Apurva Waigankar, 25, data analyst with an information technology company. Photo: S. Kumar/Mint
Everyone has a trigger that nudges them into putting their finances in order. For Mumbai resident Apurva Waigankar, a 25-year-old data analyst with an information technology company, it was month-end blues that most people his age experienced. “At the end of every month, a lot of people I knew went broke and I wondered why,” Apurva said. “This happens to almost everyone in my age group” because people in my age group aspire for the latest gadgets and fashionable things, and they end up spending a lot.
Though this didn’t happen to him, it set him thinking: what if he was in a similar situation where he went broke at the end of every month or, worse, lose his job. On the back of this anxiety, his dreams of having a holiday home and travelling the world suddenly seemed distant to him. “My concern was actually planning for the future. Having a backup is a must. I want to be independent financially even after retirement to live life on my own terms,” he said.
This set him on a saving path. Elders in the family suggested saving in recurring deposits (RDs) and fixed deposits (FDs). Apurva did that for some time but wasn’t satisfied. He then started studying the stock markets closely, but realised that volatility could result in significant capital erosion. That was when he decided to seek professional advice on his finances.
Seeking professional help about a year ago was the first step. Based on a friend’s recommendation, Apurva spoke to Deepali Sen, a financial planner and founder of Srujan Financial Advisers LLP.
Until then, his existing investments included some deposits and some money-back insurance policies that he had bought to save tax. “I was advised to surrender the insurance policies which would give very low returns and to switch my investments from RDs and FDs to mutual funds. I still have to figure out the surrender of the insurance policy and how much I will lose in doing that in terms of surrender charges and how much I will get back,” he said.
He also bought a health insurance plan to save tax but has continued with the policy even after the financial plan.
The planner asked him to start with noting down all his goals and the time-frame in which he would realistically want to achieve them.
The closest goals for Apurva are at least five years away. In that time, he is planning to buy a car, a house and getting married. “I have not reached any of my goals till now. Right now, my entire focus is on working, planning and investing for the future,” he said.
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After that, he plans to take a holiday abroad once every year, a goal close to his heart, and saving for his family and then his retirement. “If things go as planned, I would also like to have a holiday home, and retire early from a regular job and move to consulting sometime around 50 years of age,” he said.
Though the goals are yet to be realised, Apurva said he now feels more disciplined towards achieving them.
He also feels that his anxiety about what will happen if he doesn’t have a job in future is somewhat settled. “I get a report from Deepali each month on how my investments are performing. Though it has not been a very long time, I get a feeling of things moving in a positive direction and I feel more confident about my future,” he said.
In about a year that he has been investing in mutual funds, he has not seen a negative return. He remains volatility-averse and is more into debt. However, he said, that he understands that he has to remain invested for a long time and is prepared for the eventuality that there could be a month or a period where the returns could be negative as well. But he would be well-prepared to deal with that.