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Channel name : Mint Paper.
Date of the publication : Dec 18, 2020

Sameer Ginwala and Sunainaa Chadha are taking one step at a time to secure the future

When it comes to financial planning, the solution can’t be one-size-fits-all. The combination of investment products that works for one individual may not do so for another, depending on various factors such as life stage, risk capacity and even personal circumstances. Delhi-based Sameer Ginwala, a captain in a private airline, first went for a financial plan when he was in his early 30s, but his “comfort with risk” has only evolved about three years later. Typically, it is in the 20s and 30s age bands that individuals are encouraged to invest most of their savings in equities, especially for long-term goals.

For Sameer, 36, who was a conservative investor before he got into the plan in 2017 with only bank deposits as savings, the journey has been gradual but now he feels fairly confident about investing aggressively in equities. This confidence is largely a result of the fact that, in these three years, he has been able to build a corpus for the future expenses of his daughter Freya, who is almost three years old now.

“When Sameer first met me, he didn’t really have fixed goals but was just looking to invest his spare money. The goal of children’s education resonated strongly with him when I started helping him plan his finances in an organized manner and help him decide on his goals. The long-term goal of retirement didn’t appeal to him then as he saw it as too far off in the future,” said Rishad Manekia, founder and managing director, Kairos Capital Pvt. Ltd, a Sebi-registered investment adviser. It was like taking one step at a time, he added.

Securing the future of Freya was the first priority for Sameer and Sunainaa Chadha, 32, his wife who is a media professional. In fact, that was one of the major reasons why he went for a plan in the first place. “I started thinking about investing in a disciplined manner only after we got pregnant. I wanted my money to ‘work’ but I didn’t know how to do that,” said Sameer.

The financial planner put him on a balanced portfolio for this goal because even though it was long term in nature, Sameer wanted substantial savings to be put aside much sooner. “We had some equity mutual funds in the portfolio, but I wanted to keep it balanced as it was important to address Sameer’s concerns about his daughter’s future while giving him the ability to tolerate the volatility of the portfolio,” said Manekia. Sameer invested in a combination of equity funds, apart from debt funds such as liquid and ultra short-term funds. More precisely, 65% of the money was in domestic equity skewed towards large-caps and multi-caps (now flexi-caps), and 35% was invested in fixed-income instruments.

The fact that Sameer’s bank deposits and family assets created a safety net for the family helped them focus on this corpus more than anything else. That is why they were not suggested to buy a term insurance. The family has a pretty robust employer’s health insurance and is planning to buy a family floater soon. But earlier this year when Sameer saw a substantial pay cut because the covid-19 hit the airlines industry hard, the planner advised him to think of additional protection in terms of expanding his emergency corpus.

Now that all that has been taken care of and the airline Sameer works for has announced that the pay cuts will be reduced, Manekia has been able to convince him to start focusing on his retirement corpus. “I explained to him the importance of retirement planning once again and how he needs to provide for several years of life after he hangs his boots. This time it was easier to do so because Sameer has become more comfortable with equities. It took time to get him around to this view, but it has paid off,” said Manekia. The planner plans to add exposure to global equities for his retirement goal, with debt funds being a small part of the portfolio as of now. It will be roughly 65% in domestic equities, 25% in international equity funds and 10% in ultra short-term debt, said Manekia.

“Since Rishad has managed to deliver even through the pandemic, he has gained my trust. I am willing to be more aggressive with my investments now,” said Sameer.

His portfolio has no real estate investments because he has enough family assets and he finds investing anew in the real estate asset class “tedious”.

Sameer is satisfied with what he has achieved in these three years and feels confident that Manekia will steer him on the right financial path for his future goals as well.

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