Our retirement needs came first
Name: Ashwani Syal
Spouse: Savita Syal
Financial planner: Amit Kukreja, Sebi-registered financial adviser, and founder, WealthBeing Advisors
Years of effort spent on investing may still not lead to the desired results. This was what worried the Syals the most. “I used to spend 3-4 hours listening to news and programmes on financial TV channels,” said Ashwani. “But you can’t ask questions; it’s one way.”
Over his working years, Ashwani used to invest in initial public offerings (IPOs) and new fund offers (NFOs), “but there wasn’t any consolidation,” he said. He wanted to know if his steps till now were correct and would suffice for their future needs.
Top among the Syals’ goals was creating a corpus that would generate regular and adequate returns post-inflation. “Also, the total size should not be so large that we can’t manage it,” added Ashwani. “We wanted monthly income. As interest rates are going down in banks, we wanted to invest in other instruments,” said Savita.
The couple also sought advice on estate planning.
Ashwani went back to a professional life but as a consultant. “Amit (Kukreja; the couple’s financial planner) advised that I join as a consultant as that would be more tax efficient. This way I also wasn’t forced to put money in Provident Fund,” said Ashwani, who says he may work for another couple of years, or at least till there are opportunities.
The Gurgaon-based couple was also asked to go for three bank accounts. “One is for expenses, one for investment outflow and the third for income from investments. It took me almost a year to do this,” said Ashwani.
Keeping the age in mind, and the time remaining to reach the goals, the investment portfolio was changed to have less of equity. “I also reduced the PMS (portfolio management services) and funds in bonds,” said Ashwani.
The portfolio now includes ultra short-term liquid funds, and money is moved to other funds through systematic transfer plans.
The Syals’ portfolio had an equity skew, which could harm since most of their goals were near-term and not long-term. “The plan is now very clear and systematic. It takes care of our finances and yet gives us flexibility,” said Savita, adding, “we are mentally and financially more relaxed.” Though she said that confining to an “outsider” was tough. “In India these things are mostly kept secret, but we are seeing the benefits (of taking professional advice),” she said.