When Arpita Singh, 28, and Swetank Sisodia, 31, got married in December 2015, their outlook towards money was opposite to each other’s. Arpita was a “saver" and Swetank was a “spender", but both wanted to secure their future. 

While they had been investing, they were not happy with the returns. “We knew that we were not on the right track," said Arpita. They started reading up and invested in some mutual funds. “But it was confusing. Everyone was saying different things," said Arpita. 

They finally decided to consult Melvin Joseph, a Sebi-registered investment adviser and founder, Finvin Financial Planners. This put many pieces in the right place. 

First steps

The first thing the planner asked them was what they wanted from their money. “The questions made our choices clear," said Arpita. For example, both of them wanted to invest in funds but didn’t know how much and what for. “What should we plan for? How much will our money be in 15 years? I was investing, but I didn't know where it was going," said Swetank. 

The couple eventually narrowed down to a few important financial goals. 

Since they are employed in the private sector, building a retirement corpus was a long-term priority. “We didn’t know how much to save. We had not considered inflation, and how it will affect us," said Swetank. 

They want to buy a house in 5 years. “I was planning to buy a house in 1-2 years in Noida, but Melvin asked me to not invest in NCR now and wait for 5 years, especially since we may not be in Noida after some time. He said if you are buying, make sure you live in it for 5-10 years," said Swetank. They are investing towards a downpayment to be used later. 

They want to buy a car in 1-2 years, for which they are investing in short-term debt funds. They are also building an emergency corpus through ultra short-term funds (see: Term of the Day). 

The couple has bought separate term plans, though Swetank has a traditional policy too. He has not surrendered it as it was paid-up. “Melvin said I should also have a term plan since both of us are earning," said Arpita. 

They have a family floater health policy and have personal accident insurance too.  

Right track

The couple had been investing in funds but without direction. Swetank was investing in four recommended schemes through a distribution website. “I didn’t know about direct plans. All I knew was there are mutual funds," he said. He is slowly petering out his investments in these schemes, and redirecting them to direct plans.  

For long-term goals, they have invested in equity funds’ systematic investment plans (SIPs). Their investments are regularly updated. For instance, when long-term capital gains tax was levied on equity funds too, they increased their SIPs by that much to re-balance. 

With a financial plan that’s a year old, Arpita and Swetank are confident of having invested correctly. “During the first week of the month, money goes away. But we know it’s been invested for our future; 35-40% of our salary is saved. We have learnt to live within what’s left," he said. 

Swetank admits that before having a plan, he was an impulsive spender, but 8-9 months later he has learned to manage expenses. “We are free from doubts like what will happen after 5 or 10 years, or at the time of retirement. Since we invest regularly, we are actually enjoying the rest of the money," said Arpita.

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