Our wealth manager made us disciplined about savings
Name: Shanthala T. Medappa
Profession: Yoga acharya, director at Old Mercara
Spouse: Satyajit Medappa
Profession: HR professional, former Ranji trophy player
Wealth Manager: Sunil Ottur, director, Greenshoots Investment Services
For Shanthala, saving money was never a problem. “I was 30 at the time we got married and (initially) our incomes mostly went into managing our household expenses,” she said. But that didn’t mean there were no savings at all. “There is no family property or investments to bank on. So we were always conscious of saving,” Shanthala added.
But savings alone didn’t satisfy her: “I always wondered if we were saving enough or how much we would need to manage our retirement.” The search for such answers led her to seek professional advice.
For the couple, the journey between saving money and investing the money happened 3 years back with the help of Sunil Ottur. “Our planner did a complete survey about our expenditure and savings. There was also a set of questions to gauge our risk appetite,” added Shanthala.
The whole exercise got the couple to think about financial goals and the time horizon to realise these goals. “We always knew what our goals were. But without careful planning they are just fuzzy ideas,” said Shanthala.
The couple zeroed in on two long-term goals: retirement and education of their eight-month-old daughter.
The only problem was that they had a debt-heavy portfolio (almost 70% in debt). “Our savings were mostly in the form of bank deposits and fixed deposits. We didn’t have any exposure to equities except for a few mutual funds that my husband had invested in. This was also because we thought we were of the conservative mindset,” Shanthala said. But that changed on getting professional advice.
“In hindsight, it was more a lack of awareness. One needs to be familiar with equities. My husband was clued in as he works in the financial services industry but we never gave it a serious thought. For him it was reassuring enough that we were saving regularly,” Shanthala said. After getting professional advice, the couple increased their investments considerably and also shifted to an equity heavy portfolio (at least 60%). “We have a mix of large-, medium-, small- and micro-cap funds in equity and liquid and ultra-short-term funds in the fixed income and liquid category,” she said.
Their insurance has also improved. “I have always had health insurance as I was hospitalised once when I was young and I know the kind of medical bills hospitalisation can rake up. I made my husband buy it too but again it wasn’t enough, so we increased our health insurance cover as a family. For life insurance we had some investment plans but now we have added term plans,” she added.
The Meddappas like the discipline of saving periodically. “Our portfolio is reviewed on a monthly basis . Sometimes we do it together and sometimes my husband does it,” she said, adding it helps in knowing how their money is growing.