As the second covid wave makes its way through India, Mint speaks to people across the country on how they are saving, spending and coping financially with the pandemic. A 24-year-old software professional, who resides in Pune with her parents, notes down all her thoughts regarding money, investments and financial decisions over a span of a week. With an annual salary of ₹327,200 and no financial responsibilities, she offers a peek into the thoughts, decisions and financial opinions of a young adult in an India deep in the throes of the pandemic.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
Growing up, my parents gave me a fair idea of the general mechanism of money involved in running the household. It was through observation and routine discussions that the importance of saving was instilled. As a teenager, I was given the responsibility of handling the pension accounts of my grandparents.
While I have always been a keen observer in the discussions over bills and expenses, once I started earning, I felt more included in the finances at home. I have been reading and talking to experts who can help me understand money and investments better. In fact, I am reading a book called Psychology of Money and it has greatly helped me understand the behaviours associated with money.
When did you become financially responsible for yourself?
My parents supported me till I was 18, after which I moved out for my higher studies and supported myself. It was the most empowering phase of my life! However, my first job made me move back home. But with a steady income, I feel increasingly capable of fulfilling my needs.
How do you manage your investments?
I am very conservative when it comes to money and believe in savings over investments. At present, all my income is being put aside for my higher education. However, over the past year, I have realized the importance of investing and not just saving.
How has the pandemic impacted your income and expenses?
While the pandemic did not impact my salary directly, the allowances and perquisites did reduce a bit.
Some of the expenses like petrol charges, evening snacks and office clothing have reduced.
Medicines and healthcare expenses increased. In fact, these expenses peaked when all my family members tested positive for covid. Every day, the medication and expenses would change depending on the health status. Since we are all operating from home, there is an increase in money spent on food supplies, electricity and internet bills.
Do you have health and life insurance?
I have health and life insurance provided by my employer. Apart from that, I am also included in the family policy coverage taken by my parents.
Till about a month back, I wondered if insurance was necessary. It changed after my father got hospitalized for covid treatment.
Have you invested in gold and real estate?
I have not invested in gold or real estate, even though they were among the first assets that I understood as a young adult.
While I recall my late grandmother’s stories on her gold ornaments coming useful during tough times, my present-day choice with regard to gold would be sovereign gold bonds.
As for real estate, I have been interested in buying and leasing commercial property. My partner is quite invested in the idea of unconventional farming practices. So, we might consider something in the distant future.
Do you invest in mutual funds?
I have been acquainting myself with mutual funds and evaluating various platforms that I can invest from. I plan to invest in liquid funds and ELSS funds for liquidity and tax-saving, respectively.
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