouting for a low cost option, it couldn't get better.


Saturday, 7 July 2018

How To Increase Blog Traffic



Bloggers often find it difficult to increase their traffic beyond a certain point. With increasing number of people taking to blogging thanks to its inherent benefits, the competition is increasing by the day.

So how does one increase traffic to their blog?

While like most other people we started off by sharing links of our blog posts on theopinionatedindian.com on our personal social media handles, we soon realized that more needs to be done in order to cross certain thresholds of traffic & earn some serious money.

The following are strategies can help you drastically increase your blog traffic

1) Subject & Quality: What is you blog about? Are the topics so niche that very few people are interested, then you probably need to pivot into a blog which speaks about more popular topics. While we started off as a blog which speaks about finance, politics, entertainment & travel. We later pivoted to being largely a celebrity gossip blog.

Your blog quality & expertise over your topic makes a huge difference in terms of blog traffic. We highly recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin if you are using a wordpress blog. Do remember to add images & highlight important parts of your article to keep the visitor interested.

2) Frequency: Our niche allows us to blog daily. Since celebrity gossip gets published on a daily basis, we are never in dearth of ideas. But if you are blogging about topics which don't give enough ammo to blog so frequently, you should aim at publishing at least one article every month. Anything more than will lead to your regular visitors deserting you. One article per week is the ideal frequency for blogs to get the maximum amount of traffic.

3) Social Media Strategy: We would strongly suggest creating social media handles & an email id specifically for your blog. This will help create a better connect with your followers.

Twitter: Twitter is the best avenue to promote your blog. Period! It is a proven fact that the IQ of twitter users are much higher than that of facebook users. With the right hashtags & right frequency of tweets, you can get a good amount of traffic for no money. You can also look at purchasing twitter followers online. But mst of your paid followers are likely to be fake accounts. Twitter does conduct purges from time to time to get rid of these fake accounts with no posts & no followers. When it comes to twitter Twiends is a slow but good avenue to gain real followers.

Facebook: Apart from creating a facebook handle for our blog, we also created a facebook page. Both are not as simple as they look. While it is easy to get friends on your personal facebook handle, it is very difficult to get friends on your blog's facebook handle & page. The fact that we did not tell our friends about our blog added to our woes.

We started off by following a few entertainment pages & then randomly adding people who follow those pages. Luckily for us, several of them accepted our requests. We then added several of them to our facebook page as well. But the followers to our page weren't enough to make an impact.

We then had no option but to buy facebook followers. Buying followers to your page on facebook is very simple. You can buy followers as per your budget. You can even spend as less as INR 100 a day to get followers or maximize reach for your posts.

Unlike twitter, the followers you gain on facebook are real people. Facebook doesn't conduct purges either. But in our case the privacy laws issue ruined our plans. The reach of our ads & posts have taken a serious hit. Nonetheless we still do get a decent amount of traffic from our facebook pages. We still have most of our followers.

Instagram: If you are blogging about travel, photography or any other topic which gives ample scope for posting pics, it is imperative that you have an instagram account.

Again, getting followers on your blog's instagram account is very difficult as compared to your personal instagram account. But buying followers on instagram is a breeze & is less expensive as compared to twitter & facebook. There are companies online, who offer 1000 followers for INR 360 for your instagram account.

Whatsapp: Whatsapp is a good zero cost option to  promote your blog. Do push your blog post links shamelessly on whatsapp groups you are a part of. Friends, relatives who send forwards en masse are your best bets. We all have friends or relatives who forward everything under the sun(especially uncles over 50) without probably reading it themselves. They are your brand ambassadors for free!

StumbleUpon: The most under rated source of blogger traffic is Stumble Upon which is now Mix. It is the second biggest source of free traffic to our blog after twitter. Do remember to post links religiously on this platform.

Pinterest: Pinterest is a great source of blog traffic. Almost 10%-15% of our traffic every month is through pinterest. But then again, your pins have to visually appealing. It works well for travel, photography, cooking related blogs.

YouTube: If you are good at making video content, YouTube is an excellent way to promote your blog. Although we haven't tasted much success from our YouTube pages ourselves.

Press Releases: After your blog traffic reaches a certain level, ad agencies & marketers will get in touch with you for publishing sponsored posts. They will either pay you for it or ask you to do it for free.

Remember to always ask for a fee & negotiate hard with them. But if they still insist on not being able to pay, then ask for freebies instead. Press releases are a very good source of traffic. The most read article on our blog - theopinionatedindian.com is a press release!

Forums: Forums like Quora too are a good source of free traffic. Do answer queries pertaining to your area of expertise & shamelessly post links to your blog in those answers.

Linking Other Blogs: If you already own a blog, which attracts decent amount of traffic, it makes sense to mention one blog on the other(like how we have been doing on this article)

Guest Posts: Do approach other bloggers in your domain for guest post gigs. This is mutually beneficial to both of you.

Paid Sources Of Traffic

Organic: SEO plays a big role in driving traffic to your blog. Almost 30% of our traffic is organic. 95% of our organic traffic is via google. We recently have started posting links on bing webmaster tool to increase our ranking in Bing search as well. Bing & Yahoo use the same platform. So if your ranking improves in Bing, your ranking will improve in Yahoo as well.

While you can buy a SEO package for your wordpress blog, blogger has no options on improving your SEO.

Blog Aggregators: Blog Aggregators are the best source of paid traffic. While there are many blog aggregators who let you submit blog aggregators who let you submit & promote your blog for free, it is the paid ones who really make a difference.

Paid blog aggregators are the biggest source of traffic to our blog. 

Tips:
1) Don't spend money on buying twitter followers. Twitter purges may result in all your paid follower accounts getting deleted.

2) If you are looking at making some money off your blog & your blog content is not very unique, has mass appeal, you will have to look at paid sources of traffic(click here to read more). Google SEO & paid blog aggregators are the best options.

3) Twitter is the undisputed king when it comes to free traffic.

4) Do remember to post regularly on StumbleUpon.

5) Do remember to install Google Analytics tool on your blog. Track it regularly to find out what is working for you & what isn't.

6) Install plugins like related posts, archives & most popular posts from your blog. Make these plugins easily accessible.

7) Do not miss out on opportunity for publishing press releases & guest posts.

Follow us
Twitter: www.twitter.com/krtik85


How To Earn Money By Blogging


With the volatile economy, thriving competition & margins under pressure companies aren't shying away from downsizing or "rightsizing". Entrepreneurs too are finding it difficult to grow their businesses & are facing intense competition, which has led to shrinking profits.

It is imperative that people don't rely on a single source of income. Financial experts across the globe exhort people to have a second source of income. While teaching or some other part time gigs can earn you a decent sum, blogging is one of the best ways to earn money from the comfort of your home.

What Should I Blog About?

The first question people ask is "What do I blog about? I ain't no expert in any field" The answer to that question can be best answered only by you. You need to ask yourself, what you are passionate about & what topics do love reading, talking about.

In my case, I realized that I love talking, tweeting, posting on social media about politics, entertainment & travel. I used to fervently tweet about these issues on social media. I started off with signing up for a free blog on wordpress.com. I blogged under an anonymous name & shared my posts on my personal social media handles. I was sceptical & conscious about the response my blog would get & hence decided to stay anonymous.

After a few posts on the free wordpress blog, I decided to buy a domain. I bought a domain from godaddy.com & even purchased a wordpress blog from godaddy.com. Since I was passionate about blogging about politics I christened my blog as The Opinionated Indian (theopinionatedindian.com)

We initially blogged about politics, celebrity gossip, finance & travel. But soon realized that there are several entertainment portals which posted blind items of celebrities ie celebrity gossip without mentioning the names of the celebs involved. We started posting daily about these blind items with our guesses of the celebs mentioned in the blind item. This topic enabled us to post new content daily. This led to a good amount of traffic on our blog. We have now pivoted into an entertainment portal. We do cover politics & travel sporadically, but celebrity gossip is our mainstay.

Blogger V Wordpress

This is one of the most poignant questions for wannabe bloggers. Truth be told, we did not research enough before opting for a paid wordpress blog.

But now that we have tried both the options, we can pick a winner among the two.

The features & benefits of wordpress are much greater than blogger. Read on to know why we feel that Wordpress blogs are better.

Plugins: Firstly the sheer number of plugins you can install on your wordpress blog makes it an attractive option. Blogger  on the other hand has limited plugins or gadgets.

Customization: While it is very simple to add a drop down menu in wordpress, it is a task to add one in blogger. The level of customization offered by wordpress is far superior than blogger.

Migration: Migrating from a wordpress blog to blogger is far simpler than the other way round.

SEO: This is one of the biggest areas which wordpress scores heavily over blogger. Blogger offers little control or assistance in terms of SEO as compared to SEO.

But,

If you are a newbie blogger looking to earn some money we would suggest you go with blogger. While we spent approx. INR 7000 to purchase the domain & the wordpress site, our expenses on blogger till date is nil.

We would suggest wordpress to only those bloggers who are experienced & ready to give several hours everyday to their blog. Unless your blog totally stands out or yours is the only blog on that said topic, the ROI on blogger will beat the ROI on wordpress hands down!

Unlike what people would want you to believe, it is very difficult to make money solely off blogging. Very few actually end up making enough to live off it. But yes for those select few life is awesome.

But even if you are not the topmost blogger you can earn a decent sum.

How Many Page Views Before My Blog Starts Earning

We started getting approached for sponsored reviews once our page view numbers exceeded 40,000 per month. Based on your marketing spends & quality of articles it will take 6 months to a year to reach this number.

After reaching 40,000 page views, I was approached by a agency based out of Italy which represented casinos. I am paid $100 - $110 per article. I generally am given two articles to publish every month. These articles helped me break even in the first year itself.

Apart from casinos, I also got approached by local ad agencies. One can expect Indian agencies to pay $25-$50 per article, based on your traffic & alexa ranking. Once you reach upwards of 100,000 page views a month, you can demand a lot more.

Google AdSense

Google AdSense is the most preferred source of income for bloggers. But sadly it is not a great source of income. We were elated to get approved for a google adsense account. But our happiness didn't last very long.

As long as your content is unique & you are meeting their guidelines, your google adsense is likely to get approved. But if your traffic isn't upwards of 40,000 page views you will barely make any money. To give you an idea, if your blog gets 50,000 page views you may earn $12-$15 ased on the clicks & ad placement.

We wouldn't recommend you to apply for a google adsense account till you cross a minimum of 40,000 page views. Google AdSense will not credit any money till you reach $100. Although one must admit it is the safest & most reliable way to earn money off your blog.

Taboola, Outbrain, Vuukle

Native ad publishers like Taboola, Outbrain, Vuukle require a minimum of 200,000 page views every month. Lat heard the criteris is now to generate 1,000,000 page views.

While these are again reliable sources, it is very difficult to get an approval from them.

Affliliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing is another source of income for bloggers. The best among is the Amazon Affiliate network.

Affiliate marketing too is easier said than done. Unless you are writing reviews for the specific product, it is very difficult to make money off affiliate marketing. In our one year of blogging, we are yet to make a single penny off afffiliate marketing from our blog.

Tips

1) Sponsored reviews are the best sources of income  for your blog.

2) Apply for google adsense only after your blog has crossed 40,000 age views a month. If you run ads when your traffic is low, it will inconvenience the visitor & get barely any income in return.


Next: How To Increase Blog Traffic



Friday, 6 July 2018

Installing This App on Your Phone Can Help You Double Your Savings

The ease of transactions that mobile wallets & credit cards afford us, does have a glaring side effect. We often lose track of our expenditures. This results in a hefty credit card bill or low savings account balance at the end of the month.

Disciplined planners were known to jot down their daily expenditures on notepads, books etc. But luckily for us, there are apps which track all your expenses without you requiring to racking your brains trying to remember where you spent your money.

The best among them is the Walnut App. This app is a huge hit across the globe. On downloading & installing the app on your phone, you will be required to link it to your bank account & credit card accounts. The app tracks your expenditures based on the SMS's you receive from your bank or your credit card companies.

You can then analyze where you spent the money. This also helps in identifying which indulgence of yours needs to be cut down in order to increase your savings & help you meet your financial goals.

These are the other benefits of installing the Walnut App

 1) Alarms: You can even set alarms if your spends exceed a certain limit. The app will also remind you about the due dates of your credit card bill payments. 

2) Settling dues with friends: You can split & settle payments with friends as well as transfer money to them for free using your debit/credit card.No need to exchange IFSC codes, bank account nos or even open your mobile wallet.

3) Analysis: The app dashboard tells you the exact money spent on every credit card, mobile wallet & debit card. It also displays your credit card bill & the money left in your savings account at that point in time.

4) ATM: The app also has a feature, which helps you locate an ATM near you.

But for all of its benefits, the app can be enjoyed only by android phone users. If you have an iPhone, the app will not be able to automatically capture your spends data. This is thanks to Apple's regulations, which doesn't allow one app to interfere/capture data from another app. While one might laud Apple for its endeavour to protect user privacy, users do lose out on a brilliant app.

Although all is not lost for iPhone users. The app which we have been using to track & analyse our spends is Wally. It is a free app, which requires us to manually enter our spends. It has all the other benefits of the Walnut app.

Using this app has led to an increase of savings in the range of 20%-50%. It was thanks to this app that we realized that we have been spending too much money on food delivery sites. We rectified this issue & the results were immediate.

We strongly recommend you to install either of these apps if you haven't already. Do not forget - "Money saved is money earned" 

Why You Should Invest In Short Term Debt Funds


While there are several lucrative options for long term investments, the options for short term investments are fewer. Most of the people choose to let their money stay in their savings account. This is largely due to their ignorance about short term debt funds & liquid funds

Short term debt funds  & liquid funds can fetch you 7%-8% returns on your investments. This is huge compared to keeping you money in your savings account, which would fetch you 4%.

 Liquid funds invest in very short term debt instruments having a maturity period of less than 91 days. They are the lowest risk category of debt funds because neither do they invest in lower rated corporate bonds nor do they take long-term rate calls. Generally Liquid Funds will not have any exit load.

Ultra Short Term Debt Funds invest in slightly longer term debt instruments with maturity of more than 91 days and less than 1.5 years. Some of these funds may invest in lower rated corporate debt. Ultra Short Term Funds may also levy an exit load for investors who redeem units within a specified period.


We always invest in short term, ultra short term debt funds & liquid funds for monies saved for our traveling or even the latest gadgets. Unlike fixed deposits, there is no exit load on these investments. Considering that these funds invest only in debt & treasury bonds one can rest assured that they will get 7%-8% ROI.




The following are the benefits of investing in liquid funds or short term/ultra short terms debt funds

1) You will have to personally go to your bank, to redeem your fixed deposits. On the other hand you can redeem your liquid fund/short term debt fund from the comfort of your home/office.

2) Some liquid fund houses even provide their investors with a ATM card. This card can be used to withdraw cash from your nearest ATM.

3) While short term/ultra short term funds require 1-2 working days, some liquid funds once redeemed hit your bank account that very instant. For example if you are out shopping with your family & you find that your savings account is empty, you can choose to redeem you liquid fund. The money will be instantly transferred to your savings account.

Short term debt funds or liquid funds are ideal for a time horizon of less than a year. Do remember that you will have to pay taxes on capital gains accrued from redeeming your ultra short term debt funds & liquid funds.


Mutual Funds V Stock Trading - Why Investing In Stocks Directly Is More Beneficial


It is now common knowledge that the ROI on equities is far superior than any asset class. But the question which troubles people is to whether to invest in stocks directly or invest in mutual funds. Truth is there is a clear winner when it comes to picking the winner among the two. But thanks to the clout which the mutual fund industry fold over the mainstream media. Mutual fund houses spend huge monies on advertising on newspapers, TV & digital. This gives them the clout to influence news articles based on the mutual fund industry.

We list out the benefits of mutual funds vis-a'-vis stocks

Mutual Funds

Mutual Funds are generally categorized  based on the type of equities they invest it(click here to read more about type of equities). Every mutual fund is managed by a fund manager. Based on your risk appetite & the fund manager's prior performance, you can choose the fund which best suits your needs.

Pros:

1) Knowledge: Investing in mutual funds doesn't require you to have a thorough knowledge of stock markets. You just need to opt for the type of fund you are interested in ie a large cap fund or mid cap or ELSS etc. The fund manager will then utilize your money to invest in stocks which he deems fit.

2) Comfort: A mutual fund investor is not required to keep a close eye on stock markets. Investing in stocks directly requires you to track movements daily. While a mutual fund investor can manage by just looking at his/her NAV once in a month.

3) Brokerage: While trading in stocks will lead to brokerage charges, mutual fund investments require you to shell out no additional monies as brokerage. The money you invest in a mutual fund covers brokerage charges as well.

4) Tax Saving: Investing in ELSS mutual funds can help you in saving tax. ELSS mutual funds give better returns than other tax saving instruments. While investing in stocks directly results in no tax benefits whatsoever.

Now let us compare these benefits of investing in mutual funds to investing in stocks directly (what mainstream media & mutual fund houses will never tell you)

1) ROI: While it is true that investing in stocks directly requires you to have good knowledge of equities, the huge ROI more than makes up for it. Just a few minutes of research on finance portals like moneycontrol.com or economictimes.com or thehindubusinessline.com & voila! you will develop a gut instinct for picking equities on your own.

While the ROI for stocks we invested in directly was at 20% (beating the BSE), the ROI from mutual funds was 12%. This year the ROI on stocks has been 4%, while ROI on mutual funds is 1%. Most of the mutual funds we invested in this year are showing negative returns.

Mutual Fund houses will want you to believe that only their fund managers can beat the market. Nothing can be further from the truth. I myself am from a sales background with no training in stocks or finance. Despite no formal training we have been able to beat the market for 8 out of years & mutual fund returns for all these 10 years!

2) Dividend: Mutual funds do offer a dividend option, wherein a sum will be paid to you regularly. But this pales in comparison to the dividend income earned by investing in stocks directly. Mutual funds do not pass on the money earned through dividends & instead give you a lumpsum amount on you redeeming your units.

3) Bonus Shares: Every couple of years profitable companies announce bonus shares ie a bonus of 1:1, will result in you getting a bonus share for every single share you own. A bonus of 2:1, will earn you 1 bonus share for every two shares that you own of that stock.

In our 10 years of investing in stocks, we have been happy recipients of atleast 15 bonus shares payouts.

Your mutual fund on the other hand again will not be passing on these benefits.

 It is a myth that mutual fund investors can afford to "invest in it & forget it". Mutual fund investments require you to monitor them monthly. The longer you stay invested with a mutual fund, the more they benefit. That explains why they ask you to invested for 7 years!

If the returns are not in the excess of 10% per annum after 3-4 years, please sell your mutual fund ASAP.

The fund manager are literally celebrities of the finance world. Most of them boast of an ivy league education. People invest their monies just based on the reputation of the fund manager. Let us not forget that the salaries of fund managers runs into several crores. It does not require a genius to figure out from how the fund house manages to pay the fund managers. it is obviously from the money you have paid! A good chunk from the money earned from stocks will be given to the fund manager.

Which makes us ask you - "Why give your money to fund the fund manager's salary instead of pocketing all the profits yourself?"

Many sceptics are of the opinion that fund managers are better equipped to deal with your investments in times of crises. In our decade long experience of investing in stocks, we are yet to see a fund manager or any known living being being able to predict the market. Even the great Warren Buffett has gone wrong with his bets. Truth is nobody can predict or time the market(click here to read about equity investing strategies).

Follow these tips for maximum ROI from your stock investments

1) Buy stocks like you buy grocery: Equity investing experts will agree in unison that one should invest all their monies on a single stock. Buy stocks like you buy grocery ie buy a bit of every category. Buy stocks across categories & sizes. Our portfolio consists of stocks from FMCG, IT, Pharma, BFSI, Real Estate, Auto etc. While 40% of our portfolio consists of large cap stocks, 50% of our portflio is made up of mid-cap stocks. the remaining 10% is made of small cap stocks. One can choose to change this allocation as per their risk appetite.

2) Monitor You Investments: Investing in stocks directly, requires you to monitor your investments & research the markets on a daily basis. Sell any stocks which is making a loss of more than 30%. Investors who do not keep a stop loss pay for it dearly.

3) Time: As per experts, the minimum time horizon for stocks to give you handsome returns is 3 years. If you stay invested for 7 years, it is highly unlikely that you won't make handsome gains. If you cannot let go of the money for 3 years, it is better if you invest the money in a debt fund instead.

 Warren Buffet says that compounding is the eight wonder of the world. Mutual fund investor's short sightedness makes them overlook the huge gains that one can accrue from investing a little time daily in researching stocks & investing in them directly.

The difference between growth rates of stocks & mutual fund investments is 5%-10% per year(in favor of stocks). This will lead to the returns of the stocks investor to be almost triple of the returns of a mutual fund investor! Are you ready to part with so much money just to make the already rich mutual fund manager richer?

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tips To Maximize Savings & Earnings From Your Credit Cards

India unlike the west, is a country which transacts mainly in cash. The demonetization move announced by the Indian PM - Narendra Modi in Nov'16 has led to a behavioral change in the Indian consumer. Increasing number of Indians are now transacting via plastic money ie debit, cards, credit cards & mobile wallets.

While the average Indian is sceptical of using credit cards as many have heard of Americans raking up huge credit card debts. Credit cards do come with huge credit limits & this feature often leads to people overspending. It is common knowledge that credit card interest is as high as 36% as against 12% on personal loans. Credit card companies are known to target habitual defaulters by offering them a credit card for free & charging exorbitant interest rates later on. This has led to many Americans going bankrupt!

But credit card can be a huge boon for people who can keep their spending under check. The trick is to not spend beyond the sum which you can't pay off within one month. Never let your credit card dues roll over! Take a personal loan or sell your assets even if required, but never keep your credit card dues pending.   

We list out the benefits of having a credit card in your wallet & how can you can utilize it to the maximum

Type Of Credit Cards

A lot depends on the type of credit card that you own. Based on your spends & spending patterns you can opt for a card of your choice. Credit cards generally fall into the following categories

1) Rewards Card - Rewards credit cards offer you rewards against every spend. The rewards can then be utilized in exchange for holidays, air miles, merchandise & cash back.  & are offered to even those with not a high income. It is a favorite among newly employed professionals. It does come handy for people who shop for grocery, watching movies, eating out etc. Our experience with the Standard Chartered Bank - Manhattan Platinum Rewards was a highly "rewarding" one.

2) Shopping - Credit cards companies have been tying up with large retail chains for co-branded cards. This is beneficial for all parties involved. We were fans of Shoppers Stop - Citibank credit card. The catch is that you can avail maximum benefits only if you shop at the retail chain in question. But thanks to a shoppers stop outlet being close to our home, we could utilize the benefits to the maximum. Shopping credit cards are a huge hit among people who splurge a lot on clothes, accessories etc.

3) Fuel rewards Card - All your fuel spends can get you reward points thanks to credit card companies who have tied up with oil marketing companies. This is a boon for automobile owners who are hard pressed for money owing to the sudden surge in fuel prices. Every INR 100 spent on fuel leads to 1 reward point. Every reward point is worth a rupee. If your fuel expenses are a cause for worry, we recommend you to apply for a fuel card ASAP. The Citibank Indian Oil credit card & ICICI HPCL credit cards are the best credit cards in this category.



4) Air Miles Card: The Air Miles Card is probably the most prestigious credit card type to own. Most air miles cards require you to pay a joining fee in the range of INR 3000 -5000. But the benefits are to die for. Air miles cards give access to premium lounges for literally no charge. We have treated ourselves to quality alcohol, food, soft drinks at the lounges across the country & abroad. All lounges boast of charging points, wifi & are replete with comfy couches. One must not forget that all your money spent on travelling can get you air miles. The air miles earned can be exchanged for a free ticket for your next vacation. The money spent as joining or annual fees will be truly money well spent.

Tips
1. Joining/Annual Fees Waiver: If your credit cards spends exceed a certain amount, credit card companies will happily waive off your annual fees. If you apply for a new credit card from the same credit card company which has already provided you with a credit card, you can request them to have a lot at your spends on the other credit card & ask them to waive off the joining fees on your new credit cards. They may ask you to pay for the fees in the current month, but the fees will be credit back to you in the next billing cycle. Standard Chartered has been very accommodating in this regard.

2. Signing Up For Offers: Do remember to check your mails for various offers mailed by your credit card company. Credit card companies especially American Express mails offers, which require you to sign up via clicking on a link.

3. Supplementary Card: Opting for a supplementary card is hugely beneficial. American Express offers good incentives to people who opt for a supplementary card. Besides the incentives, the ease of  transaction & benefits of your credit card can be enjoyed by your loved ones too. All their spends will earn you rewards points.

4. Payment Wallets: One smart way for earning cash back through your payment wallet as well as reward points through your credit card is recharging your wallet through your credit card. The money you spend recharging your wallet will give your reward points on your credit card & the payment wallet will give you cashback for spends on utilities, online shopping, money transfer etc.

Standard Chartered & Citibank are by far the best credit card companies. While American Express cards are prestigious thanks to their marketing, their rewards don't match up to their high annual fees. We found  that the rewards accrued from Standard Charted or Citibank were far superior than the rewards  accrued from American Express credit cards. It is safe to say that Standard Chartered & Citibank credit cards offer better bang for your buck.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Equity Investing Strategies for Beginners

With the Nifty scaling peak 10,000 points, a lot of Indians are now opening up to stocks as a form of investment. After all which other asset class can offer 30%+ YOY for decades together? Neither do you have to pay taxes on profit earned & neither do you have to bother about the long waiting time required to sell the asset as in case of other investments especially real estate.
The Opinionated Indian spells out a relatively fool proof way of doubling or probably trebling your investments through stocks. Unless there is a major catastrophe or a black swan event, you can rest assured that with strong fundamentals in place, our economy is poised to grow at fast & steady pace in the coming years. This will have a positive impact on stocks listed on Indian bourses.

The two golden rules of Equity Investing are

1) Buy Stocks Like You Buy Grocery: Experts advise that one should buy stocks like one buys grocery ie buy stocks from all categories. Your stock portfolio or your basket in this case should consist good stocks from all top categories. The lesser you diversify the higher is the risk. On the other hand, diversifying into several categories may lower your returns in some instances, but will protect your investments during a severe meltdown of markets.

2) Buy Low Sell High: Warren Buffett - The golden rule of equity investing is to "buy low & sell high". Although it is easier said that done, we have found through our own experiences that patience & suppressing your urge to buy stocks when markets are peaking or selling when the markets have crashed go a long way in growing your wealth through stocks. One needs to check the PAT growth/ de-growth or top line growth/de-growth vis-a-vis the previous year & compare it with the stock price increase/decrease, before investing in those stocks. Even when the markets are peaking, there will be a few sectors or a few quality stocks whi are facing temporary issues. This is the best time to invest in those stocks.

Based on the above two rules of equity investing, please find below the ideal composition of a stock portfolio

1) Defensive Stocks: Stocks which give comparatively give lesser returns, but are better at protecting your investments during market crashes are called as defensive stocks. These stocks are BSE - 100 stocks, who are generally from FMCG, Pharma & IT categories. Ideally one should allocate 40% -60% of their investments to defensive stocks. ex. HUL, RIL, ITC, TCS, Infosys, Cipla based on their risk appetite. It has been observed that defensive stock prices perform better in bearish market conditions.

2) Mid-Cap Stocks & Large Cap Stocks from Other Categories: Mid cap stocks ie stocks which are not listed on Nifty or Sensex. They have a market capitalization of INR 50 billion to INR 200 billion. Although riskier than large cap stocks, mid-cap stocks give much better returns than large stocks. Large cap stocks have limited scope for growth as compared to mid-cap stocks & hence mid-cap stock returns tend to be higher than large cap stocks. Large cap stocks from PSU banks, finance, real estate categories too have given decent returns over the years & should be a part of your portfolio. Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, DHFL, LIC HFL etc are good stocks from the mid-cap segment.

How To Finance Your Trip Abroad Without Compromising On Your Lifestyle

We all have friends who keep travelling abroad, but never tire of posting pics on social media. We wonder how they could manage to pay for their huge travel expenses. While some splurge all their money, chant the YOLO & FOMO mantras, there are others who save & invest wisely to make their travel dreams turn into reality. Are you one of those who earns less than 6 figures every month, but still dream of travelling to exotic locations abroad? Don't want to stop your monthly investments or other investments either? While most experts will advise you to simply cut down on your spending, we will show you how to fulfil your dream of travelling abroad without comprising too much on your lifestyle & not hampering your long term investments.

Step 1: Research & Figure Out Your Budget
We would suggest you go to travel aggregator websites like tripadvisor & makemytrip, to research on the places you want to visit, the best time to visit them, sightseeing charges, hotels, flights etc. This will give you an idea about the duration of your visit & the cost to be incurred by you. It is recommended that you book your flight tickets 3-4 months before your intended date of travel to get the best deals. We highly recommend skyscanner.com for the best flight deals & tripadvisor for the best hotel deals. A lot of airlines have flash sales, keep a look out for them.
You can consider staying in dorms or do some couch surfing to save on costs. Read blogs online to learn about where to eat for less. Blogs also have information about which tourist attractions can be avoided &; which tickets can be purchased online, places where jump the queue & hop on- hop off tickets can be purchased etc. We suggest you to book a hotel close to the where major sight seeing attractions are to save on travel costs. You can save a lot of money, by not opting to go to your destination during peak travel season. Read articles on travel forums to find out the peak & off seasons for travel
Now that you have an idea of how much money you will need to go on your trip, it is time to start saving & investing for your trip.

Step 2: Where To Invest
Although we book our flight tickets three months in advance, it is ideal to start saving up for your trip approximately a year before your scheduled date of departure. People generally tend to invest money, which might be required in the short term in fixed deposits.
We strongly advise you not to invest in FD's & invest in short term or ultra short debt funds instead, since breaking your FD's prematurely would lead to lesser returns. Do not forget that interest earned on FD's is taxable, whereas interest earned on debt funds are tax free! Investments in stock markets for a time horizon which is lesser than a year is not advisable.
It is suggested that you start an SIP for a short term or ultra short term debt fund. As of today, JP Morgan & Edelweiss are the best fund houses to invest in, for short term debt funds. We suggest you to research debt funds on finance portals before investing. The ideal SIP amount should be 7000-8000 per month, which will give you roughly INR 90,000 in hand, for your trip. Debt funds are risk free & will earn around 8%-17% over a period of one year.

Step 3: EMI's
90,000 alone won't be enough to travel to exotic locations abroad. The way to raise more money is via credit cards. Convert your flight ticket & or hotel purchases into EMI's. Since you are unlikely to travel abroad again within a year, you can set the duration of your EMI's to 1 year. Considering that flights mostly cost around 50,000, a year long EMI will set you back by around INR 4500 per month.
You can also consider applying a credit card affiliated with an international airline. They give you an option of redeeming your reward points or miles to flight tickets. Do not splurge the air miles on anything else. On my last trip abroad, I redeemed my American Express reward points to JP Miles. This saved me a cool INR 6000 bucks! It is recommended that you spend for all your expenses from your travel friendly credit card. For a nominal amount of barely a rupee, American Express will let you use their lounge. Their lounge offers free food, alcohol, wifi & comfy chairs to relax on while you wait for the boarding to start.

Step 4: Speak to your neighbourhood bar (Optional)
Indian customs rules dictate that a person is allowed to carry not more than 8 bottles of alcohol. There is a huge demand for imported alcohol in India & importing it is expensive.
You can strike a deal with your neighbourhood bar & charge a commission of 100% per bottle. So for a whiskey bottle costing INR 6000, you can demand INR 12,000.
You now have a chance to recover close to INR 20,000-30,000, post your trip! This deal of course is not for the fainthearted.

How To Get Wealthy


A man saw his 60 yr old father planting a tree. "Which tree is this Papa?", asked the 30 year old son. "It is a mango tree" replied the father. "Ohh great! How long before this tree gives its first mango?" asked the son inquisitively. "18 years" said the father. "What? You will probably be dead by the time this tree starts giving fruit Papa!" exclaimed the befuddled son. "I know son, but you & your kids, kids after them will reap the fruits of my labour for years to come. I think it is worth it" said the father matter of factly.

This story is not written by us. You have probably heard about this story quite a few times. Nobody even knows where this story originated from. But, the underlying message of this short story is priceless. The mango is a metaphor for wealth & riches one earns by being disciplined, working hard towards their objective. Anybody who fails to "look after" the tree & loses interest will be devoid of the sweet taste of the "mango".

It requires a lot of discipline at your end to achieve the goal of becoming wealthy. It will require you sacrificing a lot . But, The Opinionated Indian promises you, that following these steps will make you rich & wealthy.


Make your money work for You: What ever your profession maybe, how much ever you may earn, it is imperative that you save at least 10% of your income. Although,  we recommend that you save 35% of your income. The rise of social media, has lead to a lot of pressure on millennials to buy the latest clothes, holiday abroad, buy the latest smart phone, expensive gadgets & to buy  expensive cars, just so that they can post about it on social media.  Most millennials tend to spend their entire salaries & then max their credit cards to buy the latest smart phone, designer clothes, cars or on that holiday in New Zealand/Europe etc, just to seem successful in the eyes of people, who barely care. The truly successful & wealthy people don't care much for other people's opinion.

Warren Buffett famously said " If you buy things you don't need, you will end up selling things that you need". The world richest people are frugal spenders. Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Azim Premji all drive modest cars.
Warren Buffett; Carlos Slim- both worth billions, live in modest houses. Most millionaires spend just 10% of their incomes; invest the rest. 80% of the millionaires drive second hand cars. Mark Zuckerberg, the inventor of Facebook, drives a modest car & barely spends on clothing. On the other hand, Mike Tyson, Johnny Depp are bankrupt, despite earning millions!

So how do we save, you ask? The trick is to first take money off your salary account &; invest it, only post that should you spend. Your car loan ideally shouldn't be more than 15% of your income. Apply for a credit card, instead of taking high interest personal loans. Overall, your monthly EMI's shouldn't be more than 50% of your income. Resist the temptation to buy on every fashion sale, use your smart phone for at least 2 years before  splurging on the latest i-phone, use your car at least for 5-6 years before buying/upgrading to a new one, travel abroad once in 2-3 years. Travel during off season if possible, do not overspend on hotels &; eating out. Safeguard your investments from theft or fraud. Have multiple sources of income. In today's times, where there is no job security & with the shelf life of businesses being short, it is advisable to have multiple streams of income.

So where to invest the money saved? Here are your options

Stocks or Mutual Funds: It is imperative, you get at least a basic understanding of stocks or mutual funds. Invest money you won't be requiring for the next 3-5 years. INR 50,000 invested in nifty in 1999 had grown to INR 522,000 by 2014. Investing the same money in a fixed deposit @8% interest would give you INR 119,827 post deducting taxes. Einstein once said "Compounding is the eight wonder of the world". You totally stay away from investing in equities, you will end up paying a high price for it. Based on your risk appetite &  your age, financial planners will advise you on the money you invest in equities. Equities are the most liquid form of investment. Long term capital gains on equities attract no income tax whatsoever. High dividend yielding stocks lead to decent returns in terms of dividend income. Track your investments regularly. For people not too interested in following the market, investing in mutual funds is recommended.


Real Estate: Indians tend to love investing in real estate. Buying a house, can get you a steady stream of rental income. The property can give you handsome returns, on being sold after a few years. The three important ingredients for a real estate investment is Location , location, location. Although we would like to tweak the formula a bit. Apart from the location, please do your due diligence, in terms of the property papers, ownership etc. It is recommended, that you take a bank loan to finance your real estate buy. Apart from saving tax, bank loans guarantee the safety of your investment, A bank won't sanction your loan, before checking each & every aspect of the deal. But, unlike stocks, real estate is not a liquid investment.

Gold: Indians love their gold. Owing to the curbs on gold imports, gold prices have been highly volatile & have offered dismal returns.Unless there is a huge calamity, Indians don't tend to sell their gold due to the emotional attachment to their gold.Gold tends to just lie in your locker & ads no value. So it is advisable not to allocate huge amounts to this investment. We do suggest investing 10% of your portfolio in gold, as it is a counter to your other investments. It has been observed that, when real estate & stocks go down, gold prices tend to go up & vice versa.

Invest in a Start up: A new form of investment, which offers decent to very good returns. People have started to invest in start ups, through crowd funding websites. There have been several examples of crowd funded start ups giving handsome returns to their investors. People should invest only after thoroughly researching the company.

Fixed Deposits: It is one investment we hate to make, owing to the sub par returns. But, it is an essential part of your portfolio. Owing to the liquidity & guaranteed returns of the money invested, it helps safeguard your investment against stock market crashes & delays in selling your real estate investments. If your honeymoon/kid's college fees are a few months or a year away, we would suggest you sell your stocks & or real estate & put it in an FD.

Be very careful while investing your hard earned money. Research thoroughly before investing.
Dont's:
  1. Credit cards might be a very important tool, if used wisely. You can buy important things, with money you don't have. But, this often leads people into a huge debt trap. Clear all your credit card dues in full, every month. The interest rates on credit cards are deadly.
  2. Invest in multiple asset classes. Your portfolio should be a mix of equities/ mutual funds, real estate, gold & fixed deposits.
  3. If the returns sound too good to be true, there probably is something wrong. Never invest in dubious schemes, promising 200% returns on your money in a few months & no effort whatsoever.
  4. Investing money in a tech start up, founded by your dhobi is a horrible idea. Invest in companies, whose founders have a solid background & sound knowledge of their field & have clarity of vision. Investing in a laundromat, founded by your dhobi makes much better sense!
  5. When it comes to lending money, consider money lent as gone. It is advisable not to lend money.In case you do, don't ever expect to get it back. If you do get it back, it is a bonus.
  6. When it comes to gambling in a casino or intra day stock trades, always keep a cut off limit. It is strongly advisable, to stay away from gambling in casinos or betting, as they are designed in a way that the house will always win.
  7. Never live on borrowed money. Clear of all your loans, as early as possible. Do not account for sporadic income earned from royalties/performance bonuses or inheritances. 80% money earned from inheritances or royalties or performance bonuses should be invested.
  8. Do not neglect your health. Health is Wealth. Do not eat in unhygienic restaurants or stay in dingy hotels just to save money. Be frugal & not stingy. It is one thing to value money & people respect it. It is another thing to live just to save money & watch your money grow.
  9. At the same time, do not spend way too extravagantly on weddings or throwing parties to friends whom you barely know.
Follow these steps, slowly & steadily you will see your wealth grow to desired levels. We never said it was easy! Like they say " There is nothing called a free lunch"