Who said millennials care only about Snapchat streaks and wearing branded clothes? Times are changing and some of them are hoping to plan their finances early on in their lives. Saloni Mehta, 23, has been working as a chartered accountant with professional services firm EY for a year now, but it was only a few months ago when she realised her money was lying idle. “I kept procrastinating my investments as I wanted to take time out to understand the markets and other financial products," said Mehta. “When I realised I was just delaying it, I decided to consult a financial planner." 

The saving streak

Though she met a financial planner only later, Mehta always tried to save in some form or another. In 2014, when Mehta started earning some money during her articleship (a form of compulsory internship for CA aspirants), she decided to invest a small sum. A certain bank adviser told her to invest in a life insurance policy to avail tax benefits in the future. By this time, Mehta’s parents had already bought her a policy which she was unaware of. “Little did I know that the policy recommended by the bank was due to the tie-up between the bank and the insurer," said Mehta. The terms of benefits: the policy stated that I would need to pay at least for three years, else there would be no sum receivable. “I realised it was a poor investment decision and paid the money for three years, got back my principal and did not continue the policy," added Mehta.

The episode taught her a lesson and she hopes to understand financial products well before investing in them. 

The saving streak continues though. Mehta saves about 50% of her salary now. “I don’t have too many expenses as I live with my parents," she said.

Getting a direction

Another thing that hindered her was the fact that she is risk averse. Before consulting a financial planner, she wanted to invest only in large companies—be it through direct stocks or mutual funds. “I was not ready to invest in a nascent company even though I had a long term," said Mehta.

The planner made her comfortable with the idea of taking risk by explaining that small-cap funds tend to give higher returns in the long term. “I’m a risk averse person but my planner helped me understand that as I am investing for the long term and given my age, I can invest in smaller companies too," said Mehta. Currently Mehta invests in small, medium- and large-cap SIPs and plans to start investing directly in blue-chip companies and reputed IPOs in the future. My planner taught me how not to put all the eggs in the same basket. “She explained the benefits of diversification in order to divide risk," said Mehta. 

Nisreen Mamaji, certified financial planner and founder, MoneyWorks Financial Advisors, said Saloni took a lot of interest in her asset allocation and the nitty-gritty of her investments. She did a risk tolerance exercise with Mehta to understand her risk appetite and goals. “If she takes a break for studying or otherwise for child bearing, I want to use whatever time she has to make the right investments by helping her take informed decisions," said Mamaji. 

Mehta wishes to pursue an MBA in the future and wants to pay for the education herself. If she happens to take a loan, she wants to pay it off without having to compromise her lifestyle. In the long term, Mehta wants to enjoy a standard of living that her parents have and not become financially dependent ever.

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Mistakes I won’t repeat

1. Buying life insurance policy for investment

2.Taking investment advice from financial institutions

3. Not being open to taking risk 

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