In collectivist Indian families, financial independence doesn't necessarily mean autonomy. The family closely monitors spending and time, leaving little control over personal finances. Despite appreciating the support, I realized I didn't even know where my money was invested or how many bank accounts I had. This prompted me to ask for a rundown of my financial situation and made me realize that I lacked knowledge on how to secure my future.
There are millions of young adults joining the job market every day, and I know how adulting can be overwhelming in the financial sense of the word. So here’s an Adulting 101 guide for you:
The first step of becoming an adult is getting your PAN (Permanent Account Number) card made. This is a unique number assigned to an individual, which assists in recording all your tax information in one location. The next step would be to open up a savings account linked to your own cell phone number and email ID. If your parents receive your bank statements and transaction information, you could always talk to them about transferring control to you. It’s a simple process of updating existing numbers and email ids with the bank.
IT’S TIME TO SAVE!
Saving can be challenging when you're just starting out on your own. But trust me, it's worth it! Start by figuring out your goals and setting aside 10% of your salary. And please, resist the urge to get a credit card for the first four years of working. It's easy to overspend when relying on them, and you don't want to rack up debt. Instead, consider opening a recurring account for accessibility and earning interest. Your bank manager can give you all the details on interest rates and savings schemes. Take control of your finances and secure your future!
Paying taxes can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be! If you're working, your company takes care of the tax payments for you. Your job is simply to file by the end of July for the previous financial year, which runs from April 1st to March 31st. To file your taxes, start by understanding the components of your salary and which deductions apply to you. Section 80 C is your best friend here and can save you a lot of money. Don't forget to include any additional sources of income, such as property or valuable sales, in your filings. It may seem overwhelming, but take it one step at a time. As an individual, you can handle both of these aspects here.
Now, depending on your needs and wants, the way you plan your finances are of utmost importance. If you are young and free, you might decide travel is your largest expense or maybe you want to buy a car. If you just got married, maybe you’re looking to buy a house. Whatever the expense, three aspects need to be kept in mind: your take-home income, the down payment, and the rate of interest on a loan (if you need to take one). This can help you assess what you can afford to buy.
A Demat account is a digital account to hold stocks, mutual funds, and bonds for online trading. Your investment needs change based on your age and requirements. If you're under 30, you can invest up to 70% of your surplus in equity. As you get older, you might want to increase your investments in debt for stability. Your bank can help you open a Demat account and provide guidance on investing. If you're new to investing, micro-investment sites are available where you can start investing with as little as Rs. 500.
As a new entrant to the workforce, planning for retirement may seem like a distant thought, but it's never too early to start. Begin by checking with your employer about the Provident Fund deductions from your salary. Ensure that your PF deductions align with your income package. Financial planners suggest that saving 20-30 times your annual income is the right amount for a comfortable retirement, with 30 times being safer, considering inflation. Many young adults choose to invest aggressively in equity for long-term retirement goals, as higher risks usually come with higher rewards.
Adulting can be extremely overwhelming, but there comes a time in every new adult’s life when they realize they need to understand their place in society better and plan for their own future. Tackling one aspect at a time can be extremely helpful, and makes all of this seem doable. If I can do it, believe me, so can you!
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