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Financial planning is both an art and science

The plan has to make space for any changes/ financial developments on a continual basis and has to allow for course correction wherever needed.

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Financial planning creates the equilibrium between what we earn and/ or inherit on one hand and what we spend, invest for tomorrow and may will away or donate, on the other hand.

Money is one of the highest forms of energies and for any energy source to be effectively channelised, one needs training. Similarly, for money to be nurtured well, one needs a professional like a financial planner. A financial planner's job requires him to prepare for either contingency, what if the client passes away too early, or what if he lives for too long. The client or his dependants should be provided for in both cases.

Financial planning incorporates both art and science. As an art, it involves creativity, customisation and individual's behavioural relationship with money. All of this can evolve with time. It could also involve (to varying extents) education of minors on money related matters. The scientific part involves mathematical calculations on amounts needed for various goals, assumptions on performance based on historical data set and extrapolation of views leading to certain decisions, like where to buy a certain property meant for investment reasons, should it be residential or commercial, how much of loan to be taken for funding it and how much to be funded from one's savings, does an under construction one makes sense or a ready to move-in one seems more appropriate.

It comprises three steps, i) Risk Control, ii) Wealth Management and, iii) Wealth Transfer

Risk Control: Just as the brakes of the car are meant for the driver to catch speed (based on need and possibility), outsourcing of risk is needed so that individuals' can lead stress free lives and not keep worrying about the financial consequences of different 'what if's'. It covers various kinds of insurances like: life, medical, personal accident, etc, not just the right amount, but also appropriate products. It also involves keeping money aside for contingencies like, job loss, prolonged illness, any other unforeseen situation, etc.

Wealth Management: It incorporates planning for various goals. Just as we all slog at our workplace, every rupee we earn is our employee and there's no reason why it should not sweat it out for its master (us). Broadly, wealth management includes seeking to strike a fine balance between instant gratification and delayed gratification and between risk and returns.

Karunanidhi recently passed away at 94; so many of us might actually live to be 95 in times to come, largely owing to rapid medical advancements. Under these circumstances, we'd prefer our money outliving us, rather than the other way around, leaving us at the mercy of our kids or grandkids. In addition, a tendency to avoid investing in high volatility products like equities could nudge one towards sub-optimal returns. And, buying high risk products is not necessarily a precursor of superior returns.

Wealth Transfer: It refers to putting your game plan, of smooth transition of your assets to beneficiaries after your death, on paper. Writing a will decreases the chances of conflict and stress between beneficiaries and/ or relatives after one's death. It is believed that all great souls keep all their matters organised and sorted at all points of time.

For the financial plan to be holistic and relevant, the financial details required are; cash-flows (both inflows and outflows), assets, liabilities (how much you own and how much you owe) and goals being planned for.

After the financial plan starts getting adhered to, it makes sense to keep reviewing it on a quarterly or six-monthly basis. The plan has to make space for any changes/ financial developments on a continual basis and has to allow for course correction wherever needed.

The author is founder partner of Srujan Financial Advisers and author of 'Why greed is great'


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It was only recently we moved to a place called ‘Madippakkam’ in Chennai. It was on a Sunday I met him first time. On that day morning, my mom was cleaning fish in the back yard. I also joined for a pep talk. Then we heard a sound

“Meow”

On turning back, we saw a cat. It was a beautiful cat; but was very thin. It was limping. It might have fought with some other tom cats and got injured. It started eating the remains of the fish. My mom shooed it off and it ran away. Once the cat is gone, the crows started disturbing my mom.

Poor cat was sitting a little far and was looking at my mother with hope. It couldn’t control its hunger and It came back again to my mom. My mother was trying scare if off; it but I felt little sympathy.

I said to my mother “What’s the problem if the cat eat the remains of fish? Anyway, it is not useful for anybody. Let it eat“.

“If you start feeding it, it never leaves the house” my mom said.

But, she obliged and allowed the cat. The cat ate all the remains of the fish happily.

Cats were my weakness since childhood. I like their straight forward attitude. They are not like dogs. Cats will never show their bravery in front of their masters. Dogs will show their cowardliness, if their master is not around. If their masters are around, the dog becomes very brave. But cats are not like that. They are cool headed. But when the situation demanded, I have seen cat fighting with four dogs all alone.

After my lunch, when I stepped outside, I saw it sleeping peacefully behind the washing stone. It seemed it had a good meal after so many days. When it saw me, it got up to run away. Maybe, it felt that, I am not dangerous, it just looked at me for a while and then it laid back there again.

I went and patted on its back. It got up and brushed its tail on my legs to show its gratitude and love. Then I got a call from the man who was the earlier tenant the house before me. I took the call. He called for discussing about the land line connection in the house.

Before ending our conversation, he said one more thing.

“There is a cat around. It was living in the house. Not inside the house, but inside the motor shed. If it comes, please give something to it. My son liked it a lot. We left it in the old house because we were moving to a flat in Delhi. Else, we would have taken it along.”

‘So, that is why this cat is hanging around this house’ I thought. For the cat, this house belongs to it. Before I hung up, I asked

“What’s its name?”

“Its real name is Garfield, but my son call it as “Chakku” he said.

And thus, Chakku became a member in our family. Initially, my mother didn’t like him. She was under the impression that, it will steal food and may put its head in utensils. But he never did anything like that. He will eat only whatever we give to it. Chakku never went other houses in the neighbourhood.

Even when we went for a week’s vacation to our native place, he never went to other houses. It will catch rats or weeds within our compound and stay in the motor shed. If Chakku cannot find rats or weeds in our compound, he will go to the big open ground which is opposite to our house and hunt for weeds and rats.

When we come back after the vacation, he will tell a lot of complaints. And then, he will show a lot of affection to us, so that we will not leave him behind next time; but we did.

Normally, tom cats will not stay in a house for ever. But Chakku was different. When he realized that, we also like him, he started showing some authority in the house. Then onwards, whenever my mother cleans the fish, if any crows come around, Chakku will scold the crows in his own language. He will make a special sound when the crows come nearby. He will show his teethe in a rage.

He will rest, only after the crows are left. If we go outside to the compound during night, he will be there with us as body guard until we are back inside our house.

One day Chakku was attacked by another big tom cat. He was limping for the whole week and it was my mother who was applying ointment on its injured leg. The change in my mother’s attitude towards Chakku was a surprise for me.

I got married around at that time. During the week of my marriage, Chakku never came out of the motor shed. Maybe because it noticed too many people in my house; he just refused to come out. During that week, my mom was giving food to Chakku in the motor shed.

After my marriage, I and my wife left for our one week long honeymoon. When we came back, Chakku was not in house.

When I enquired, my mom said,

“Maybe because, it couldn’t see you around; it is not coming home for the last one week. And of course, being a tom cat, I am not expecting it to stay in a single house for long”.

I couldn’t accept that. ‘Something happened to Chakku?’ I wondered. Next day morning, when I was brushing my teeth, I saw that, Chakku was coming by jumping our compound wall. And just behind him, there is another pussy cat.

The other cat was not as beautiful as that of Chakku; and it was grey in color. When it saw me, it tried to run away. Chakku tried to pacify it in its own language. And at last, it came near to me.

I called my mom

“Mom, see this, Chakku has brought another cat.”

Mom came and looked. Then she started laughing aloud.

I asked my mom “why are you laughing so much?”

Mom said “your cat is just like you. You got married and brought your wife to your home. And like that, he also brought its pair to home.”

I too burst into laughter.

“Now, it will start breeding here. Let me scare it away” even before I can stop, my mom sprinkled water on the cat.

That pussy cat ran away. For next two days, Chakku didn’t come home. Third day he came again with the pussy cat. This time, I didn’t allow my mother to scare them away. Later my mom also obliged. Chakku started living with the other cat in the same motor shed. We found a name for the new comer, “Chinnu”.

My wife doesn’t like cats. In fact she was scared of them. Chinnu was a little aggressive cat. One day she caught a small squirrel and ate it. After seeing that, my wife started hating Chinnu.

After few more months, we got a new member in our family, our son ‘Aakarsh’. Aakarsh was also fond cats, just like me. ‘It is in the genes’ I thought. Aakarsh became friendly with Chakku in his early days itself. Whenever Chakku comes near to Aakarsh, he will smile at it.

During those days, Chinnu also delivered – two kittens. After Chinnu delivered, she didn’t allow Chakku to come near to it for two months. Later they reunited. One day when I was standing near the gate, Chakku came near the gate chasing a rat. The rat escaped through a narrow gap below the gate. But, Chakku couldn’t go through the same gap. I opened the gate for Chakku. Exactly at that time, one bike came from nowhere, and it ran over Chakku. Chakku died on the spot.

I was very sad for two days. Aaakarsh was also searching for Chakku in all the places he knew. My mom consoled Aaakarsh.

A week after Chakku’s death, one stray dog jumped over our compound wall in night, and attacked the kittens. Dog killed one of the kittens and the other escaped somehow. Maybe, unable to bear the departure of Chakku and her kitten, Chinnu started drifting away from us. Later it stopped coming to our house. But the kitten didn’t leave us. We named it ‘Kini’.

Kini was very beautiful. She was golden yellow in color. Aakarsh liked it a lot. Kini also liked Aakarsh. Both were growing up fast. My son started walking soon and then started running. Kini was following him like a shadow.

Aakarsh will harm Kini sometimes. He was not aware that, it was painful for Kini. He will pull Kini’s tail some times. But Kini won’t do anything to Aaakarsh. When his disturbance becomes unbearable, Kini will scold him in its language.

In one of those days, Aaakarsh fell down and injured his leg. I brought Aakarsh inside house. Hearing Aaakarsh’s crying, Kini became very restless and it was running around the house. It was relieved only after Aakarsh stopped crying and went out again.

Another day, Kini caught a very big rat. Being proud of its achievement, it brought that half dead rat near to me. Then as if saying “See, I caught this one”, it brushed its tail on my leg. Then it took the rat and put in front of my mom and brushed its tail on mom’s leg. Like that, after showing everybody in the home, Kini ate that rat.

The days when we bought fish, it is festival for Kini. After eating all the remains of the fish, with full stomach, it will lay on the washing stone; happily. Just see that happiness, I used to buy fish.

The day after Diwali, I got up on hearing Kini’s continuous ‘Meow’ sound. It was crying aloud without stopping, looking under the steps which leads from kitchen to back yard. Initially, I thought that it may be a rat. But Kini likes catching and eating rats. I was curious. I took torch and show it under the steps and we found a viper under the steps. We somehow caught it and handed over to the zoo. And Kini became our favourite.

After few months, my wife got a job in a faraway place. As the distance was too long, it was taking too much time for her for the travel. Just for travelling, it took four hours a day. Even Aakarsh started missing his mother. As the company was good one, my wife was reluctant to resign from the job.

Then we decided to move near to her office. We tried a few independent houses for rent. But, only flats were available near to my wife’s work place. At last we decided to move to a flat. But then there is new problem. We cannot take Kini to the flat. They normally don’t allow pets in flats. It was difficult to move without Kini.

My mom said “why are you worrying so much? The cat came to our house on its own. So, it will go somewhere else, once we leave”..

I was still uncomfortable. The day, on which we were moving, we packed everything and were ready. Kini was very restless after seeing the fuss of packing. It might have thought that for the next three to four days, it has to depend on weeds and rats. Normally, if we go to our native place, we used to return only after three or four days.

When the truck came and loaded everything, Aaakarsh understood the situation.

He said “I want Kini”.

He ran away and brought Kini. After a little struggle and a promise that, we will come back and take Kini too, he agreed. We locked the gate and handed over the key to the house owner. Kini was still looking at me with restless eyes. I felt sad. When I turned back, even my wife was controlling her tears even though she didn’t like cats.

After reaching the new house, Aaakarsh was very adamant that he want Kini. To console him, we bought a fish tank for him. After getting the colourful fishes, he stopped worrying about Kini.

After a month, the neighbour of old house phoned me telling that the post master has handed over few letters which came in my old address. I went to my old house for collecting that. The house was still empty. New tenants haven’t come yet. The gate was locked. Just for checking, I took the key from the house owner and entered inside the compound.

Then moment I stepped inside, I heard a very weak sound ‘Meow’. I turned and looked. I almost cried. It was Kini. It was not our old Kini. Kini was very weak and very thin. It was so weak that, It was not even able to stand on its legs.

Still it came slowly and licked on my legs as though it was asking “At last, you came to fetch me…right?”

I took Kini in my hands. It was almost weightless. I understood everything. Kini was in the same house for the last one month expecting our return after the vacation. It didn’t go anywhere. It was waiting for us with hope. Enough of waiting I decided.

When I reached home with a bag which has movement inside, my wife was a little surprised. Kini got out from the bag slowly. On hearing the weak ‘meow’, aaakarsh also came running from the kitchen.

Aaakarsh couldn’t conceal his joy “Hai! Kini!” he said as if he was meeting his intimate friend after so many days.

My mom also came and looked at Kini. On seeing its state, even my mother struggled to control her tears.

My mom said, “You did the right thing son”.

My wife asked “Will there be any trouble from the other occupants of the flat?”

“Let them make trouble. I won’t leave Kini again. The poor animal waited for me for a month” I said.

Even though it was lent season, I bought fish on that day. Kini ate the fish happily. My wife was reading news paper sitting on the chair. Kini climbed on to her lap and it lay back there; as though it had all the rights in the world to do so.

On seeing my wife who hated cats; patting Kini, I couldn’t control my smile.

Nainu was trying hard to control her tears. But, she couldn’t stop it. It just started rolling down her cheeks. She gathered her composure, stood up and walked slowly towards the desk of class teacher. She had her science answer sheet in her hand. With trembling hands she placed the answer sheet in front of her teacher. With sobbing voice, she said to her teacher

“Teacher, you corrected this wrongly. This is not right answer. But, you have given marks for it”. By that time, Nainu lost all her composure. She cried.

******

Nainu is studying in 7th standard of Maharshi Vidya Mandir. She is a good student and teachers liked her. Till 5th standard, she was in division ‘D’ and there she was always the topper of the class. When she passed to 6th standard, school authorities shuffled the divisions and she moved to 6-C. In division ‘C’, she got a fearsome opponent in another student named Pragathi. Pragathi was smart and she always topped her class. In the clash of titans, Nainu lost and Pragathi always topped the class from 6th standard onwards.

Nainu didn’t leave it just like that. She tried hard and always gave Pragathi a run for her money. But, Pragthi always managed to get those extra one or two marks to score over Nainu. Nainu wouldn’t have minded it, if it was 2 years back. But, now she is a spot to bother.

It all started with birthday of her mother. When Nainu was in 5th standard, her father gifted a beautiful watch to her mother on her mother’s birthday. Nainu used to give handmade greeting cards to her parents on their birthdays. This time, Nainu also wanted to give a gift for her mother. Afterall, it was her mother who prepares her for the school, help her in her studies, give her ideas for school projects etc.

But, Nainu didn’t have money to buy anything. She thought of asking her father. But her father already left for office. Nainu waited. Her father came very late on that day and by the time her father was back, Nainu was fast asleep.

Next day, Nainu asked her father for money to buy a gift for her mother. Her father gave some money. But, Nainu realized that, it is not appropriate to give a birthday gift after the birthday. There must be a way for her to earn money. So she told that her to father.

“Papa, I also want to earn money”

“For what?” asked her father.

“I also want to buy gift for you and mama for special occasions like birthday, father’s day mother’s day etc.” said Nainu.

“For that, you don’t have to earn money. First you focus on studies. Earning can happen after studies. If you need money, you ask me, I will give you” said her father.

“No Papa. I don’t want to ask you every time. What if you are not at home when I need money? Yesterday was mama’s birthday and I was waiting to ask money from you. But you came very late. This will not work. I need to have my own money” said Nainu.

Her father thought for a while and said.

“Let us make a deal. Whenever you achieve something…. Like class topper badge, certificate in competitive eaxms, medal in arts or sports, I will give you some money. You keep that money safe and whenever you need, you can use that money. That way, it is your earned money”

That deal was acceptable to Nainu. As promised, her father started giving her small amount of money whenever she achieved something. She kept that money and bought gifts on special days and occasions. Being a class topper Nainu earned money almost after every monthly test. But, when she moved to 6th standard, things became hard for her. After shuffling, Pragthi came to her class. And from that time onwards, it was Pragathi who was topping the class.

Nainu tried to focus on competitive exams. But, they are conducted in state and national levels and to get awards at that level was extremely difficult. Also, those exams were no so frequent. In the entire 6th standard, she couldn’t earn much money and she struggled to buy gifts for special occasions. She used up all her small savings in the piggy bank. She didtn’t want to ask her father because, she only asked for the deal.

When she reached seventh standard, Nainu decided to fight hard. In the first monthly test, she lost to Pragathi by 3 marks. Nainu knew that, the gap is closing. If she tries a little more hard, she can be class topper in the second monthly test. Once she get there, she will get to wear the “Class Topper” badge for a month on her uniform and she will be the class leader. Nainu was sure of getting a good amount from here father if she achieve that feat. Her father’s birthday is falling next month and Nainu already found a nice pen to give her father as a gift. But the pen was bit costly. She didn’t have any more money left in her piggy bank.

Nainu studied hard and wrote all exams well. This time, she knew that, she has a fair chance. The answer sheets were distributed. In last 3 days, five answer sheets were distributed. Pragathi and Nainu were neck to neck. So far Nainu has scored one mark more than Pragathi. Only science paper mark is remaining. Only concern Nainu had, she was not sure of the answer to a two mark question.

Teacher distributed the answer sheets. Nainu and Pragathi got same marks. Nainu was so happy. After one and half year, she is going to be the class topper again. Teacher asked students to check answer sheets for totals and other concerns. One of the students and got up and asked the teacher about answer to the same question on which Nainu had a doubt. Nainu checked her answer sheet. She had got marks for the answer. Teacher explained the answer. Then only Nainu realized that, her answer was wrong.

Her heart skipped a beat. There go all her dreams of topping the class, getting badge, become leader, getting money from father and buying the pen for him. Darkness kept into her eyes. She decided not to tell teacher. But, some power pulled her feet. Her conscious started blaming her. At last, she got up and walked towards teacher.

*****

“Oh yes! I corrected it wrongly. You lose two marks. Good girl! I like your honesty. But why are you crying?” asked teacher.

“I lost ‘Class Topper’ to Pragathi again. This time, just by one mark” said Nainu.

“Oh.. my poor child!!!” said teacher and teacher tried to wipe Nainu’s tears.

That was when Pragathi got up. She came to teacher and said

“Teacher, you corrected this question wrongly for me too. This is not right answer. But, you have given marks for it” said Pragathi.

Teacher checked and said “Yes, You will also lose two marks. That makes Nainu the class topper”.

The tears of despair became tears of joy for Nainu. She went and hugged Pragathi. The two girls stood there in embrace..

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship… An everlasting friendship!!!!!!!

Growing your business into a stronger and more consistent one is not a child’s play. As the market grows large and the competition increases day by day, it’s getting harder and harder to compete and generate costumers and thus revenue. But thanks to the advancing technology we have been given many ways to earn our share of customers. These ways include software’s, websites, android apps and digital marketing. Now let’s discuss what these are and how they help a business grow.

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Software’s are a must!

The term software development refers to the process of writing and maintaining source code. There are a variety of purposes for which soft wares can be developed. Now a days software’s are being used everywhere from schools to large businesses and in every industry. You can get any kind of software like accounting, HR management, restaurant management, payroll, etc according to your business need from any software company. The software is a really reliable, time and money saving investment any business can make. Software enhance your ability to work, keep track of work and perform tasks which you could not perform before.

Why need a website?

When someone starts a new business, does some preliminary investments. They often question the need for a website. Despite having the knowledge of its importance, they prefer not to own a website at all. This is where they mess things up. A website can be and is really handy for a business. It serves like a window for the business that opens up on the internet and by which people can look into the business and whoever looks into (visits) the website is likely to become a customer thus increase the revenue. This is a way of expanding your covering ground and spreading your business. If you need a website you can get one from a web design and development company. Websites are really affordable and 100% customizable.

Android apps and business growth

Android applications play a crucial role in the growth of a business online. If you ever search on the internet you’ll find an increasing number of applications. Here we are discussing only a few of them for your understanding.

Skype

Skype is a Microsoft application that allows the user to communicate with other users. You can video chat, text chat and make phone calls with it. This application is used in businesses. Many people use it to communicate with peers, subordinates, superiors and most importantly with customers/clients. Most businesses use skype for conferences and meetings.

Google calendar

This application helps you in keeping reminders of important business events. With google calendar you never miss any important project deadlines or show up late in any meetings.

Slack

If you’re working in a team and want to harmonize and keep track of your team members works then this is the app you’ll need. This app provides communication and collaboration.

LinkedIn

It’s a great way to find new employees, connect with like-minded businesspeople, find new clients, and build a strong personal brand online.

Business cards

With this app, you no longer need to deal with the hassle of carrying around physical business cards. Instead, you can create multiple business cards within the app, allowing you to tailor your cards to the types of people you give them to.

Digital marketing – essence for business growth

Digital marketing refers to use of digital technologies to market a product or service, mainly on the internet. It also includes mobile phones, display advertising and any other digital medium. Digital marketing uses multiple channels and technologies that allow an organization to analyze campaigns, content and strategy to understand what's working and what isn't – typically in real time. There are a number of types of digital marketing:

SEO (Search engine optimization):

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an approach of techniques, tactics, plans and schemes used to increase the number of visitors onto your website by securing a high-ranked placement in the search engine result pages (SERP).

SMM (Social media marketing):

People started marketing their businesses on the internet to cover a much larger part of the world market than they could before. This is when the social media proved to be a splendid platform for marketing purpose. Posting on social media can give you increased brand awareness, more inbound traffic, improved search engine rankings, higher conversion rates and better customer satisfaction.

SEM (search engine marketing) or PPC (Pay per click):

It covers the ground SEO ignores, paid traffic from search engines. With SEM you purchase advertisement space that appears on a user’s SERP. The most common paid search platform is Google AdWords. Next, is Bing Ads.

Influencer marketing:

Influencer marketing is among the newer types of digital marketing. Influencer marketing uses people with an enormous online reach considered experts by your target market to drive traffic and sales. Influencer marketing is popular on social media channels like Instagram and Snapchat.

There are so many other types of digital marketing available.

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