Category Archives: Blog

Decoding The Form 26 AS

What is Form 26AS?

Form 26AS is a consolidated annual tax statement issued under Section 203AA of Income Tax Act and Rule 31AB of Income Tax rules to all PAN number holders.

This includes following details to tax payer based on various statements or returns filed by other persons or by assessee himself:-

  1. Details of Tax deducted and tax collected by other persons for such PAN. Therefore, Form 26AS provides a proof that tax has been deducted and collected on your behalf.
  2. Confirms that TDS has been deducted by different entities and deposited by the deducted into the account of government
  3. Details of Income tax deposited for corresponding PAN.

How to get Form26A

Form 26AS can be downloaded from TRACES website. To download Form 26AS, log in to your income tax filing account on the Income Tax department’s e-filing website https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in, either directly or through the Net banking facility of authorized banks.

Once you log in, click on ‘View Form 26AS (Tax Credit)’ tab, either under ‘My Account’ or ‘Quick links’ tabs. You will be redirected to the TDS-CPC website to view this form. You will be redirected to the TDS-CPC website to view this form. You need to choose the relevant assessment year (i.e. year following the financial year) for which you want to download the statement. You can view HTML format and then click export as PDF to save as PDF file.

Verify your tax details in Form26AS

This initiative by the Income tax department of introduction of Form 26AS has obviated the need to submit the TDS certificates (Form 16 / 16A) by the tax payer along with the tax return.

However, the taxpayer is required to verify the details in the Form 26AS and highlight any discrepancy in the details (over / underreporting of income or taxes) to the tax deductor immediately to make necessary rectifications. This is to avoid any inquiry by the Income tax department on tax mismatch resulting in a tax demand due to non-availability of appropriate tax credit at a later date.

Therefore, it is important for every tax payer to ensure that the taxes claimed in the tax return are in line with the taxes as appearing in the Form 26AS.

Changes in New Form 26AS

Government is taking all the measures to collect information from counter parties, so that undisclosed incomes can be reduced to minimum. With this objective present form of 26AS has been replaced with “Annual Information Statement” which contains more auto-populated details about corresponding PAN.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified a new Form 26AS vide Notification No.30/2020 dated 28th May, 2020 through which Rule 31AB has been omitted and a new rule Rule 114-I has been inserted. Changes have become effective from 1 June 2020 replacing the earlier Form 26AS.

Form 26AS provides information for a particular financial year. The new Form 26AS seeks to provide following additional data:-

  1. Additional Basic details about PAN Holder
  2. Details of specified financial transactions
  3. Tax demands and tax refunds
  4. Pending and completed income tax proceedings

Additional Basic Details about PAN holder in form 26AS

Presently, Form 26AS was disclosing Name, PAN and address of PAN Holder. However, revised Form 26AS will contain information following additional information also:

Aadhar Number
Date of Birth
Mobile Number
Email Id

Details of specified financial transactions in form 26AS

With an objective to reduce undisclosed income, Income tax act has created onus on various parties such as Banks, Stock brokers etc. to report specific financial transactions to IT department.

Specified Financial transactions includes:

Nature of Transaction

Reporting person

Aggregate cash deposit for Rs 10 lakhs or more in saving bank account

Bank or Co-operative Bank

Cash deposit or withdrawal amounting Rs. 50 Lakhs or more in one or more current account of a person in a year

Bank or Co-operative Bank

Cash received for amount exceeding Rs. 2 Lakhs for the sale of goods or rendering of services.

Any person who is liable for tax audit under Section 44AB

Expenditure in foreign currency via debit card, credit card or traveller’s cheque for the amount Rs.10 Lakh or above in a year.

Authorised Dealer, Money Changer, Offshore Banking Unit, Any other person authorised to deal in foreign exchange or foreign securities

Payment by credit card amounting Rs.10 Lakhs or above in a year

Credit Card Issuing Authority

Credit card bill paid in cash for Rs 1 lakhs or more.

Credit Card Issuing Authority

Purchase or sale of immovable property having value of Rs. 30 Lakhs or above.

Inspector-General or Registrar or Sub-Registrar under the Registration Act, 1908

Mutual Fund Investment in a year of Rs 10 lakh or more.

A trustee of a Mutual Fund or such other authorized person managing the affairs of Mutual Fund

Purchase of bonds or debentures for Rs 10 lakh or more in a year.

A company or institution issuing bonds or debentures

Purchase of shares of company for Rs 10 lakh or more.

A company issuing shares

There are various other transactions for which reporting is required. Therefore, any person having such transactions need to make proper disclosure in IT Return.

Information about Income Tax Demand and Refund in New form 26AS

Presently, information related to Income tax demand and refund are available after login into the Income tax portal under specific tab. However, now Form 26AS also contains details of Income tax demand and refund.

Earlier, information related to Income tax refund paid was available. Now, it is yet to check whether it shows details of refund due or not.

Information related to Income Tax proceedings in New form 26AS

Information related to Income tax proceedings was available post login at Income Tax portal under specific tab. However, in new Form 26AS such information has been incorporated in Form 26AS itself.

Therefore, details of pending proceedings against PAN holder will auto-populate in Form 26AS.

Benefit of Form 26AS while filing Income tax return

A taxpayer should ensure that the income tax return or ITR is in sync with Form 26AS. In case of any discrepancy, the income tax department may issue a tax notice to seek explanation for such discrepancies in the figures of income or TDS appearing in Form 26AS and income tax return.

The earlier Form 26AS only provided information regarding tax deducted at source and tax collected at source relating to a PAN. However, now it provides some additional information also such as details to specified financial transactions.

5 Most Important Lessons for Car Loan Borrowers

When I was buying my first car, I left no stone unturned to find the right car fitting my budget, right dealer, and lender.

Being into this domain, I knew exactly what I wanted. And I thought that my job was done when loan was sanctioned, and I got the delivery.

After paying the Car loan EMI for 5 years when it was a roller coaster 5 years on work front, I was joyful and happiest after paying my last instalment. Felt like huge burden got lifted from my shoulders.

For next 5 years I slept on the closure believing my job was done, loan was repaid. But what I did not realise till the time came, for me to send my 10-year-old car to my sister who lives in another state, that there was an unfinished task for me as the borrower.

That is when I learnt the lessons about the Closure of Car Loans. Here are the 5 Most Important Lessons for Car Loan Borrowers that we need to do to claim complete ownership of our vehicle.

1. Get your loan account statement

Since I was sleeping on it for 5 years, all hell broke loose, when I realized the lender was bought over by another company and the struggle started to get the contact details for the new company. The car loan account statement records your entire loan transactions, right from the beginning till the closure of the loan and is therefore an important document that needs to be obtained once the loan repayment is completed.

2. Obtain the No Objection Certificate

Second document that needs to be obtained from your lender is the No Due Certificate (NDC) or No Objection Certificate (NOC). NOC certifies that you have repaid the loan fully and no dues are outstanding against the associated loan account.

3. Get your car insurance policy updated

When you avail a car loan, your vehicle gets hypothecated to the lender, i.e. the lender possesses the right to seize your car in case you default on your loan. And this hypothecation information is recorded by your car insurance company as well. It is important for you to get this information updated in your insurance policy. Upon receiving the NOC, first submit it to your insurance company, who will then issue revised insurance papers with updated insurance policy, with your name as the owner, instead of the lender.

4. Get the hypothecation removed

Even if you have completed your car loan repayment, you may not be able to engage in any third-party transaction, such as selling the vehicle, until the hypothecation is removed. Hence, make sure you submit the application for hypothecation removal from the RC at your respective RTO, as the NOC received from the lender is usually valid for up to three months from the date of its issue. You must obtain form 35 from the RTO, as it states removal of hypothecation between you and the lender.

You need to submit the NOC, along with the updated insurance policy and other relevant documents such as address proof, to the RTO for verification of documents, post which the RTO will begin the procedure to update the RC. Until you receive your revised RC with your name as owner and a stamp indicating that hypothecation and endorsement have been removed, the RTO would give an acknowledgment receipt, which can meanwhile be used as the RC book.

5. Ensure the loan closure gets updated in credit report

Lenders are usually quite pro-active in informing the concerned credit bureaus whenever you avail any form of credit, whether it’s a credit card or loan. But, on the contrary, they may not be that prompt when it comes to informing about closure of any loan account. Therefore, once your car loan account is closed, do not forget to request them to inform the credit bureaus, so that the same gets updated in your credit report. Follow up with your lender in case the information is not updated in your credit report. And when the set timeframe given by lender has passed, you can consider placing an online request with the concerned credit bureau to update your records.

Ensure that you do take these steps for the closure of your Car Loan and only then be happy and relaxed about paying your last instalment.

Based on my personal experience I will strongly recommend this be done within a reasonable time. After all, a stitch in time, saves nine.

Still getting some questions in your head? Write to me contact@sbsfin.com.

Skill-Sets Wealth Management Experts Need Before Going Independent

When is the “Right” time to launch yourself as an independent wealth management expert – a common question I come across to while interacting with many registered investment advisors (RIA). My upfront answer to the question is “the time is right only when you want it to be right”. Just like preparing for any other professional role, the road may appear difficult initially. Some attributes that an advisor exhibit as a successful advisor at a larger organization may not always translate into the skill sets that are needed to run an independent business. The security of a job, the security of a steady income – all this may appear as a challenge. The move to independence can feel unpredictable and risky. But all I am saying is, it isn’t impossible to traverse these obstacles. All it takes is a fair bit of planning and modified skill-sets. There are some basic steps any advisor can take that can help make the transition go smoother.

Know your basics

Expertise and experience are basics that can ensure that you’re able to operate and grow your new business successfully. You need to be well versed with A-Z of operations know-how – be it account opening, assets transfer, place trades, etc. because you are going to be the all-in-all when you start your own. It also means learning to actually manage client relationships, which encompasses communicating effectively the nature of the advisory relationship, letting clients know what to expect, and setting boundaries.

Building relationships is the key

Now talking about clients, the most important factor when preparing to launch yourself as an independent advisor is to evaluate your relationship with your clients. Always remember, your clients have a relationship with you not with the firm. It’s how you have understood their needs all this while and guided them throughout. Make sure your clients are more than satisfied with your work and that your relationships are strong. Reinforcing these relationships through frequent client contact is the key. The stronger the relationship, the more likely it is that a satisfied client will follow you when you are starting your own. You can always grow your client base but to start off you need to bring existing clients with you.

Be prepared, financially

It’s the case with any start-up – never expect money to immediately roll in. As an independent firm, it could be quite a while before an advisor is able to match their previous income. The revenue is likely to decrease and the start-up cost is likely to increase. Which means it’s possible that you exhaust your savings. So you got to be prepared. Either have enough cash saved up to cover your living expenses for at a year (because that’s the tenure you are likely to take to figure things out) or have another additional income source in place. If either of it seems difficult, you can also look for taking out a bank loan or custodian who may offer financing to advisors through term notes. Either way, saving up at least a year’s income in an emergency fund is a good idea for advisors looking to go independent.

These days, many advisors are making the move toward independence and opening up their own advisory firms. And at some point one should. Reinforcing current client relationships, planning the finance front, and looking for ways to keep costs as low as possible are crucial factors to look into before thinking of going independent. For those ready to take the plunge, it’s totally worth it!

A Page from the diary of a Personal Finance Expert

Life is 1% of how we plan.

Rest 99% life surprises all.

When I decided to take a full-time plunge and start on my own, I thought knowledge in personal finance will be sufficient to float and thrive. Over the years I realized true professional competency requires much more.

Like any other entrepreneur or a business owner, a personal finance expert must don many hats to do their jobs effectively. The first step to take up any profession is sound education. Second is to hone skills and gather maximum domain knowledge. Third is to stay conscious and updated.

When I started my journey in Financial services post my MBA, there were no special courses focusing on personal finance. I entered this space because of my interest. 18 years down the line there are plethora of courses available. So, freshers who are entering are better equipped and have us to learn from in terms of setting up practice.

With some newfound wisdom, reading glasses, salt and pepper hair which I guess comes naturally when you enter the fourth decade of your life, I can confidently say no education prepares you for real life. Real education and learnings start when you are on the job, when you are exposed real time and practice. You keep evolving as you move in the professional journey and at no point in life you can say that you know it all and you have perfected your domain expertise.

Let me walk you through, a typical day at work.

It starts with the opening bell of the stock exchange and often runs into evening hours. The operating hours may be more for freshers or entrepreneurs like me. My typical daily schedule includes the following:

  • Newsbytes-Catching up with news on Twitter/IN shorts/WhatsApp/Telegram. I am not a big fan of Newspapers and Television. I catch up with my reading on Magzter and Kindle during the day
  • Glancing through my Calendar-Making mental notes of Important/Priority/Not-So important tasks
  • Syncing feeds to Portfolio Software, this helps in clients seeing real time data on the Mobile App. This is done every day for 365 days. If I do not do, I start getting barrage of WhatsApp messages. After all we make investments for long term but all of us like to look at our investment portfolio on daily basis 😉
  • If it is Monday, then the focus is entirely on clients and operational issues. Having said that it does not mean that I do not tend to client queries on any other day. But I follow strict TAT which is shared with clients at the start of onboarding process.

Tuesdays are reserved for chatting up with Domain partners (Relationship Manager from Funds, Insurance Adviser, Chartered Accountant, Brand & Digital, and Software partners). This is my time of gathering market intelligence.

Liaising with so many different stakeholders has not been easy for a social recluse like me. Over the years I have stepped out of my comfort zone and learnt the ropes of talking to my vendors and partners, be in their good books as my ability to keep up TAT and promises to clients depend a lot on their promptness and servicing. This is especially important in smooth running of my practice.

WTF are reserved for zoom review calls with clients with the first call starting at 10:30am and last one ending at 6pm

Saturdays are reserved for learning programs, writing blog posts and making social posts for Client WhatsApp broadcast. I also spend time on pursuing my crafty hobbies like doodling, connecting with family and friends

  • Servicing clients-As the book of business gets built over a period, our focus gradually begins to shift from acquiring new business to servicing current clients and customers. So post syncing feeds my actual day work starts with reviewing client portfolios, answering client queries, addressing outstanding issues before spending time on prospecting and research
  • Prospecting – No matter in what phase of business growth you are in. To keep the sales funnel full this is one part of the job which no adviser can neglect. For a fresher this activity may take majority of the time during a working day. For established solopreneurs referrals may be enough. Strong digital presence also helps in getting new clients.
  • Administrative chores – Although this often can fall under the category of servicing clients, I spend significant segment of my working day dealing with bureaucratic tasks such as updating MIS report, updating client records, scheduling Birthday messages, recordkeeping. This is usually scheduled on weekly basis on any of the two days.
  • Continuing education – This inescapable element of vast field like personal finance can go considerably beyond the mere satisfaction of industry or credential educational requirements to include investment and product research. Many securities and insurance vehicles require specific training before the vendor will approve the advisor to sell them. I make it a point to learn at least one new thing in a week and attend virtual/physical seminars/learning events. Time consuming and requires considerable monetary resources.
  • Three calls a day to clients keep the Doctor away-Before I end my day, I call up at least 3 clients for a general chat and exchange of wellbeing.

As I mentioned earlier no education prepares us for this, lot of learning comes on the job by hit and misses, learning from peers and industry seniors. The Bottom Line is,

My job as a Personal finance expert encompass a great deal. Much more than managing investment portfolios or closing sales. Prospecting, marketing, customer service, compliance, administration, and education is a part of my daily routine, and the success of my business depends on my ability to effectively integrate these things into my schedule which is always work in progress.

Need and Benefits of Emergency Fund

Covid19 came as an alarm. The world experienced emergency of almost everything.

Essentials, Financials, Professional and Communication everything became urgent as the world went under a lockdown – unannounced and uncertain. Everyone realized how emergent can be an emergency. Reflecting on the same I realized that we need to underline the very significance of Emergency Funds once again.

“When you’ve emergency fund worth two years of expenses, you’ll be less afraid of lay-off. An emergency fund offers sufficient time to look for another suitable job, career avenues etc. This is the first milestone in the journey of financial independence.”

2020 has been a year marked by uncertainty. Covid seemed to have brought about big life lessons for all of us. After spending weeks in quarantine due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are re-entering a world marked by dramatic change. Salary cuts, lay-offs, fall in revenue have been drastic as we start taking stock of our lives.

Emergencies from lay-off, sudden lockdowns and the worry to survive together with unknown health challenges like virus are now fact of life and here to stay. How can one be future ready for such contingencies?

In uncertain situations and ensuing economic fallout, an emergency fund is your first line of defense. In case you do not have an emergency fund, now is the time to prioritize it and make it No.1 item on the to do-list.

In normal times, keeping between 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses in cash to cover monthly expenses was okay. After all the point is to have enough support in worst case scenarios like Covid19 giving rise to economic fall, lay-offs and unemployment.

For the post Covid19 world, an emergency fund should be between 12-18 months’ of living expenses. More so because the economic implication is still unknown.

What is an emergency fund?

An emergency fund is essentially money that’s been set aside to cover any of life’s unexpected events. This money will allow us to take care of ourselves, incase of contingencies and unexpected events. These unexpected events can be stressful and costly. Think of it as an insurance policy.

Here are some of the top emergencies people face:

  • Job loss / Unemployment
  • Medical Emergency- While many people have health insurance, sometimes it doesn’t cover all of the medical expenses that might crop up if you get unexpectedly sick or need surgery. …
  • Unplanned travel expenses
  • Accident or Uncalled for Event leading to expenses Medical / Car Repairs etc
  • Family emergency

Saving money isn’t always easy. In fact, it is the most difficult task for most of us. But it’s likely to be less painful than the alternatives. The reason I advocate emergency fund is because, In my 18 years of professional journey, I have experienced two job losses, family emergency, unexpected medical emergency as well. First time I was unprepared but subsequently was better prepared as I had emergency fund in place.

Top Benefits of having Emergency Fund

1. It keeps your stress level controlled

It’s no surprise that when life presents an emergency, it threatens your financial well-being and causes stress. If you’re living without a safety net, you’re living on the “financial” edge—hoping to get by without running into a crisis. Being prepared with an emergency fund gives you confidence that you can tackle any of life’s unexpected events without adding money worries to your list.

Two decades ago, my mom had to be rushed to the hospital in the middle of night as her hernia had ruptured and strangulated her intestine. Studying for professional exam, that was my first brush with unexpected life event, and I was alone to manage it. My Dad was travelling, and my sister was in her 8th month of pregnancy.

This was one of the most stressful time for us physically, mentally, and financially as my folks were without insurance cover and emergency net. Mom’s stay in the hospital for 11 days was financially draining for us. This one event changed my thoughts on medical insurance and emergency fund. Now I feel much better and well prepared.

2. It keeps you from spending on a whim.

You must’ve heard the saying “out of sight is out of mind.”

That’s the best way to store your emergency money. If the cash is only as far away as your closest debit card, you may be tempted to use it for something frivolous like a designer cocktail dress or big-screen TV—not exactly an emergency. Luxury is never an emergency.

Keeping the money out of your immediate reach means you can’t spend it on a whim, no matter how much you’d like to. And by putting it in a separate account, you’ll know exactly how much you have—and how much you may still need to save.

3. It keeps you from making bad financial decisions.

There may be other ways you can quickly access cash, like borrowing, but at what cost? Interest, fees, and penalties are just some of the drawbacks.

Emergency fund during unexpected times can help cover emergency expenses without taking a loan.

4. It keeps you from dipping into your long-term investments and jeopardize your long-term goals.

Financial Planning is about sticking to goals. Having an emergency fund saves you from dipping into other goal specific investments. If you are a small business owner, it is always advised to have emergency funds to business as well as home expenses and keep the other goals and investments safe.

Furthermore, the Covi19 crisis and recent portfolio reviews with clients led me to ponder and I could think of lessons learnt during crisis to build and emergency fund.

Covid19 Lessons for building an Emergency Fund

If you are a single earner or your income fluctuates, consider building emergency fund beyond three to six months. Unprecedented situation like Covid 19 probably requires to build emergency fund for at least 12-18 months.

Starting an Emergency Fund begins with setting a budget. Calculate your monthly income and expenses: How much money is coming in and how much is going out? A spreadsheet or a budget app can serve as the foundation for the calculation, enabling you to carefully track your spending. Few weeks in lockdown have taught us that we can live on fewer things.

Some of the essential expenses, are:

  • Household expenses
  • Lifestyle expenses
  • Health care (including insurance) premiums
  • Loan EMI servicing
  • Unavoidable Regular Expense (these are based on individual needs)

Let’s say it adds up to Rs. 50,000 per month. Assuming we want to build emergency fund for 1 year. Your target emergency fund will be Rs.6 lacs. This figure may look impossible to achieve as it looked to me when I started building my emergency Fund. Remember Rome was not built in a day.

Something is better than nothing. You can build up to it by investing smaller amounts on a regular basis, like every month. Have a savings timeline in mind, so you will know exact amount and in how many months you can build your emergency fund. Over time you’ll eventually meet your goal. The important thing is to make a start and be consistent.

Where to park your Emergency Fund?

Your piggy bank may be a good idea, but it’s not the prettiest place for your emergency fund. Few options to consider:

  • Recurring Deposit
  • Overnight/Liquid Funds (Mutual Funds)

Whichever option you choose for your emergency fund, ensure that it doesn’t get intermingled with savings for retirement or other plans, and should be free of any withdrawal penalties or procedures that would delay your receipt of the money or diminish the amount you’ll get back.

The Bottom Line

An emergency fund can be a lifeline when you confront unexpected circumstances, like present Covid 19 allowing you to have a place to live, put food on the table, pay utility bills and keep pace with credit card and loan payments. Establishing an emergency fund can be one of the best gifts you can give your future self. And it can be simple to do, as long as you put together a budget, watch your spending and stick to your savings goal.

Miss to Mrs : What else to do when changing title

Life changes after marriage and for many women along with a change of life also comes a change of name. Miss. T Bhargava, a Mumbai based Lawyer, is engaged and is about to get married in a few months to Mr. B Sharma, a Medical professional. Says Miss. T Bhargava, “First I was wondering if I should replace my surname Bhargava with Mr. B’s surname Sharma after marriage or not. But then I thought I should change it, after all it’s a sign of unity, and also it’s cool.” While this 20-something will go for the traditional and most popular choice, these days many women choose to retain their last name, and some add their husband’s last name to it: heard of Aishwarya Rai Bachhan? This dilemma most women face when getting married or recently married.

To change or not to change the last name is a very personal decision, but if like Miss. T, you do plan to change your name, you will need to get legal and financial documents updated accordingly. Here’s a quick guide to what you should do once you decide to change your name.

 

Change of name and marriage certificate

There are two ways to change your name. One is to apply for name changed in the state government gazette. If your name change is due to marriage, you can also apply for a marriage certificate at the office of the registrar of marriage.

Keep in mind that it usually takes a month or two for the marriage certificate to reach you. Marriage certificate is the proof of registration of the marriage and a document that helps you get your new name updated across other financial and legal documents.

Though the time to get the certificate is almost the same, the process varies for marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act. As per the official portal of the Indian government, www.India.gov.in, “The Hindu Marriage Act provides for registration of an already solemnized marriage. The Act does not provide for solemnization of a marriage by the registrar. The Special Marriage Act provides for solemnization of a marriage as well as registration by a marriage officer.” Since the process varies slightly across states, we suggest you find out about the process in your state to apply for the certificate.

 

Permanent account number (PAN)

The next step is to ensure that you get a change of surname on your PAN card. These days it’s almost impossible to do any financial transactions without giving a copy of the PAN card.

“When there is a change of surname post marriage, you need to update your PAN card. The procedure is simple. It’s similar to applying for a new card; the only difference is that you will need to provide your old card number to the authorities. Your new PAN card will carry the old number, but with a new name.”

Keep in mind that you will have to submit your marriage certificate or a copy of the official government gazette, while applying for name change in the PAN card. Even a copy of a joint (with spouse) notarized affidavit will do, to get the PAN updated. Ensure that you inform your employer, chartered accountant and financial adviser about the change in the PAN card name so that your income-tax papers could get updated accordingly.

 

Banking relationships

The next step is to get all your banking relationships up-to-date with your new name. “In case of a woman needing name change after marriage, a marriage certificate is required to be produced for effecting the same in bank records. Banks as per their internal guidelines may seek additional documentation to authenticate the request.”

Generally, the marriage certificate and the joint notarized affidavit from a notary get the job of name change done in banks. When you visit the bank branch, remember to update the change of address along with the name change request. Here, the bank may ask you for your husband’s address proof as well such as a copy of his passport.
“Once your bank statements have your new name and new address, it more or less works as an address proof.”

As far as the affidavit goes, it needs to state the maiden surname, the new changed surname, your photograph and signature as well as your husband’s signature. Usually this notarized affidavit and marriage certificate are needed to change surname on other documents. But keep in mind that getting a change of name at a bank is faster than getting it changed on the passport.

 

Credit report

Do ensure that you get the new surname on all your deposit accounts as well as any loan accounts. As far as credit report goes, this is one document where you get a respite from updating your name on your own. “Any changes in customer database, including name and address, get refreshed every month for all loan customers by the bank to Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd.”

 

Passport

If you already have a passport and need to update your post-marriage new surname, you will have to apply for a re-issue of passport and not a fresh passport. Though the application process remains the same, the documents you will need to get a reissued passport due to name change will be different.

For instance, along with marriage certificate, you will have to submit the old passport in original with a self-attested photocopy and a copy of the husband’s passport.

 

Other documents

Other documents where you will need to update your new surname are driving license, voter’s identity card and the likes. “As far as insurance policies go, if you are a nominee, ensure that the correct name is mentioned. You don’t want your old name mentioned as a nominee when you have already changed to a new name. That will only increase problems in the future.”

Also, with a new surname and a possibly new address, you will need to get you know-your-client information updated; name change across other financial investments, such as mutual funds and shares will follow.

“If it’s a property that you own, get the name change updated. Say you own a house, inform the society about the change of surname.”

Ensure there is uniformity in all your financial documents. Of course it’s not as easy as it sounds and you probably have to spend a month or so to get all this done. But it’s best done sooner than later to avoid problems in the future. And if you are a man who wants to take your wife’s surname along with yours, the process still remains the same.

For both the situations, connect to me and I am happy to help ☺

 

Fiscal Health and Mental Wealth

Isn’t it curious how the word valuable means different things in different contexts? 

This past month of the lockdown has made me reflect on what truly is valuable to me. Some of you may have done the same too. 

I have thought about what brings meaning and purpose to my life, my vision which translates to having goals and desired pathways to reach those goals. And I have even reflected on my consumer behavior. What would I buy and why, have I saved enough for a rainy day, have I invested wisely? Has my perspective changed in the last month (and more) since the lockdown? I realized that the lockdown actually made me recognize the feedback loop between financial planning and mental & physical health. 

Let me take a step back and go back to the basics. 

There are some key values that our parents teach us, especially in a country like India, where parents are the main socializing agents and where joint families still exist. Here are some key credos my parents lived by, role-played for us, and taught us about: 

  1. You have to be independent and stand on your own feet. Financially foremost.
  2.  “Jitni chaadar lambi ho, utney hee pair phailaaney chahiye.” (“Stretch your legs only as much as the length of your blanket.” In other words, live within your means.)
  3.  Always keep some money hidden away in a section of your wallet. Keep it as a reserve and use ONLY in case of an emergency.
  4.  We (parents) repeat, you have to be self-reliant & resilient in every way.
  5. Take care of your health proactively.

I reflect back to these credos and realize how these became a core part of me growing up. And from thereon follows the link between financial, mental, and physical well-being. My parents taught me well. 

I learnt to live within my means and continue to save enough from my earnings in case a crisis ever hits. We’ve invested our earnings wisely to reap some dividends. But perhaps my most proactive investment is in my overall mental and physical health. 

This is also my most important investment for several reasons:

a) Being optimistic, calm even in the face of crises, being goal-driven, resilient, self-efficacious, proactive, and collaborative makes me function at my best personally and professionally.

b) Being in good physical health (thanks to being a marathoner) keeps me energized through the day so that I can focus on all the tasks at hand, and that further reaffirms my mental grit and strength.

c) Being healthy further prevents frequent visits to the hospital and extra expenses of procedures, medicines, and other treatments. I save prudently on big healthcare costs. 

And so, money gets invested where it acts as a buffer when the going may get tough or for when I eventually retire. I try to live well within my means, and keep my lifestyle modest. My only indulgence is travel and we try to plan that well making sure our investments and savings don’t get affected. I am grateful for all that I have, and everything that continues to come my way. 

The lockdown brought home a point my parents have always known: Thoda hai, thodey ki zaroorat hai/Zindagi phir bhi yahan khoobsoorat hai (“There is little, little is what I need / life here is beautiful still.”) 

During this current crisis, the seas have gotten turbulent and rough, the boat was rocked, but I could adjust the sails to manage the tough course. That much was in my control. 

But I recognize that what the lockdown did also was throw people off track and cause immense stress. 

But what exactly do I mean by stress? It’s important to understand and highlight that in order to illustrate the feedback loop (which I’ll come to in just a minute). 

Stress is a nonspecific reaction in our bodies in response to a real or imagined threat. It’s manifested physically (such as aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, nausea, loss of appetite etc.), mentally (difficulties in concentration, decision making, memory), emotionally (feeling tense, anxious, worried, sad, irritable, angry), and behaviorally (e.g., absenteeism from work, crying, shouting, blaming). 

In these unprecedented times with the covid-19 outbreak and its imposed lockdown, life has brought to a grinding halt to what once was routine and normal. 

Our basic physiological needs of food, water, shelter, and breathing have been under threat like we have never known before in our lifetimes. Our comfort of feeling safe and secure has also been compromised where our financial resources, vocational status, health, and social stability are under question. Yes, I am referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which still holds true even in 2020, 77 years after it was first published. 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

When these needs are unmet or inadequately met, stress results. 

“The fear of the unknown” is a fundamental fear underlying our anxieties. 

It’s fanned by the absence of clarity in the information that the media spews out, barring the numbers of rising covid cases nationally. When will the lockdown end? What will happen to our jobs? Will I even get a salary this month? What if I get laid off? What about my savings and investments? The uncertainties and the absence of a path ahead fuels our fear. Financial insecurities are looming large and we may not have kept aside enough to tide by the months of expenses that will continue to show up: EMIs, utility bills, school fees, salaries of staff, groceries, etc. 

And thus begins the downward spiral, triggering stress that manifests physically and emotionally. 

People with unhealthy coping mechanisms such as resorting to alcohol and drug use or emotional eating are more prone to sedentary behaviors such as being on the web or surfing TV mindlessly. 

Our physical health takes a turn for the worse which then directly influences our financial health. This vicious feedback loop results in a financial drain by increasing medical expenses, reduced productivity at work, being depressed and anxious, all of which pose significant obstacles in making sound financial decisions, to think proactively, to anticipate and plan the future, to take charge of life, to problem solve. 

The stress further rises, and we decide to cut corners to avoid unnecessary expenditure. The first thing to take a hit is healthcare. We avoid consultations with doctors, necessary diagnostic tests, required treatments, because of the high cost involved. The spiral deepens, with a person now being financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally depleted. 

“If only I had saved and invested wisely.” “How will I make all these regular monthly payments and manage my expenses?” “I see debt looming large.” “I now see the flaw in my foolhardy outlook of “live for the moment, don’t save.” “What will I do now to deal with this?” 

And sometimes, despite our best efforts, our most prudent decisions also backfire because of factors beyond our control. (Remember “investments are subject to market risks?”) 

The stress further builds up and the vicious cycle further spirals out of control. Till we decide to break the chain and contain its devastating effects. 

So how exactly can we do that?

The first place to begin is to manage one’s emotions and become emotionally resilient. We can never think through a problem when our mind is racing, overwhelmed, and we feel hopeless and helpless. We have to garner the strength to think through calmly, to take informed decisions, to be proactive in managing our overall well-being: emotionally, physically, vocationally, socially, financially, to name the important domains. 

Being resilient means having a vision, a reasonable plan for the future taking in mind that life may throw a googly at any point. It means being proactive, being able to bounce back from adversity, being able to problem solve. 

How can we improve our financial behaviors? Can I reflect on the areas I spend on, and how I can be mindful of resource allocation? How can I invest and save wisely? 

The answers I have will seem commonsensical, but that’s precisely why they will work. 

They stem from planning emphatically and empathetically for one’s future, by creating a budget that allows for expenses and savings, by consulting a financial advisor and other experts who can guide you, and most importantly, by engaging in health promoting behaviors to steer towards the wellness spectrum rather than doing nothing and inching towards illness and pathology. 

The illustration below will clearly show you where your financial resources will end up being depleted, barring, of course, diseases and illnesses that are not linked to dysfunctional lifestyle choices. 

Illness-Wellness Continuum

Here’s the bottom line. What happens in the markets, in the external world, in the eyes of other people—none of these is in your control. 

You are in your control, though. And that is the biggest insight I can share with you. 

You have to reflect on the way you have crafted your lifestyle choices and its plan till now. Has it taken all dimensions of well-being in consideration? We often think wellness is only the absence of disease, and being physically and mentally fit. The fact of the matter is, it is interrelated across seven dimensions: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Social, Vocational, & Environmental. 

Striving towards paying attention to where the balance is tipping over, assuming responsibility for our own self to know the causes and consequences of our own behaviors, being proactive, forward moving, and taking deliberate action where needed is where our focus needs to be. 

The covid-19 pandemic has shown us a mirror. What we choose to do now with what the reflection is showing us, is upto us. Move…onward and upward. And connect the dots between our fiscal, physical and mental well-being. That way, your mental wealth will not be subjected to market risks.

 

Author Bio

Dr. Divya Parashar, a Clinical & Rehabilitation Psychologist with over 20 years of experience. She has co-authored a book titled “Move: Get Fit in 15 Weeks,” and her work has also been published in peer reviewed journals.