How I wrote my 1st book in 500 days – Here is the complete story

Sometime around March of 2010, I was checking my inbox and saw an email from a person from CNBC. The message said that there was an opportunity of me authoring a book on personal finance.

For a moment, I could not believe it.

It was an ecstatic moment for me because I was just 27 yrs old, with 2 yrs of experience in IT industry and 2 yrs of experience running this blog. The world around me was all about python, Perl and servers and here was an email asking me to author a book on money which would be published by CNBC. I was going to be a mini-celebrity and I knew it would be counted as great achievement on my portfolio. This blog was around 2 yrs old at that time.

I replied back that I would surely be interested in this assignment and wanted to know how it works. It was a great coincidence that I had a very rough idea of a book already in place, when I used to fantasize the idea of book writing some day and here was the opportunity knocking my door.

I went to Mumbai, had a quick meet with concerned person and I was all set on the assignment of Book Writing.

Starting of the Book writing journey

The next few days were highly energetic.

I could not believe that I was really writing a book at this age. I had already done more than 300+ articles by that time and had interacted with thousands of investors by that time over comments section of this blog. I had a fair understanding of what kind of book will really help an investor.

I started jotting down all the important points and concepts which I should cover in the book. I thought that writing a book would be easy for me, as I had written so many articles on various concepts already. After all, I just needed to arrange them in a certain manner which looks like a book, change the language of the content to look powerful, add few examples and enough stories to make it interesting and engaging.

I created a Google doc folder and started creating various chapters’ pages. Here is a snapshot of how it looked like finally…

book writing experiance

My initial way of planning and thinking about the book was like this…

I thought, if I wrote 10 pages daily, it would just take 25 days to write 250 pages. If I target the book in 30 days, I would still have 5 days left. I added 1 more month as a buffer period to refine my book and make any changes if required. I thought 2 months would be enough.

The book finally took me 500 days

I know what you are thinking right now. I know I so stupid.

As you must have guessed by now, I had done a very poor job in planning and estimating the time required to write a book. I think it’s not even “poor planning”, it was “pathetic planning”.

I over-estimated my capabilities to the highest level. I finally took 1.5 yrs (500 days) to complete the book and now I will give you insights on why it took so long.

Let me share with you that, I was very clear that I don’t want to do a “good book”. I wanted to write an extra-ordinary book, which is relevant for many years to come and truly helps an investor who is new to the world of personal finance.

I had seen some the other books which were written and they all focused mainly on the “knowledge” part of personal finance. Each of those books had information about various financial products, tax saving avenues etc. I think those kind of books have their own importance and are required. However, I didn’t want to write “just another book” on the shelf, which is giving the same information to investor like others.

What kind of book I wanted to write?

I wanted to do a book, which shakes the investor. A book which shows them the mirror and truly makes them understand some really important principles of personal finance. I wanted to do a book which is ACTION oriented, not just information oriented.

I wanted to write a book which wakes up an investor from their sleep and clears their way of looking at their financial life. A book which acts like a big brother guiding them on how to look at their money matters and builds a guideline for them to follow. And I think, I succeeded in what I wanted to do, the proof is 81 reviews on flipkart, with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5

I was like the director of the movie, who had to make sure he casts the right actor, good story, great scenes, and dialogues and at the end, had to connect all these elements and come up with a master piece. Before I move ahead, I would like to check out a review by “Saravanan A” on amazon. It captures the essence of the book beautifully

reader testimonial for book

I started writing the book

When I finally started writing the book, I started building the book skeleton.

I prepared the chapter names and just wrote down what each chapter will talk about. Trust me it sounds very simple, but it took me over a month to just do that part in proper manner. Write one article was easy, but how do I write a book which is 100X times an article? At the same time it had to be interesting, outstanding, full of examples, insightful and had to have a strong flow at the same time. The book was suppose to make sure it hooks the reader till end.

It was not an easy job

I first created the list of chapters, and the number went upto 22 in numbers. There was so much to write in each chapter. I started with first chapter, then 2nd and then 3rd …


I realized, that I have done everything wrong. After I did 50-60 pages, everything I did looked so damn bad to me. I was not happy with it.

I hit the delete button and all 3 chapters were gone. I realized, I needed to relook at my strategy.

I now started defining the chapter names, sub-topics under each page. I wrote down the headings part of each chapter and what all will go into it. It was like mini-index of the whole book.

This way, it became more easy for me, because now I was actually creating a proper flow and was actually giving the shape to the book. Once I had completed that, I just have to expand each point with 200-300 words and my 800-900 point skeleton book would expand to 100X size and would be a 90,000 words book.

This was a top to bottom approach.

Trust me, it looks the obvious way to write the book NOW. But that time, it didn’t click me. I made a lot of mistakes and lost a good amount of time to just figure out, how to give a good start.


Finally, I ended up with 8 chapters. Some chapters were long, some were very short.

The First Chapter – My best work !

The first chapter I wanted to do was on the topic of early investing.

I was first wondering does this topic deserve a full chapter? After all how long can I write on the point of early investing?

In one line, if you summarize it, it looks like “If you invest early, you can start small , but if you are late, you will have to put more money later to build the same amount of wealth”.

But then were are so many dimensions to this single topic and I was so fascinated with it that I wanted a detailed chapter on this single topic, which is outstanding and goes beyond the simple conversation.

I wanted to give examples, real life analogies and enough data as the backup to prove my point. I found out that though the starting the chapter was very tough, it was not that tough later. Once I was in the flow, I started enjoying the book. I could visualize how a reader will feeling while reading it. What kind of questions they will have and what kind of examples will help them to understand the concept in a better way.

Working in Excel

I did a lot of work on excel, created charts, came up with examples and did a lot of number crunching.

I came up with lots of interesting conversations which would make investors understand the point. I wrote 40+ pages for the first chapter. I read the whole chapter once I completed and I found I can do better, then I went through the chapter, edited it back, and pruned the content, added some more ..

I created the rough sketch of examples and images and the designers at CNBC did an excellent job at recreating nice illustrative pictures which conveyed the same in the book. The eye-catching graphics which they created, increased the richness of the book. Here is a snapshot of what I created and what you see in the book.

How editing happens

I was happy on my achievement

Finally, I was satisfied and happy with my 1st chapter and I was proud of it. I could see the power and impact of the first chapter book on an investors mind.

My goal was simple – “If someone reads my first chapter, he will not delay his investments after that”.

It was as simple as that. Some book readers told me, that they started their SIP just after completing the first chapter, they didn’t even wait for completing the book.

I had done the first chapter in 15 days time and it was the biggest chapter of the book. I recalculated the time I would take to complete the book told CNBC, that I will not be able to complete the book before 6 months. They were happy listening to that 😉 (maybe they knew the reality)

Once I completed the first chapter, I thought of taking the break before I start my 2nd chapter. The short break lasted for 2 months. After working so extensively on the 1st chapter, I was a bit exhausted and was flying high with confidence and every time I thought of returning to the book writing, something or the other came up and made sure I could not concentrate on the book.

My 6 months deadline was about to complete and I was done with just 2-3 chapters only. It was just 40% of the book. For the first time, I was understanding how tough it was to keep your deadlines promises. Whenever someone defined the deadlines for the projects in our projects meetings, I had a dangerous smile on my face.

Finally, I completed the book

Now, let’s cut things short and come to the main point. I finally wrote other chapters on risk and return, insurance, simplicity requirement in next few months.

I also added a chapter called, “Relationship with Money” which touched the point of how our emotions are connected with money and how we see money in our life. It was a very different kind of concept which was introduced by Nandish Desai, my business partner.

So I requested him to write that full chapter because I knew that I will not be able to justify that chapter because of my limited understanding of that subject and I think he did a brilliant job in that. It added a whole new dimension in the overall book and it was aligned with the book mission.

It helped investors to connect with their emotional side of money. Thanks to Nandish to author that chapter (we will soon come up with his 1st book story)

Editing of the Book

Finally, I managed to complete the book in a year. By the time, I completed the 80% part of the book. The editing had started.

I was sending each chapter to CNBC which was now edited by a professional. They checked the whole book for the English language and the sentence duplication. If 3 lines conveyed the same thing, It was merged into one and the sentence was pruned. When the edited version of the chapters came back to me, I was horrified to see how pathetic my English was (I knew it was bad, but SO BAD ?)

The Book Editing

With heavy heart when I asked the editor is that was normal? They said – “YES – It was totally normal and it happens with every writer”. I was a happy writer again 🙂

The Polishing of the book content

I saw, how the editor had polished the book language and made it look more professional. They had also suggested some changes (very minor) and I incorporated them. To my surprise, this whole thing again took few months and finally I got one final version of the book to check for one last time before the first print happens.

I started reading the edited version of the book. This was the first time when I was reading my complete book as a reader. That cute little thing as attachment, on my email was one of the most beautiful thing I had seen. I felt like I was a mother who just delivered a baby after 9 months of labor (1.5 yrs in my case).

I started the first sentence, then first page, first chapter … and finally the whole book.

Happy and Proud Moment

I was extremely happy and proud. I could see that the book was able to make an impact. I had taken a lot of time to do the book, but I had not compromised with the content quality. I didn’t write it with rush.

We originally gave the name of the book as “Jagoinvestor”, because the book focus was to wake up an investor and that name looked appropriate, however after an year, we changed the name to “16 personal finance principles every investor should know”, because it was a more clear name and conveyed what the book was all about.

16 personal finance principles every investor should know Financial Planning Book in India - Personal Finance Book in India

Buy the book – NOW
Today when I look back, I am happy that I was successful in writing the book I visualized. As a first time writer, I did a very good job.

The book has been so powerful, that a lot of investors who read my first book suddenly start acting on their financial lives and some even contact us to do their financial planning. Our best clients came to us by reading our books. A lot of investors who are DIY investors, even they get a lot of value from the book.

What I learned by writing the 1st book (and you should know that)?

A book is a creation, which comes into life after a lot of hard work. There are many dimensions which comes together and then a book takes the shape. Writing a book might be easy, but writing a “good book” is not.

When you read any book, if you get one insight or one learning which can impact your life, I think the author has done his job and you have got your value. A book can have some mistakes, some part of the book might not sound great to you, but be thankful for the good part, ignore the average part.

Now when I read a book, I ask myself if I learned any ONE THING from the book or not? If the answer is YES, I consider the book as great. I have stopped criticizing any author (anyways, I never did) because I now know the other side too. I recently read a book called “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely. My god – What a creation ! .. What a book it was .. If only I was 10% of that author, I would have done wonders!.

Share your comment

Let me know what do you think about my journey of writing the book? What did you learn from it? Also share if you have read my first book or not?

Want to buy health insurance with small premium? – Use super topup policies?

Do you want to know how you can take a high health insurance coverage at a cheaper premium, without compromising on the benefits and features? Today I am going to share how you can do that using top-up health insurance policies.

Gone are the day’s when Rs 2-3 lacs of health cover was considered a good cover, its not even average cover these days. With rising health care cost, a health cover below 5 lacs is just not sufficient for most of the people. I am confident on that, because in last 6 months, we have helped more than 1000+ people to take their health insurance and majority of them ended up with a coverage in range of 5-20 lacs.

I know, a lot of investors understand the importance of high health insurance cover, but they are unable to afford a high premium. So what is the alternative?

Use Super Topup Policies to increase your health cover at lower premiums

The solution is Super topup policies.

You can use Super Top-up health insurance policies to upgrade your health cover by paying a lower premium. Super Topup plans are the health insurance plans which pays only when a certain threshold is crossed.

For example, consider a super top-up plan for Rs 20 lacs with deductible of Rs 5 lacs.

In this case, the policy will pay only when the initial Rs 5 lacs is paid off and they will pay the additional amount above Rs 5 lacs. So if the claim amount is Rs 12 lacs. The policy will only pay Rs 7 lacs (over and above 5 lacs deductible. If you are new to this concept, we have already explained the topic of super top up in detail here, please read it first.

So how can you use super top up to take a higher cover?

Instead of taking a full cover of X+Y amount, you can take a base cover for Rs X and take a Super topup plan for Y amount with X as deductible. This way you will be covered upto X amount by the base policy and for any claim above Rs X, the super top-up policy will get triggered and come to your rescue.

The main benefit here is that the Super Top-up policies come very cheap and overall your premium will be small.

Example of 3 member family (2 adults below 35 yrs + 1 kid)

Suppose you want to take a high cover like 20 lacs for your family (3 member family). Here you have two choices

Choice 1 : You can take a stand-alone policy of Rs 20 lacs here. If we take an example of Optima Restore Family Floater, the yearly premium would be Rs 23,527.

Choice 2 : As 2nd choice, suppose you the same take the same Optima Restore Family Floater for Rs 5 lacs, which will cost you Rs 12,513 and on top of it, you take a 20 lacs super topup from L&T Medisure Super Top Up with 5 lacs deductible, for which the premium would be Rs 4,389. So the total premium in this choice will be 16,902.

That’s a saving of 28% in premium.

However, note that both the choices will differ with each other, because from features point of view there are a lot of differences in both the choices.

So for those who already have a 5 lacs cover already and wanting to increase their cover to 15 lacs total, below I have listed down some companies top up cover plans and the extra premiums they will have to pay.

Below is an example of how you can increase your health cover from 5 lacs to 15 lacs (or take 15 lacs cover).

super topup plan example

Do you have a small health cover right now?

So, ask this question to yourself? Do you have a small health cover of 2 lacs, 3 lacs or max 5 lacs and you want to upgrade it to a big number like 15 lacs or 20 lacs?

For the sake of explanation, let me take an example of 5 lacs existing cover and lets see how you can increase it to 15 lacs for a small premium increase. So all you need to do is take a super top-up cover of 15 lacs with 5 lacs deductible. Below are some plans with the premium amount for a single individual of age 35 yrs.

Premium for different Super top up plans in market

Comparison of Super Top-up Plans in Market?

Below I am sharing the comparison of various super top up plans in the market and how they differ from each other on various parameters.

Top up policies comparision

Why Super top up premium is less?

I am sure many investors will have this question in mind that “Why is the premium for a super top up plan so less?“. The answer is that the probability of a super top up getting triggerred is statistically very less and hence the risk for the insurer is not that high.

Think about it this way. If you have a large cover of 15 lacs right now, what  would be the hospital bill on an average? Most of the times, it would be in range of 50,000 to 1 lacs if you get hospitalized for a minor case and few lacs if there is some accident or some major issue.

Only in a very very fatal case or if you are highly unlucky, your bills will run over in the range of 10-15 lacs and thats going to happen once or twice in your lifetime. So the chances for a company paying for a claim above a certain threshold is very less. That’s the reason the premium for a top up plan is less. Higher the deductible, lower the premium.

Is it advisable to buy the base plan and super top-up from the same company ?

The answer is YES. If your base plan and the super top up plans are from the same company, it would surely help because you have to deal with the same company for both the claims. The documentation process is more simple and the communication is smooth. The company will not find any issues because it has all the records with them.

However note that even if you have it from different companies, it’s ok. You ultimately have to look at the features and what combination works best for you and if the total premium is affordable to you or not.

What are Convertible Top-up plans ?

Lately, a new kind of top up called as convertible topup plans are coming up in market.

“Some companies offer Super Topup plans with an additional feature that allows the plan to be converted into a base plan. This is done by buying out the Deductible in the plan.

For instance, if you have your company health insurance for Rs. 3 Lakhs you could buy a Topup of Rs. 15 Lakhs with a deductible of Rs. 3 Lakhs. In case you leave this employer, and/or are without cover, you can apply for buying out the deductible at the time of renewal by paying additional premium. There are certain conditions/triggers based on which this feature gets activated into the plan.

This is an excellent feature for people who feel that they would be working with employers who will provide health insurance cover all their working life, without any break.

For instance,

In case of Religare Enhance – The convertible feature gets activated after 4 continuous renewals. The plan has a waiting period of 1 year for Pre-existing diseases

In case of Apollo Optima Super – The option is available for customers who have bought the policy before crossing the age of 50 years. The option can be opted between the age of 55 and 60 years at the time of renewal by paying additional premium, if the policy has been renewed continuously without break. “

Who all should buy a super top up plan ?

  • Those who are having a small cover by themselves or a group cover through their employer and want to increase their cover (ideally you should have a base policy for a minimum amount)
  • Those who are right now having a small cover and want to upgrade it
  • Those who can take care of small medical bills themselves (like up to 2-3 lacs) and only want help in case of bills beyond that number by paying a small premium

Other Important Points related to Super top-up plan

  1. A super top up policy can be taken stand alone – A super top up policy can be taken without a base policy. There is no compulsion that you should hold a base policy.
  2. Premiums will rise as per age slab – You should be aware that just like a normal health insurance plan, a super top up plan premium will also rise as per age slab in coming years, so even if the premiums look very small right now, it’s bound to increase later
  3. No Claim Benefit not present – Generally super top up plans do not offer No Claim Bonus (NCB) . This is the primary difference between taking a base cover of a high amount and combining a small cover with top up cover, because then you loose on the benefits of a No Claim Bonus over the years.
  4. Not always a great option – Just because the premium is less, it does not mean that combining a small base cover with a super top up is always the best plan. Depending on situation, you need to find out if its a good option in your case or not. It might happen that you might loose out on some benefit and feature on the top up plans

I hope this article helped you to understand how you can increase your health cover at a small premium. Please ask your questions if any below in comments section

Interview with Real estate expert – Mr. Purav Goswami (Gujarat Special)

Recently we met someone with deep understanding of real estate business and strategies to make money from real estate and we thought why not ask him few questions and share with our readers. We are fortunate that he agreed to share this thoughts and share talk one to one with few selected people who are passionate for real estate and want to make from it by finding the opportunities.

Meet Mr. Purav Goswami from Gujarat.

About Mr. Purav Goswami

Mr. Purav Goswami has been into real estate business from last 10 years. He is an active member of renowned Ugati Buildcon Association. He has over 300+ HNI clients from all over the world. He also owns design and architecture studio which provides end to end solution to his clients.

His articles have featured in various newspapers and magazines. He is passionate about real estate sector and is now planning to design some workshop and online program for investors.

real estate opportunities in india

Q 1: Can you please share about your journey so far in real estate market? How did you get started and how do you help others in making money in real estate?

Answer – Well, I have been into real estate business from a long time now. I started my journey working with pharmaceutical company and then slowly moved to real estate sector.  I learnt about real estate and it’s dynamics in a very hard way, in the initial years I also lost a lot of money but it has been a good learning experience so far.

I would like to help others so that they don’t make similar mistakes which I made. I think making money real estate is simple.

I am not saying it is easy. You need to do your homework well, select right kind of property and should know when to enter and when to exit. We help investors in building their real estate portfolio; we guide them and actually be with them in making real estate decisions. According to me buying real estate is not about having or not having money, it is about making a BOLD decision.

Q 2: You have primarily kept your focus on Gujarat, can you please share why Gujarat and what kind of opportunities are available for investors?

Answer: Well I am born and brought-up in Gujarat and I have witnessed growth of this region. This region in my view is magical and has tremendous potential for investors. Gujarat according to me is land of entrepreneurs and so it is always loaded with many real estate opportunities.

Because of work and job opportunities, people from different states are moving to Gujarat and demand for real estate is increasing day by day. This is the right time to invest in Gujarat, don’t miss this bus of growth.

Q 3: How do you select properties or developers for your clients?

Answer: Out of our years experience we now have our own internal parameters through which we judge and evaluate different properties and developers. We have an in-house team of people who continuously study and examine different locations. We also have our own grading and ranking system that we follow.

It is not easy for a normal investor to select real estate projects and developer but we make this task easy for them.

Q 4: What is exactly real estate portfolio Management, what is the process you follow to help your clients?

Answer: It is a service that basically helps investors in managing their real estate investment. A normal investor after making real estate investment gets busy in some or the other activities in life and they stop managing their real estate investments.

Real estate is a money making asset class but it calls for lot of attention and active management. As I said earlier also, it is simple to make money in real estate but not easy. So, actively managing real estate investments is what real estate portfolio is all about.

Q 5: What are some of the marketing gimmicks investors should be aware about?

Answer: It is said, “All marketers are liars and to a great extend I also believe the same”.  Marketing gimmicks are there in all kinds of businesses and it also prevails in real estate business. Artificial scarcity is one gimmick which creates sense of urgency inside an investor’s world. Investors should not rush in buying real estate because they may end-up making mistakes.

Q 6: What kinds of risks are involved in real estate investment?

Answer: Be clear risk and return will always go hand in hand. Real estate investment is high on return and also it is high on risk. You have to buy right, sit tight and also maintain your property from time to time. A lot of people do not maintain their real estate investments properly and so they pay a very high price for their negligence.

Also, like stock market real estate market also has its own cycle, it is a game of demand and supply and government policies also plays a very important role. If you buy right property it fetches you good returns on long run.

Q 7: Can you help our readers to invest in real estate or can be their real estate guru?

Answer: Yes why not, I and my team are passionate about helping people in the realm of real estate. Your readers can send me questions; if they want I can also get on call with him to help them further. I am also ready to share some material and projects which you can share with your readers by email or you can share about them in your one day workshop.

Q 8: Don’t you think high EMI’s are putting a lot of pressure on young investors?

Answer: Yes, I agree EMI are putting lot of pressure on investors. This happens due to lack of planning, many people jump in real estate without doing homework, and they choose to invest where their friends or relatives are investing and so they end up in a tricky position. Some people are not ready for real estate and still they enter the game, it’s like jumping from a 10 storey building without packing their parachute.

Q 9: When it comes to ROI, how do you compare real estate with other investments?

Answer: Real estate according to me is strong growth asset. It has the power to beat inflation and it has its own dynamics attached to it. It would be unfair to compare real estate with gold or other investment tools.  One real estate investment can be a game changer for an entire family and so I love to help people in making real estate investments.

A normal person is able to make 2-3 real estate investments in his entire life time and so it is extremely important with what kind of property he is investing in.

Q 10: Our readers are based in different cities, in fact different parts of world; can you still help them in making real estate investment in Gujarat?

Answer: Yes, if your readers want to invest in Gujarat I am ready to assist them. We already have clients in different parts of India and abroad. Also, I am ready to share different kind of real estate opportunities that we have short listed.

Thanks Mr. Purav Goswami for your valuable insights and for sharing your knowledge and real estate expertise with us. We will forward questions from our readers. There are many things to learn from you and from time to time we will continue to touch base with you.  Thank you so much once again.

If you have any real estate related questions you can either fill up the form below or you can leave your questions in comments section.

The secret of taking better financial decisions in your life – 4 point decision making framework

Do you know, which is the one thing – which is responsible for making financial lives complex these days?

The answer is – LACK OF CLARITY!

Most of the investors take wrong decisions in their financial lives and regret later about it. However, I want to assure you that by the time you complete reading this article, you will learn how to take better financial decisions and lead a simpler financial life.

Each financial decision you take has some pros and cos and some advantage or disadvantage. Some decisions will put pressure on your cash flow and some will make you rich in eyes of society, while some will create assets for you and some will destroy your net worth.

And finally, decisions will give you peace of mind and some make your life hell.

Some examples of decisions which investors have to make !

  • Should I prepay the home loan or invest it?
  • Should I buy that plot or not?
  • Should I take 2nd property or put the money in mutual funds?
  • Should I buy the higher end model of the car or the lower one?
  • Should I change my job for higher salary or be in my comfort zone?
  • Should I give 1 lac to my friend as loan or make some excuse?
  • Should I buy the 2 bhk or 3 bhk?
  • Should I keep so much money in FD or invest in the 2nd house?
  • Should I save for my kids education right now or leave it to fate?
  • Is it fine to spend money on outings so much?
  • Did I make a mistake by spending so much on myself? Am I selfish?

I must acknowledge that its always going to be tough, to take a decision. But can we do something which can simplify the process of decision making and give us a framework using which we can quickly decide and take things to next level.

4 point Decision Making Framework

Let me introduce you to the concept of “decision-making framework”, which I recently invented and to test its effectiveness, I ran a survey which was taken by around 132+ people online. I will share the results with you below shortly.

Below are the 4 points which I have included in the decision-making framework.

decision making framework

What is decision-making framework?

Like you saw above, a decision-making framework is nothing but few choices which you make before hand. So whenever you need to take some major financial decision involving money, you can check if it’s aligned with your overall decision-making framework and vision for yourself. You can check if the decision will take you closer to your goals in life or take you farther!

So now, let’s dive deeper into each point and you decide for yourself which side you fall into.

1. Debt Free or With Debt – What is your priority ?

The first point in your decision-making framework is if you want to lead a debt free life or if you are comfortable with debt and side by side you are creating your wealth.

This question is very important to answer because debt trap has destroyed many lives and made some really amazing people slaves in today’s world. So a person wanting to be debt free asap, keeps getting into debt because each opportunity looks so promising that they are attracted towards it and even though it does match with his vision in life, they still fall in.

Its happens because of instant gratification problem !

The first home loan is allowed!

Note that I am not taking about the first home loan you take in your life. No matter how much logic I put in, I think in today’s times, there is a very high chance that most of the people will end up with a home loan at least even if they want to be debt free. So for the sake of this 1st point in the framework, we will allow one home loan and nothing more than that.

So if you look at the other side, a lot of people after they have taken the first home loan, keep taking additional loans for 2nd house, 2nd car, plot loan, loan against property or topup loan and keep giving away their salary in EMI and keep making assets on the side.

While this is not an issue as such, but the problem happens when you realise that you wanted to debt free long back, but have spent all your life living in the pressure of EMI’s and never felt that independence of not having debt on your head.

Let’s see what most of the people choose out of the two choices.

As per the survey, it was a big tie between the two choices and almost 50% people said that they want to take the route of debt free life asap, but the other half were fine with the debt in their life while they create the wealth on the side. I am sure these are the investors who have a strong predictable income structures and safe job which gives them the confidence to say that. Below are the results

Is debt free always a good option ?

Real life example when it becomes tough to choose

Imagine you have taken a home loan which is 50% complete. You are regularly taking all the efforts to prepay your loan and because of your extreme focus, the loan will soon complete (in few years). You also have few lacs in your bank account accumulated from last few years which you wanted to keep as surplus funds and are now planning to repay the home loan further and that will almost make you debt free.


Now suddenly you come across an amazing flat/plot which sounds like an amazing opportunity and you start visualizing how this can be an amazing addition to your portfolio. How after few years you will make 100% profit on it. You visit the site, the sales guy tells you about the amenities, location, the future prospects of the property and now you don’t want to miss the offer.

Your spouse is already happy and proud of you making further real estate investment.

You were closer to get debt free, but you again get into that debt trap, because this offer comes and now you are on the way to take another loan to fund the purchase of a new property. On one side, you are so happy, but on the back of your mind, you are worried if something happens to your job, will you be able to handle the EMI for another so many years? You are worried if the new property didn’t turn out to be that great, then what?

You are worried, if it really really makes sense to buy something which you will use after many years? What if it didn’t fetch you good rent? 

Truly speaking, there is no right or wrong decision of the above problem, but your decision has to align with what you wanted in your life and hence you should before hand if leading a debt free life is bigger priority or not.

2. Simple or Luxurious – What will be theme of your lifestyle?

The next thing which I feel should be part of your decision-making framework is a clear choice between what kind of lifestyle do you want to lead? Will it be simple, plain, minimilistic or a lavish and luxurious one?

I know some people will say, they want a balanced life which has a mix of simplicity and luxury both? I get that !. But there is always one of these dominating one, which will be the major part, we are talking about that here. Its totally ok to choose to live a simple life, which occasionally has luxury in it or vice versa. But the theme has to be clearly defined for you and your family.

When I asked this same question in our survey, around 66% people said that their life theme has to be simple and minimalistic and 34% said they wanted it to be lavish and luxurious.

simple or lavish financial life

Let’s not judge people on this parameter. I am sure a lot of people who want to choose luxury theme deserve it and are working hard for it. It’s a choice of leading a life, after all it’s one life and when will you not live like a king if not right now at this moment.

On the other hand, there are people who are very uncomfortable with lavishness and want their life to be simple and plain. These people also spend a lot of money on few things they love and they become spendthrift at various points of their life. I am on of them.

Both the themes discussed above are RIGHT, and we never know why people choose the theme they are choosing. It all depends on how they have lived their lives till date, what is their outlook towards life, their past experience with money, the struggles they have seen in their life and what kind of people they associate with. There are too many dimensions to it

Why choosing your theme is important?

So that when a big purchase comes, you can see if it fits your theme or not?

  • So that you can choose which car to buy?
  • So that you can choose how much furnishing to do at your newly bought home?
  • So that you can decide if you want to buy a premium villa or a normal 2 bhk house.
  • So that you can decide where you want to give the kids birthday party.

I am associated with both type of people in my life. One of my friends bought 70 lacs home and did a 25 lacs of interior (his house is awesome), while the other friend bought a 35 lacs home and bought minimal furniture and setup, but he has bought a high-end camera which is very very expensive.

Its not about show-off

A lot of people might feel that those who want to lead a life of luxury want to impress others and show off, but let me make it clear that it’s not like that. It is how those people want to spend their life on this planet which is anyways limited and its very natural. Just because you are not like that, does not make the other person wrong.

So, if you have made the choice of lavish living as your theme, then “to hell” with those friends who keep saying why you should save for future. Spend yourself like a king, earn more and spend more on yourself, buy awesome clothes, go on exotic tours, travel like there is no tomorrow. But be clear that you wanted it 🙂 and the best part is that you will not be guilty about it. After all, you have chosen your life to be that way.

3. Blocked Assets vs Liquid Networth – What excites you?

For those who think a lot of money will solve their struggles, you will be amazed to hear that there are many investors with net worth of 2-3 crores depend on a personal loan if they suddenly need 8 lacs of money and if they suddenly loose their job, they will panic like anyone else, because they are not sure from where the next month EMI is coming up.

Why is it so when their networth is 2-3 crores? 

Because, its all blocked and locked in assets which is highly illiquid. If they want to take out the money, it will take many months and years to get the best deal. These investors choose to spread their money across various assets (especially real estate like plot and houses) and anytime they have some cash in their FD or mutual funds, they feel it should be diverted to something concrete which they can touch and feel (even gold is one asset class).

So they keep increasing their networth, but are always low on liquidity. The biggest problem which I feel with these investors is that if some great opportunity comes and knocks their doors, they are so low on liquid money that they cant take advantage of the opportunity and have to take help of loans.

The worst part is that a lot of these investors never wanted things to be like that. But because they never slowed down in their financial lives to think of how it should eventually look like, their financial life took the shape on their own based on circumstances.

Some investors like Liquid money !

Liquid money means the money which can be redeemed very soon, but with fair and decent returns. So A lot of money in mutual funds, fixed deposits and limited money in real estate is what I call as “liquid networth”. In our financial planning terms, Me and Nandish think that having 1 crore in liquid networth has to be one of the primary milestone of every investor.

You will find many investors who are having networth of a crore, but all of it will go away if you take out real estate out of the equation.

So the main question comes – “What excites you more?”

Do you want to create high networth comprising of liquid networth (stocks, mutual funds, FD,Cash + 1 real estate for living purpose) OR you want to be high on real estate, various properties, plots, businesses etc and lower on the liquid networth?

Whatever choice you make, it will help you to take further decision in life which you have to decide where should that Rs 5 lac go which you got as bonus!. I was surprised that 73% people in our survey said that they want high liquid networth (not sure if its because real estate is not doing so well from last 1-2 yrs). Below are the results.

Should you block your money in various assets

It would be a good exercise to see if your current networth is aligned to your theme or not ?

4. Yourself vs Others – For whom are you creating wealth for?

This point if the decision-making framework can be a bit uncomfortable for many investors, because now we are going to be a bit selfish in life here. And the tough question for you all is – “For whom are you earning this money?”

  • Mainly Yourself + a bit for others in your life (kids, parents, others in life)
  • OR Mainly Others + a bit for yourself

Our parents created wealth primarily for us – their kids. They earned all their live, but never enjoyed the fruits of their labour. They never gave priority to their desires in life. They never owned a car, so that we can have a bike. They never created their retirement fund, because they were busy funding our post-graduation. They never went for any lavish vacations despite having money because their daughter’s wedding had to be planned years before and the money was to be accumulated.

But this story is taking a new shape in last many years. 

I am constantly seeing the shift in mindset. From last 10-15 yrs, the mindset has shifted on “them” to “Me”. from “their needs” to “my wants”. The aspirations have gone 10X  high and we want to consume, spend, enjoy, live life in a very different way compared to our past generations.

We have seen many of our clients focusing more on their “Retirement goal” rather their “kids education” or “kids marriage” and to some level I think they are going right.

Kids Education and Retirement

In old days “Kids Education” means “Retirement goal”

You will find various parents today who have hit retirement, have nothing great in networth to talk about and don’t have a penny to feed themselves and there is no help coming from their kids as well for whom they spend all their wealth till date. A lot of parents secretly wonder, if they did the right thing to over think about their kids and others and never thought about their own retirement or aspirations.

But things are changing !

Today, you have to plan both the goals separately and for most of the people its not possible to reach both the goals easily. Kids today have many options like taking education loan (if they are highly smart and crack good institute) or first take a basic job go for higher education few years later using their own money. In fact, many parents are now taking the route of education loan (they help taking it), but finally ask the kids to repay it themselves.

Already a lot of kids are guilty these days that their parents have to spend on their weddings and they want to arrange it all themselves. I know this is a sensitive topic, but this always keeps hiding in every investors mind and no one talks about it.

Spending culture in increasing

These days more and more people are going on exotic vacations abroad and within India, spending more and more money on entertainment, eating out, having great experiences, and spending on possessions. But some people are not able to do that because they are not yet clear if its morally right to do it or not.

Here comes the biggest surprise. Almost half number of people who took the survey chose themselves over others and the other half choose others over themselves.

for whom should I-earn

You have to complete your responsibilities in life

In no way, I mean to say that someone who is choosing themselves as the primary beneficiary of their wealth are running away from their responsibility. You still have to pay your kids school fees, clothes, your parents health expenses. Do all that!, but when you have to choice do a SIP for your retirement and another option is to pay EMI of a second house which you think will help you kids in future, you have to make a clear choice on who will get a bigger pie.

Will this decision-making framework help you ?

Truly speaking, YES and NO both are the answers. This whole exercise is nothing but bringing out your subconscious mindset on paper and make it clear to yourself on what you want your future to be like and how you would like to lead your financial life. You will not get robotic about your decisions, and obviously deviate from these points which you decide by yourself, but at least this will give you a structure to think and act.

At least 69% people who took the survey said that just by answering these 4 questions and choosing their answers helped them realise what really they wanted in life and how they should take their future decisions.

financial framework

I also now realize, that why we should not think why others don’t act like us and why some are materialistic and others don’t, why some people spend too much on their comfort and some live frugally. Why some people buy too much of real estate and others don’t. Why some people are in rush to close their loans while you might be thinking that they are not taking right decisions.

SO what works for you might not be others priority and does not fit others life. Its important to understand this point and brings maturity in your thinking.

So what is my personal answers for my decision-making framework ?

I thought I will share with you all about my personal answers for these questions above and how I think about my own financial life. Below they are

my personal framework

Understand that the above points are my personal points based on my life experiences and my mindset, you should think that they are better than yours or anyone else. Because of my clarity on above 4 points, I will decide in following manner.

I would like to hear what do you think about this idea and does it make sense to you. Do you feel something like this simplifies the decision making or not? Also please share your personal decision-making framework. What are your answers on these 4 points?