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Do you need a Financial Plan?

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Do you need a Financial Plan???

Do you have a Dream?

Mr. Intikhab Chougle,
Associate Vice-President,
HSBC India

One of my most memorable incidents of my younger days is when I met with an accident, when my right foot almost got crushed by a public transport bus and I was thrown into a hospital without having an idea as to what my future will be. There were many questions that kept me haunting in my thoughts process, things like will I be able to walk normally, can I be like my peers or will I have permanent disability, will I be able to stand in a midst of crowd without people knowing about my shortfall.

That was a time when with every session of my treatment with doctor I kept getting into more and more depression. Then one evening it all changed for me, I was as usual lying on the hospital bed and was looking at the ceiling when one of my uncle who was close to my heart and had a very positive impact on the life of me and few of my friends. During that visit, we simply chatted about many things and he shared few of his experiences of life and provided terrific insights on life and how it was important to believe in yourself if you wanted to do something in life. His point was very clear ‘Nothing in life is impossible if backed by your honest efforts and proper neeyat, Allah too blesses the ones who work hard towards your goals in life’.


In my past write-ups I have always said that every individual is a different person and will have to assess their needs and requirements based on their past experiences and future expectations. I can try and share few important aspects that can be considered to write a customised financial plan for you. It is helpful if you make a structured approach towards planning and hence plan the essentials to the maximum possible extent:

Establish Your Goals

The first step is to figure out exactly what you want in life. Think about the kind of life you want to live. Think about the location, the size of the home, the car you want to drive after retirement, the education you want to give your children— think of everything remotely related to finance. Don’t be afraid to dream — you only live once.

Your goals could include:

  • Education for your children – What is the kind off education you want to impart to your children? Would they be going for Professional Studies? What is the kind of expenses involved and how will you provide for the same?
  • Occupation – You might want to start a business after completing few years in your existing occupation, explore the possibilities and the requirements of your dream occupation.
  • Lifestyle - how do you want to spend your life? Are you fine with “simpler living?” Does your life have to be filled with activities and hobbies? What kind of vehicle do you need/want? These all cost money, and must be factored. Discover what your income must be to achieve your lifestyle goals.
  • Residence - Where do you want to live or make your house? What size of a home do you want? You’ll have to do the research to figure out how much it costs.
  • Retirement - After you calculate the above, you’ll need to factor in retirement. How do you want to live while retired? Will you live with family? What will be the tentative expenses required?
  • Insurance - One of the few things that are certain in life is that nothing is certain in life. You need to be insured for worst case scenarios. Insurance can be considered an essential part of financial security.

Chances are that if planned correctly, it will costs you much less to achieve your life goals than you’d think. Even if you plan a life of monthly vacations, the amount of money you’ll actually need to achieve your goals will be relatively short.

Plan Your Income

Of course, your financial plan isn’t just about your dreams. You’ll have to pay for it all in some manner. Though it’s possible to continue the same job forever, it doesn’t usually happen. It’s a fact: people change jobs all the time. Some people even start their own businesses, sell their skill via freelance work, or find other methods of income.

The three most popular options of earning your Income are:

  • Career - You get a job suiting your capabilities and work hard up the ladder to prosperity. This is almost always a good idea, with a few exceptions. A vast majority of those who need a financial plan need to emphasize their career while planning.
  • Business - Business isn’t just for those with fancy MBAs and market connections. Starting your business might open up the possibilities to earn without any limits.
  • Investing. Investing is one of the most powerful ways to build an income. Rather than focusing on getting new money, investing is simply exponentially growing the money you already have. You can buy gold, purchase real estate, the mutual funds or others.

Regardless if you are a business owner or an employee, you should unleash the power of exponential to make more money to achieve your goals. Even putting your money into a Fixed Deposit account is better than letting your money sit idly in an account.

It’s not good enough to just know what you want, that’s just the first step of planning. The actual plan comes in the form of knowing how you’ll get there and when you’ll get there.

Establish a timeline

Where do you want to be in five years? Ten? Thirty? Establish how you plan your financial life will look like at these points. Factor the below information and criteria into your plan:

1. Research necessary costs. Your current “bills” plus X% inflation per year. Don’t forget to factor in all your expenses that you will think will continue to stay with you.

2. Research luxury costs. Figure out what kind of money you’ll need to live the lifestyle you want. Cars, nice house, Higher Education for children can be considered a luxury cost, etc, you’ll need to factor this in as well.

3. Plot income strategy. For most, this simply means factoring in salaries. But don’t forget that your job isn’t your only means of income. Starting a side business, a money making hobby, or even making money online are options for income and extra income.

Plan Investments

Investing is simply a must to counteract against inflation. You can invest in stocks, mutual funds, bonds, real estate and gold. Just make sure you know what you’re doing, and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. As you age, financial security should become more and more important.

Remember to factor in every cost and possible incomes. Whenever you aren’t sure how the numbers will add up, be a little pessimistic — it’s safer that way.

You have to be rational enough to assess your current situation, creative enough to see what is possible, and have the integrity to follow through with the plan. Remember, just because it’s a plan it doesn’t mean it will happen — you have to decide to follow through and live up to your goals. This is the hardest part, and the one that trips most up.

Remember, it’s not about the money — it’s about getting what you want out of life. Money is just the tool.

Mr. Intikhab Chougle, is Associate Vice President with HSBC Group in India and has been a retail banker for past 11 years. He has completed his Bachelors in Commerce from Mumbai University and is currently pursuing his MBA with major in 'Banking & Finance'. With a total working experience of close to 15 years in Mumbai, he has been an active member in social service in Mumbai for promoting causes like 'education for girl child' and promoting medical assistance for old and deserving people. He has also traveled to Malaysia, Paris, a part of UAE market for professional reasons and has acquired vast market knowledge about investments and business approaches adopted in different markets.

He believes, it is very important that we must return back to the community what we have earned and learned from the society and hence is willing to extend his support to the people who would want to seek his expertise in setting and achieving their financial goals.

He can be reached on his email id This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: As part of our mission to provide our users with valuable information about matters of job, health, investments etc., iKokani actively seeks a diversity of viewpoints in its columns, consultancy, commentaries and other opinion-based content. Opinions expressed in these articles are not intended to represent iKokani editorial policy and do not necessarily reflect the views of iKokani's staff, members or supporters.

Comments (2)
Thank You
2Thursday, 03 March 2011 08:28
Intikhab Chougle
Appreciate your kind words Mr.Wagle.

I hope this sharing of expirience is of help to pople reading the same.

Do You need a Financial Plan?
1Wednesday, 02 March 2011 12:51
Ashfaque Wagle
A article right on the track, cutting across all income groups. Needless to say we all do need to plan in our own ways.

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