Category Archives: Blog

Critical Illness Insurance – Cover & Benefits

In midst of lockdown getting bored one of my close friends called up to check with me if Critical Illness cover is same as Mediclaim. She had heard one of her colleagues mentioning it. It got me thinking…
Majority of us tend to confuse critical illness policy with a Mediclaim policy or we are not aware of this product.

Mediclaim policy reimburses the hospitalization bill, whereas the critical illness policy pays out a lump sum amount (sum assured) on the diagnosis of critical illnesses covered under the policy. In short Critical Insurance policy are fixed benefit plans where lumpsum is paid to the policy holder in case of diagnosis of critical illness irrespective of hospital expenses.
Medical treatment costs are getting expensive and medical inflation is often quoted in double digits. A simple Mediclaim policy is not enough to cover expenses relating to major diseases.

Some people may argue against Critical Illness cover but we must note that our sedentary lifestyles and stressful lives are giving rise to all kinds of illnesses, most of them critical in nature. Not only the number of people diagnosed with critical illness are increasing, the age at which people are being diagnosed is decreasing.

Features of Critical Insurance Plans:

  • Coverage is provided for up to 36 major critical illnesses. This may vary from one insurance provider to another
  • Lumpsum payment -the insurer provides the lump sum payment for the treatment of covered illnesses
  • Easy claim processing
  • Usually the coverage is provided after the end of the waiting period
  • Part of the lump sum can be used as income replacement

Critical illness cover offered has two options – Standalone policy and critical illness rider. A standalone policy is a plan that provides comprehensive coverage for critical illnesses. The critical illness rider is an optional add-on feature you buy along with your health insurance policy or life insurance policy. Both standalone policy and rider provides coverage against critical illnesses. The choice between the two depends on one’s requirements, budget and family health history.

Difference between standalone policy and critical rider:

*Standalone CI can be bought from Life insurance/General insurance. In our experience Separate CI plans of life insurance companies are highly complex, restrictive and have several conditions attached to them. Getting a CI plan from a non-life insurance company or a health insurance company may therefore be a better option. A standalone policy offers more flexibility in choosing the sum insured and larger covers as compared to riders.

How to select Critical Illness cover?

  1. List of critical illness covered-You must aim to but policy which covers maximum number of critical illnesses. There is no harm in consulting with your Family doctor. Being your family Doctor, he/she will be well versed with your family and your health history.
  2. Size of the cover-Carefully mull over the average expense of treating critical illnesses when evaluating the size of the cover. Factor in inflation. Take a higher cover if possible.
  3. Look for higher renewability-Compare different critical illness insurance plans and consider the policies that offer higher renewability.
  4. Look for tenure and sum insured- Look for policy that offers longer tenures and higher sum insured
  5. Look if there’s cap on claims-Most critical insurance plans have a cap on claim amounts depending on what ailments are you making a claim for. Look for a policy that offers generous cap on claim amounts.
  6. Survival clause-Most critical illness policies have a clause that the policy holder must survive for a specific number of days post the diagnosis of the illness in order to make a claim. So, look out for a policy that involves minimum number of days that the insured needs from the day of diagnosis.
  7. Check out the waiting period-Typically there is a waiting period for pre-existing illness to be covered by the policy. Look out for a policy that offers minimum waiting period.
  8. Take a careful look at the policy details. It’s important to read through the exclusions mentioned in the policy document and as mentioned earlier consult your family doctor on the policy language/coverage/waiting period.

Thinking about critical illness? Want to know more about critical illness or how it can be useful for you during this emergency time. Feel free to write us on


When chalking out a monthly or quarterly budget, it’s important to consider what you spend your money on. Financial planning begins with how you spend your money “wisely” and for a healthy financial life or to achieve financial dreams, it’s important to strike a balance between your “wants” and “needs”. But what are these wants and needs? Is everyone’s perception of wants and needs the same? Does it vary from person to person?

Define needs & wants

All your expenses and spending activities happen broadly under two categories – your needs and your wants.

Your needs are something which you can’t do away with. These are essential things that you cannot go any significant period of time without. Can you skip paying your monthly utility bills or skip “grocery shopping” or not spend on “fuel” and “transportation”. Certainly not! These are the things you have to take care first and only then comes other things which you can do without.

Whereas your wants are “non-essentials” which you wish to have but they are not above your needs. A want is essentially something that enhances your life and that you’d like to have, but that you can easily get away without having. Buying that latest phone in the market, splurging on shopping, having a car – you can certainly live without spending on these!

Now, wants and needs vary from person to person. Some people’s Wants can be a Need for others and vice versa. For example, a professional who has a car and used it for many years may think of upgrading it into a better model. Conversely, someone who admires a certain car model and would like to buy as a first-ever car purchase, such spending would be a want. It all depends on your lifestyle. And many a time it depends on your financial capabilities. When you accumulate a lot of money, you may buy things that you want apart from the things that are needed on a daily basis.

What goes in the needs bucket and wants a bucket

Before you start building a budget, it’s crucial to understand what really fits into each of these categories, and objectively evaluate your spending habits.

Your rent or home loan EMI payment is absolutely a need. Your basic groceries, transportation to and from work, clothing, and utilities like water, electricity, food fuel, etc. have to be taken care of every month. Healthcare and insurance are also important needs. A household runs on these basics and 50% (approx) of your earnings goes in taking care of all this.

However, make sure your needs and wants don’t overlap. Here’s how:

  • While food certainly qualifies as a need, a fancy Saturday dinner is considered splurging and fall
    into the “want” column.
  • Grocery shopping is a must but buying more expensive brands at the grocery store, or buying multiple utensils with same function goes into wants category.
  • Clothes, too, are a need, but they can quickly fall into the want category if you’re splurging on expensive brands or buying outfits you’re only going to wear a couple of times.
  • If you’re spending far too much on rent or EMI on home loan in order to live in a larger home or better housing society may also be considered as a “want”.

Clearly there are plenty of thin lines between needs and wants. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what falls into which category. The whole motive and intention should be to avoid falling into the trap of overspending on wants under the disguise of filling basic needs. If you cross the line, you will end up spoiling your financial health. Although it’s fine to occasionally spoil yourself, but making it a habit could result in long-term financial issues.

How to Balance between Wants and Needs?

By following the 50-30-20 rule, you can simplify your budget. It gets easier that way. Which means 50% of your budget/spends should go towards your needs and 30% of your budget/spends should go towards your wants. The remaining 20% should not be spent at all and should directly go for your savings. The trick is to strike a balance in these limits and automatically your financial balance will fall into place.

Also, it might seem that minimizing your spending on wants is the foremost rule. But in reality, the objective is to reach a healthier balance within your spending habits. Just because you classify an expense as a want doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be spending money on it. As long as you’re properly managing your budget, you can meet your needs while still enjoying your wants and uplifting your lifestyle.

Eat out certain on certain weekends, go on vacation but budgeted one, go on shopping but not occasion based – chalk out your wants and they won’t look like a burden. If you find that you aren’t allocating your budget in a healthy way, move things around. The aim should be to spend/save money for your needs and then take care of your wants. Once you prioritize all your expenses/goals in these categories, planning your finances becomes easy!

First things first – properly classify your needs and wants according to your financial health and monthly earnings. Secondly don’t overspend on your wants (remember they are luxury). Thirdly regularly review your spending and properly allocate money for needs and wants in a budget-healthy way. And lastly, to better handle your financial health you may need a financial doctor aka a financial advisor who can help you build a financial plan.

When budgeting, a financial advisor optimizes your financial plans to make sure you’re still on track for long-term goals like owning a house or retirement. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started with one. In case you need a professional touch, feel free to write to us.

Importance of Investing with a personal finance expert

Personal finance, as the name suggests, is the process of managing the finances of you and your family. This process includes all the elements related to cash management, such as earning enough income, regulating your expenses, saving enough cash every month, investing in the proper channels, and protecting your funds. Also termed as a budget or financial plan that helps you secure a worry-free and safe future.

How investing with a personal finance expert would help?

10 Powerful reasons why financial planning with a personal finance expert – will get you where you want to be.

  • Income: It’s possible to manage income effectively. You need to calculate how much you make on an annual basis, which is inclusive of salaries, bonuses, pensions, and dividends. Once you have an exact figure, you can divide this amount into expenses, savings, and investments. A personal finance expert can help you derive the income and further plan the spend.
  • Spend management: The next element on the personal finance roadmap is calculating your expenses, which can include purchasing all the consumable products on a monthly basis. You can make payments either through cash or credit. Some of the vital areas where we spend money include rent, loan EMIs, mortgage payments, taxes, food, entertainment and travel, and credit card EMIs. Note, if the difference between your income and expenses is negative, you have a deficit. As a result, you should be able to properly manage your expenses so that you can follow good personal finance management.
  • Savings: Savings includes the cash left after deducting expenses from income. You save cash for future investments or spends. One of the most critical areas of personal finance, savings includes real cash, savings or checking bank accounts, and money market securities. An increase in cash flow allow you to consider investments to improve your overall financial well-being.
  • Family Security: One of the foremost and most accepted reason behind personal finance is ensuring the financial security of your loved ones. The various options like insurance coverage, pension plans and policies in place ensure financial wellbeing for your family.
  • Investment: Investments mean buying assets that you expect to generate a better rate of return in the near future. Some investments are risky; so you should analyze the market trends properly before making a decision. People usually invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, private companies, commodities, and art. Investing is a complex process and we would recommend you to seek the advice of professionals when you need to analyze the difference between risk and rewards.
    Investing with a personal finance expert will help you with your personal circumstances, objectives and risk tolerance. She ensures you do the right types of investments to fit your needs, lifestyle, and goals.
  • Lifestyle Management: The savings created in good times always prove beneficial in difficult times. For example, you can make sure there is enough liquidity and insurance coverage in case of a circumstance when you become unable to work or take a sabbatical or even if you need a break in general.
  • Financial Understanding: Investing with a personal finance expert will help you set measurable financial goals, you will understand the reason and impact of the same and at the same times you can assess and indulge into reviewing results. This gives you a whole new approach to financial understanding and makes you even more ready for a life of abundance.
  • Assets: A personal finance expert ensures that you have assets beyond the requisites. And she will help you evaluate and choose assets that never become a liability. The experts help in determining the real value of assets as well as they make you aware of hidden costs and expenses attached to settling/ cancelling or transfer of assets. She ensures that your assets never become a burden in future.
  • Protection: Personal protection includes all those products that protect you and your family when there is an unforeseen, adverse event. These plans comprise of life insurance, health insurance, and estate planning. Even this element of personal finance requires you to seek professional expertise and right futuristic decisions.
  • Timely & Ongoing Advice: Having a personal finance expert keeps you grounded and helps in achieving all financial goals for each life stage. Your financial expert can always provide truthful advices, transparent assessment and calculated risks to keep the losses a bay.

For an all-inclusive personal finance plan, you can take tips from personal bankers and investment advisors. They will understand your requirements and long-term goals and make a customized plan to secure your present as well as the future. The planning process is divided into assessment, goals, plan development, execution, monitoring, and reassessment.

Things to consider while hiring an advisor for personal finance in India

When you wish to employ the services of an expert who would guide you through the whole process of personal financial management, you can take the advice of a personal banker, wealth manager, investment advisor, insurance advisor, tax advisor, estate planner, financial planner, or insurance broker. Once you are clear about the categories of advisors and the jobs they specialize in, check online and from previous clients if they are reputable enough. You should hire only the ones who have authentic credentials. You should also be clear about their charges and compensation structure. Area-wise online searches are another great way to arrive at the best professionals in your vicinity.

If you understand all the aspects of personal finance, it is just a matter of time before you can start with your journey. You should remember that personal finance management is one of the key elements of ensuring a secure and happy future.

If you seek a personal finance assessment, feel free to connect our expert onboard here. You can also write to us on

This Festive Season, dig in to Gold ETFs

Gold has always had a special significance amongst Indians for varied reasons such as for its auspicious sentiments, high emotional quotient, for its high perceived value. It’s even considered as a gifting option – reinforcing closeness of relationships. In India, people buy gold all season but during special occasions like weddings, festivals or special events, it becomes a mandate.

Barring the auspicious significance, for long Gold has been one of our go-to investment products. Gold continues
to command long term value, considered as a safe haven, a hedge against inflation; asset allocation,etc. Investment in gold could be in the physical form such as jewellery, gold coins or bars but one of the most popular involves buying shares of gold exchange-traded funds (gold ETFs) i.e. owning it in paper form.

Advantages of investing in gold ETF

  • ETFs, give investors a chance to own small amounts of many different investments within a single fund – letting them get diversified exposure to gold without having to invest huge sums of money.
  • Owning gold in physical-form such as jewelry, gold coins or bars comes at a huge cost, given the making charges, storing costs, jeweler margin, etc., whereas owning it in paper form like gold exchange-traded funds (gold ETFs) comes at a price closer to the actual price of gold.
  • The transparency in pricing is another advantage. The price at which it is bought is probably the closest to the actual price of gold.

How to invest in gold ETFs

Like any other company stock, Gold ETFs trade on the cash market of the National Stock Exchange. It can be bought and sold continuously at market prices. If you wish to invest in gold ETF, all you need is a trading account with a share broker and a demat account. Like any other stock investment, you can either invest in lumpsum or at regular intervals through systematic investment plans. Here’s how you can invest using these simple steps:

Step 1: Open an online trading and demat account with a stock broker
Step 2: Log in to the website of the broker’s online trading portal using your login ID and password.
Step 3: Choose the Gold ETF you want to invest in
Step 4: Place the buy order for the purchase of a specified number of Gold ETF units
Step 5: Web system debits your bank account (Fund transfer through linked savings account)
Step 6: Units are credited to your demat account on trade day + 2nd day

Things to know before one invests in gold ETFs

Know the fund type – There are broadly two main types of gold ETFs. The first kind focuses on the commodity aspects of gold, seeking to track the price changes of the gold itself. The other focuses on investing in the companies that specialize in gold i.e. mining stocks, which directly extract the yellow metal from their mining assets; and gold streaming stocks, which provide financing to gold miners in exchange for the right to purchase a set amount of a mines gold production at a discounted price.
Know the charges – Primarily two kinds of costs are associated with investments – expense ratio for managing the fund, and broker costs considered during buying and selling units.
Know the right Gold ETF for you – There are about twelve Gold ETFs in the market. It is best to opt for funds with lower tracking error and higher trading volumes. Unlike other investments, there is no lock-in of funds, so buying and selling can happen during trading hours. It is advisable to avoid partial withdrawals or early exits, and for best results, link your investments to a long term goal.
Know the Taxation – Short-term capital gains on units held for less than 36 months will be added to investors income and taxed as per the applicable slab rate. Long term capital gains on units held for more than 36 months will be taxed at 20% after providing for indexation.

There’s no one perfect ETF for every gold investor, but different ETFs will appeal to each investor differently, depending on their preferences and long term goals. You can start by holding not more than 10 percent of gold in your portfolio. Once prices dip, you can consider allocating more to the asset else sell when allocation towards gold in your portfolio goes up.

Investment Portfolio Review – How, Why & When?

As an investor, you might have often put in a lot of effort to build an investment portfolio. But have you considered reviewing it at periodic intervals? This step is vital when designing and implementing a strict portfolio strategy. You must adhere to a regular review schedule.

In order to save money and invest it profitably, you must analyse your plan periodically. Only then, you can know about the hidden opportunities for improvement, in order to reap greater financial rewards.

What is an investment portfolio review?

Investment portfolio review comprises breaking down and analyzing your investment portfolio with an aim to better investor’s needs, preferences. It helps one to increase the probability of him meeting his set goals. It also enables one to meet the objectives of a given investment mandate, by shedding light on historical asset class performance, inflation and other related factors.

Why is an investment portfolio review necessary?

Let us help answer this question by citing an example. For example, you need to approach an investment advisor or asset management company and request them to give you a detailed portfolio analysis. The professional will first check the holdings included in the portfolio. He shall also analyze if such holdings include assets that have a high possibility of maintaining low volatility, price fluctuations, and enough liquidity to covert the assets cash when required. He will calculate the amount of investment income in the form of dividends or interest. This expert will then tell you about measures to take so that your capital does not undergo any losses.

How to perform an investment portfolio analysis?

You need to examine your investment portfolio on an aggregate basis while comparing its status to other benchmark portfolios. Some of the elements that you must consider are the total number of portfolio components, the price-to-earnings ratio, the dividend yield, and the estimated growth rate. This is then tallied against a stock market index.

The next step is to weigh the elements in relation to each other. You should understand how these different components affect each asset individually. It should cover all related ventures such as investments in a small business or real estate spends. Lastly, analyze all the portfolio components as stand-alone investments. Understand why you own a certain element, what are your after-tax cash flows, and should you continue holding your stake.

Once you have conducted all these steps, your investment portfolio review is complete. It is an important risk management tool, wherein you know which asset to buy, which asset to keep, and how to increase your financial wealth.

When should you do an investment portfolio review?

An investment portfolio review should be done when you wish to add value to your financial plan. Usually conducted on an annual basis, this activity can be carried out at the end of the financial year before you file for your taxes. It helps you to analyze the transaction costs involved, along with taxes and setting the allocation tolerance bands.

While going for asset allocation strategies, you can go for either long-term or tactical methods — which are implemented at regular intervals. At the start of a financial year, you get better visibility of your revised cash flows, tax-rule, and regulatory, changes. Hence, this is the perfect time to review your investment portfolio.


During your review, here are some results to look out for. Suppose you observe a trend of poor performance over the last couple of years, you should know that it is time to take a different approach. Again, analyze stocks or bonds that have been reasons for such bad performance.
Lastly, whatever step you take, do not allow emotions to affect your decisions. Create an investment policy statement with guidelines that you are sure you shall follow in the long run. Only then, your entire exercise will be worthwhile.

Wondering about your investment portfolio review?? Want to know more about reviewing your portfolio. Feel free to write us on

This Monsoon, don’t fall for Dengue

Rain has set in and it’s time to relax after a hot summer. Rain brings joy to everyone – we give a miss going to school or offices to enjoy chai-pakoda time, we ditch the umbrellas just to get drenched. But as much rain brings relief from the scorching heat, it also brings in troubles in the form of dengue, malaria, and chikungunya. Rainy season provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and dangerous disease like Dengue is spread by infected mosquitoes.

The virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes, mainly of the species Aedes aegypti. This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika infection. The incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades. And India stands at the top recording a high number of dengue-related cases.

Now that’s just the disease part! The cost of treatment has its own roadblock. An average cost of hospitalization for dengue treatment ranges between Rs. 50, 000 to Rs. 70, 000 (estimated figure), and in some hazardous cases the expenses may reach up to Lakhs! Even though the government has regulated the prices of blood tests required for detecting dengue, the procedure of platelet transplant has not yet been regulated. Which means it’s quite impossible to estimate how much the treatment can cost you and your family. It’s shocking but that doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared. After all, we strongly live by the motto “Prevention is better than cure”. The first step towards fighting it is taking extra precautionary measures.

Here are important Dengue Prevention Tips:

To protect yourself from dengue-infected mosquitoes:

Avoid wearing dark clothes as they attract mosquitoes. Prefer wearing light-colored clothes when stepping out. When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks

Stay away from heavily populated residential areas, as the dengue causing mosquitoes easily find the breeding ground in densely populated atmosphere.

Use repellants and patches and cream to yourself and your family members before leaving the house for work, college or school. Use mosquito nets at night for better prevention

Be Careful In Mornings and Evenings as Dengue infected mosquitoes are most active around mornings and early evenings.

Avoid collection of water in places where mosquitoes can breed. These include old tires, cans, or flower pots that collect rain. Regularly change the water in cooler, outdoor bird baths and pets’ water dishes

Watch out for Symptoms which include irregular fever, headache, body ache, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes which appear two to five days after the onset of fever, mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)

Speak to your doctor immediately if you or your family members have symptoms of dengue. Mosquitoes that bite the infected family member could spread the infection to others in your home. So take the infected one to the hospital immediately

To protect yourself from dengue: (Cure Tips)

Identify Symptoms In Time. Dengue fever symptoms start anytime between 4 days and 2 weeks after being bitten and typically last for up to a week if taken care of in time. A delay in detection and treatment can cause a critical fall in platelet count, which can be fatal and expensive to treat.

Get Tested Immediately after you detect the symptoms. The longer you stall, the longer you delay the treatment!

Intake Lots Of Fluids especially coconut water for helping build back the depleted platelet count.

Get Insurance Cover. Make sure your insurance covers you for OPD costs and hospitalization in case of dengue fever. Since there is no regulation on the cost of platelet transplant, the impossible costs of hospitalization are quite possible! So be prepared.

Do remember, there is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever in the market. The best way to prevent the disease is to prevent bites from infected mosquitoes. Spread the word and stay healthy!

Financial Planning Tips For Freelancers

Not too long ago freelancing was considered job of the uneducated/unskilled people. It meant people with no degree or less formal education sold their skills to people who might need it. But with advent of internet, technology, valuing of skills above degrees and increase in penetration of internet connectivity all this is changing. As per a report by The Hindu, India could have up to 20 million ‘freelancers’ — individuals who use computers/internet to offer services in both domestic and export markets. Some experts believe the number of freelancers in India could double every five years until 2035.

With changing life dynamics, stress levels, pressures of balancing work home life, majority of us now want to be our own Boss instead of working in Corporate World from 9am-6pm. Freelancing offers flexibility and freedom.
But this comes with its own set of challenges. With no fixed salary and security of pay check job of a freelancer can be a tough one. As a freelancer one is the business owner and every facet of business needs to be sustainable and cared for. Financial life of a freelancer need not be unpredictable just because pay checks are not regular. Here are some ways you can plan your financials wisely and save even when your incomes fluctuate:

  • Plan for lean time and Pay yourself regularly

Freelancing can be a roller coaster ride. One is likely to earn different amounts from month to month depending on the number of jobs and timely payment. Even as earnings grow overall, uncertainty of monthly earnings will probably never change. So, it’s important to recognise this and accept the slower months as a risk of freelancing and plan for the lean periods by getting a realistic sense of your average income.
What did you earn last year? Divide that by 12 and you have your average monthly earnings. Do you have five years of freelance experience under your belt? Average those years out too and look at the numbers. Hopefully your earning are growing from year to year, but if they aren’t you need to take that into consideration and average out your income for the past few years to get a better sense of what you truly make. Once you have a solid number as
your average monthly income, use that number as a baseline for your budget.Based on the budget gift yourself a consistent pay check as if you are a regular employee of the business you are running. This will reduce stress and make monthly budgeting easier.

  • Track Everything

First step towards this is opening separate bank accounts for personal and business spending. Track every business and personal expense. Free apps are available on both Google Play store and Apple iTunes. It will give you a visual representation of spending habits and can highlight areas of waste in both in business and personal spending, as well as help decide how much one can spend each month.

  • Create an Emergency Fund-Non-Negotiable

Ideally, we should have this in place before we say good bye to safe and secure regular job. If not than this should be on top of the priority list. The fund can vary from person to person,but planners majorly recommend saving for at least 6-9 months expenses for both personal and business expenses. This will come to use during lean times or when you don’t want to take up work you don’t like. The stress of of irregular income is lessened when there is emergency Fund. In a perfect world client pay regularly as you work but in real world it seldom happens. Payment fluctuates and arrive late than the promised time line.

  • Save for Retirement

Being the business owner freelancers need to plan and fund their own retirement without the luxury of matching contribution from employer etc. Small contributions in Mutual Funds every month through systematic investment route can be initiated. One can also boost savings by making use of windfalls, such as Tax refunds or big client payments.

  • Risk Management

Some of the Insurance one can, consider buying:

  1. Term Plan – To cover the risk for your loved ones.
  2. Health Insurance – Most required and significant to ensure timely health facilities for yourself and your family.
  3. Disability Insurance – To be ready for any unforeseen and unprecedented happening and to cover the risk of dependency due to an accident, illness etc.
  4.  Professional Insurance – Professional liability insurance protects individuals from professional risks and related legal expenses. It provides indemnity in case a third-party sustains injury, harm, death or damage to property due to the professional service or advice provided by the insured.