Almost all of us will make New Year resolutions in the state of euphoria that we will experience as we ring in 2009. Most of us may also end up with a list of financial resolutions. Hopefully, unlike the previous years when our resolutions were conveniently forgotten the moment we woke up after that long party, this year will be different. This is critical as 2008 was a tough year in terms of earnings, spending and savings, and only specific pledges can safeguard—and grow—our wealth this year. We need to stick to our decisions this time.
In my case, the going will be more difficult. Apart from strictly following the nine financial resolutions mentioned in this issue, I have to add several more to the list. In fact, I have to sort out my personal finances from scratch. My investments are in a shambles. This is because I missed out all the bull runs since 1986, when I joined the profession. I have never invested in shares and mutual funds except once. The reason: I think that it is unethical for a business journalist to invest in any company that he/she is likely to write about. Since I wasn’t sure which firm I would write about, I didn’t buy any shares.
When it came to real estate, things haven’t been any better. For almost two decades, I convinced myself that the rent option was a cheaper one compared to buying a house. Obviously, it was a skewed logic since I didn’t take into account the fact that buying a property would mean building an asset. When I finally purchased one, it didn’t remain with me for some personal reason. My family too sold off the couple of houses we owned and put the money in some dud investments such as nidhis and chit funds. So, I live in a rented house in a Delhi suburb.
Gold has never lured me. Nor has any other metal or commodity. I never understood art, so it was not a serious investment option. Since I have worked as a consultant for years, Provident Fund was never on my radar. I kept breaking fixed deposits to enjoy the present; twice, I financed overseas holidays with this money. Therefore, my future is completely insecure (except for medical insurance of a measly amount). In 2009, I have to change this. And I resolve to do so earnestly. I just hope I don’t lose my job!