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Home >Money >Personal-finance >‘Our investments are boring, but then that’s how it’s supposed to be’

In India, many investors have fallen prey to aggressive sales from financial institutions. Pune-based Chintan and Gautami Girigosavi Ghuntla faced the same issues, which eventually made them look for unbiased advice. “We understood that the sales agents from financial institutions don’t have any sense of fiduciary duty towards customers," said Chintan.

Another reason to look for expert advice was that they could not keep a tab on all the changes in financial products. “It is very tough to navigate all the complexities, and plan investments, all along with a day job," said Gautami.

Essentially, the couple was looking for three things in an adviser. Good references, someone who took a holistic approach and charted a realistic plan, and someone approachable. While their planner, Melvin Joseph, is based in Navi Mumbai, Chintan and Gautami live in Pune, and say they have never felt that the distance.

The initial exercise of gathering information was exhaustive, and refreshed the couple’s knowledge of investments. The next step was thinking about goals. While they had been investing, it was not goal-based. “The long-term goals like child’s education and retirement were always ‘understood’. We were forced to articulate these goals and also their time frame," said Gautami. Their son, Grishm, is 3 years old.

The couple had adequate health and life covers, but had not considered personal accident policy. “Melvin explained what this is meant for and how it will plug the hole in our insurance bucket," said Chintan. They have filled this gap and now have personal accident cover as well.

In terms of investments, Gautami and Chintan were investing in mutual funds through a platform. “We were in for a rude shock when Melvin mentioned that the cost is higher when we buy through such platforms, and that over the long term, the returns will be substantially less due to such costs," said Chintan. They have continued those funds but anything new they bought was a direct plan.

While the couple was nudged towards SIPs, they were pulled back from investing in a commercial property that they wanted to buy. “A huge loan to buy an expensive commercial property could have stretched us. Plus, the rental potential and future value of the property were hazy at best. Thus it made much more sense to invest in (mostly) equity mutual funds instead," said Chintan.

With their goals set, path decided and money hard at work, Chintan and Gautami say they are at ease now. “The plan will get tweaked now and then, but it’s comforting to know that finance is no more an out of control beast," said Gautami. Chintan concludes, “Now our investments happen in a calm and steady manner. It’s almost boring, but then that’s how it is supposed to be."

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MY PLAN

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Name: Chintan Ghuntla

Age: 33

Profession: Works in IT

Name: Gautami Girigosavi Ghuntla

Age: 32

Profession: Works in IT

City: Pune

Financial planner: Melvin Joseph, Sebi registered investment adviser and founder, Finvin Financial Planners

What the planner said

1. Make goals and invest

2. Get a personal accident insurance policy

3. Invest in direct plans, SIPs

4. Avoid buying commercial property

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