Posts By: Arun Chattopadhyay

“Money money money
Brighter than sunshine, sweeter than honey.

Money money money
It brings luxury & comfort it makes life funny…”

Let’s be honest. We all want money and most of us run after money. The irony is, not everyone understands that the goal should be achieving financial independence. That is way more important than just having money.

It means living your life happily, to have what you dream about, to be what you really are, and do what you love to do without having to worry about cash flow.

Imagine a situation when you have a ‘system’ that works for you, and generates an ever increasing regular income for you, month after month, year after year while you live a dream lifestyle. How would that be? That would be great, hands raised, no doubt. But, is there any formula to reach that blissful situation? To find an answer, let us think over, what prevents most of us from being financially independent.

Mindset

We are what we are today because of our past actions, or inactions. And what actions we are taking today will decide how our future will be.

The root cause of our lack of abundance is the lessons taught our conventional education system and the society since our childhood.

At home, our parents tell us to get good grades so that we can find a decent job, earn monthly salaries and retire with benefits. But they fail to realize that salaried people live a life of financial illusion. The annual increments and promotions that they expect would never be able to provide enough passive income to make them financially free in real sense.

Our conventional education system is not designed to make us wealthy, or even financially literate. Our Schools and Universities focus on enhancing our professional and scholastic skills but not financial skills. Otherwise, why highly educated engineers, doctors, teachers who earned top grades in schools and colleges struggle financially throughout their lives?

There are 2 ways to achieve financial freedom for employees. The first one is the favourite of our poor or middle class parents and friends. The second option is taught by wealthy people to their children.

  1. Earn from salary, live a frugal life, save maximum, invest the saving and earn passive income after paying taxes.
  2. Take actions to build a part time business while continuing with the day job, pay taxes after spending, build assets that give regular returns even when you are sleeping and finally retire wealthy, in a matter of a few years, much before the age of 60.

As it is, the first idea does not sound attractive anyway because if I postpone all my pleasures during my youth with a hope of a better life when I’ll become old, then what is the fun of living?

The Self Made Millionnairs’ Way

“You won’t get rich without multiple flows of income.” Says all self made millionaires like Robert Kiyosaki, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, and a host of others who started career as employees.

Smart people save a part of their salary, but they look for ways to increase the income gradually, without sacrificing much the quality of life. This calls for multiple sources of income. A well planned part time self-employment or business can generate the desired side income in addition to the salary.

Yet, according to Jobvite, a recruiting software company, only about 25% of employees have a second source of income outside of their primary job, that also because “they have to” earn extra money to sustain themselves, not to achieve financial freedom see the below infographic, courtesy CNBC.

Yes, it is only the change of mindset that can make anyone wealthy and financially independent. The rich focus on earning big while the poor think of saving from only one source of income. It’s so simple but needs a determination to exit the comfort zone of mind.

Side Income Options That Can be Scaled Up Later

There are many freelancing and small business opportunities that can be launched to generate some decent side incomes. Here we’re discussing options that can be scaled up to reach a level when you don’t have to work to keep it running but the system will take care of generating income. We are going to look at the options that meet most of the following conditions. The option should:

1. Need zero or very little capital to start with.
2. Provide solutions to burning problems and people should be ready to pay well for it.
3. Need skills and knowledge that can be transferred or outsourced to run the business.

Examples:

Product Sales

1. Direct selling
2. E-commerce

Creative Ideas

1. Writing books
2. Interior decoration
3. Personal Services
4. Financial advisor
5. Tutoring
6. Online invoicing
7. Beauty and personal grooming consultant

Examples of Other Scalable Freelancing Startups:

1. Website designing
2. Digital marketing
3. Graphic designing
4. Blogging
5. Event management

Today, it’s easy to start any part time business that require very little or no upfront investment. But choosing the right business for you must be done very carefully after doing thorough research and whether it will suit your profile and ability. But you may rest assured, there are more than one option for everyone having a passion and commitment to achieve financial freedom.

I am coming up with the results of my own long time exposure to many of those businesses to share with you in my forthcoming posts soon.

Hope you have enjoyed this article. Your comments and feedback are welcome.

If you wish to achieve financial freedom by the time you retire, you should know what is going to be the future value of money that you are saving today. I am not sure if you know that the actual inflation is more than what the CPI (Consumer Price Index) based inflation statistics is published by newspapers. But the real  inflation over the last 100 years tells a different story.

Indian media talk about GDP growth. They often overlook the fact that with a population of 1.25 billion, we should look at our per capita GDP than our overall GDP. Unfortunately, India’s GDP growth per capita has remained flat over the last century, while other major economies have shown much faster growth in their ‘GDP per capita’, refer the graph above, source courtesy Wikimedia Commons statistics.

How inflation over last decades affected the purchasing power of people

In the year 1920, a family of four could manage their expenses comfortably with an income of Re 1 per month. Those were arguably, the good old days of our grandparents.

In 1940, a similar family could have the same standard of living, with a take home salary of Rs. 10 per month. A 10 times reduction of purchasing power.

Come 1960, for the same living standard, a family needed Rs. 100 as monthly income..

1980 – The baby boomers in India needed Rs 1000 per month to run a family well..

Enter the year 2000 – The take home income needed was Rs. 10,000 per month for the same middle class family.. Throughout this period, we had different Governments and economists at the helm of policy and financial affairs. All of them tried to check inflation with their best efforts. But the inflation rate over the last 100 years seems to have remained too difficult to control. Obviously, by 2020, an average family is going to need an income of Rs. 100,000 per month to maintain their standard of living that the same person managed with Rs. 10,000 in the year 2000.

Sitting in 2017 you might think one hundred thousand rupees would be a lot, but such underestimation of inflation has been there among people over the last 100 years!.

The Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of Inflation Over the Last 100 Years.

This is just to give you an idea about the difference between what the statistics of CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) you see in the TV and other media, and the reality.. If we take the starting value at Re 1.00 in 1920 and take the end value at Rs. 100,000.00 in 2020, the CAGR can be calculated using the formula as:. CAGR =((End Value/Start Value)^(1/Periods) -1. Converting it into percentage works out to 12%. This is the real inflation rate that we need to prepare for. To know more about working out CAGR, Click Here..

Why it is so important to know the actual inflation in order to plan your Financial Independence?

The trend shows that if you invest your money today at any financial instrument that yields a minimum return of 14% compounded gain, then only at the end of the maturity period you will get back a sum that will have a similar purchasing power of the amount at the starting of the investment.. Question is, “Which investment can ensure such return?” There are very few, and those involve taking fair amount of risk that is not under your control. But there are ways when you can take charge of your financial growth.. I shall discuss about that in my next post..

One of the primary area to achieve financial freedom is to know and plan investments to save income tax optimally in balance with returns.

Today we are going to have a look at the Income Tax Brackets for individuals and the various Tax Saving options extended to them, with some simple examples to work out the tax.

The Income Tax Slabs extend some additional exemptions for the Senior Citizens and Very Senior Citizens. You can refer to the below tables for a ready reference.

EXAMPLE OF WORKING OUT THE TAX

Vikram, aged 30 has a taxable salary of Rs. 6,75,000. His tax calculation will be as below.

Upto Rs. 2,50,000: Nil

The next slab is up to Rs. 5,00,000. Therefore, for Rs 5 lac less Rs. 2.50 lac, that is Rs. 2,50 lac, his tax liability would be Rs. 2.50 lac x 5%, working out to Rs. 12,500.

He still has Rs. 1,75,000 that will fall into the third slab which is more than Rs. 5.00 lac but below Rs. 10.00 lac. Against that his liability will be Rs. 1.75 lac x 20%, that is Rs. 35,000.

Hence his total tax liability will be Rs. 12,500 + Rs. 35,000, that is Rs. 47,500.

Besides, he has to pay 2% Education Cess and 1% Higher Education Cess on the Tax of Rs. 47,500, making the total liability as Rs. 48,925.

TAX SAVING OPTIONS

Tax Saving options are extended to individuals to encourage public to invest in various schemes to secure their financial future as well as help the Government in strengthening the country.

There are three stages when an individual can save taxes. For detailed information on investments covering the tax savings at any one or more of those stages, Click Here.

  1. Investment Stage
  2. Earning Stage
  3. Withdrawal Stage

IMPORTANT SECTIONS UNDER IT ACT TO BRING DOWN TAXABLE INCOME

There are many Tax Saving sections under Income Tax rules. The most common sections that can be used to save tax are:

  1. 80C/80CCC: Life Insurance, Provident Fund, PPF, Tax Saving Bonds, Tax Saving Mutual Funds (like ELSS), Tax Saving Fixed Deposits are some options.
  2. 10(10D): Interest earned from Life Insurance policies that have at least 10 times of annualized premium as Basic Sum Assured. This section gives a strong incentive to protect one’s family in addition to tax saving by investing in life insurance plans.
  3. 80(D): Health Insurance for normal people
  4. 80DD: Health Insurance when one or more family members are disabled/handicapped
  5. 80DDB: Health Insurance for normal people plus if any family members are handicapped and/or senir citizen
  6. 80E: Repayment interest against Educational Loan
  7. 80G: Donation with a limit of Rs. 10 lacs
  8. 80EE: Repayment interest against housing loan

This covers a basic overview of the individual income tax and various tax saving sections for all taxpayers who wish to start building their corpus at an early age.

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