Suhail Gupta and Reinee Ghosh had an idea about what they wanted from their money, but they didn’t have a figure put against their goals. Now they have that too, thanks to their financial plan. The need for it emerged a few months back when they wanted their finances to be better organised. After an internet search, they narrowed down to a financial planner after reading reviews and meeting him. “He (Amit Kukreja: the couple’s planner now) understood our perspective. In fact, among the first things he said was that the luxury of having money is that you don’t work for money, but for your passion," said Reinee. And this was what the Delhi-based couple is aiming for.
What also drove them to seek independent professional advice was their experience with the banks. “I feel most of it is commission-driven product push," said Reinee.
The couple’s top three goals were: taking care of their children’s education (daughter Ayesha is 12 years old and son Yohan is 9), retirement planning for themselves, and being able “to step back."
“We both want the option of stepping back. We love the outdoors," said Suhail. The couple has taken time off in the past to pursue their interests, and want similar flexibility in the future too. “We want the flexibility without having to compromise on the needs of (children’s) education. I want to be able to take a sabbatical and know that someone is looking after all this," said Reinee.
A financial plan has helped them to straighten their priorities so that income can be generated from investments. “We had to answer some questions—how much did we need, in which year did we need that…. Then we saw what we had for immediate needs and what for future needs," said Reinee.
As part of the financial plan, the couple took a consolidated look at their income and expenses. “We have always been fairly organized. We have known our limits, but we had not put it down on paper. Now, it is crystalized," said Suhail.
For life insurance, the couple now has term plans. They have also surrendered some policies. For health, the cover is through two separate family floater plans.
In terms of investments, they had little exposure to debt funds. “We have balanced that for near-term needs," said Suhail.
They have also let go of some products that banks had suggested. “That money invested elsewhere would cover the losses," said Reinee.
The two had heavy equity exposure in their portfolio. “We wanted to take more risk but were advised to reach a certain point in our finances and then take risk," she said. “We are more conservative now. We invest in mutual funds (instead of stocks) as that means not having to take too much risk. There’s no hurry; we have time." They have stayed away from fixed deposits though. “Money would devalue there," said Suhail.
Suhail said his mother would invest in stocks. “(The equity portfolio) has built up over time," he said. In their overall portfolio, the equity exposure is not being reduced but balanced with debt products. In fact, the education of their children is planned based on equity and mutual fund SIPs. They have also invested in mutual funds through direct plans, so that there is no need to depend on a mutual fund adviser.
Thanks to a financial plan, Reinee and Suhail feel they are now on the path to achieving their goals. “In the past, we were more ad hoc; not very regular. Now we save regularly. Earlier, the advice was also random," said Suhail, adding that if he had known better, he would have started following a financial plan when he was in his 30s.
According to Reniee, a plan and professional advice has helped them think logically. “Don’t depend on family members or friends. That’s ad hoc; that’s uneducated investment."
Name: Suhail Gupta
Profession: heads an inbound travel company
Name: Reinee Ghosh
Profession: manages meetings and incentives for the travel company
Finanical planner: Amit Kukreja, Sebi Registered Investment Adviser, and founder, amitkukreja.com