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5 Financial Mistakes Our Parents Made

Manvi Agarwal

Investments have evolved over the years and have become more dynamic with the passage of time. However, our parents invested is very different from how we could or shuld invest. Here are 5 financial mistakes that are parents made.

1. Not paying for financial advice

I'm sure, even now, our parents would advise us against it. I can just imagine my uncle whose usually glued to CNBC yelling, 'what advice do you need, I'll help you. no need to pay someone for it.' or my mum calling me, 'ask your friend what insurance we should opt for?'

Most probably think they don't need it. Let alone pay for it.

But what they fail to understand is that financial planning isn't about just about investments. It's about all aspects of financial planning of an individual's life - budgeting, investments, insurance and tax planning.

What we don't realize is that the cost of free advice can be very high. Even if we pay a little extra we might just be able to pick a mutual fund which will give us an extra 2% return. Which is a lot and can help fund our retirement.

2. Not Contributing enough towards Retirement

Planning for retirement was always considered a faint notion. It was never really planned or even discussed. Why? Probably because Indians always relied on the joint family system. That their kids or siblings will look after them in their old age. Who needs retirement money?

I don't think this argument will fly today. And why should it? It's always best to be independent, at any age.

The key to planning for retirement is - start early. Even if it's with smaller amounts of money. Keep inflation in mind. Your return on investments have to match that at least. Allow the investments to grow and enjoy the magic of compounding.

3. No insurance

The fairly large amounts of monthly insurance premium payments have always been a huge demotivator for the older generation to buy an insurance plan. Especially, when they would look over, and realize they did not visit the doctor at all or just once a year.

Sure, there have been years when we rarely use our health insurance. But the time when we actually admit a family member to the hospital, insurance is godsend.

We can never predict what's going to happen. Insurance protects us in the event that disaster strikes unexpectedly.

Life insurance, on the other hand, was never really taken seriously either. The fallback option was the joint family system.

With life insurance, the key is to never mix insurance with investments. Keep them at an arm's length. Stick to simple term plans. These will offer pure insurance coverage and not invest your money in any kind of financial instruments. With medical insurance, ensure you have an adequate insurance plan that covers all your needs.

4. Not Saving and Investing early enough

Not saving enough of their monthly income is probably one of the biggest regrets most people have. The other being, not saving early enough. Saving, as a concept was never really introduced or discussed as we were growing up.

We live but only once. It's tempting to follow this rule when we are young and spend most of our income. But keep in mind, we don't know what tomorrow holds.

The earlier you get started as an investor, the better. Failing to save can make our life harder in several ways. It can easily land us up in debt. Savings help build a cushion of sorts. It provides protection in time of unforeseen events, like accidents, major repair in the house etc. without the cushion we end up borrowing.

Savings also help us achieve our long-term goals. Without it we can never aim for buying a house, new car, pay for a child's education or even retire in peace.

5. Not investing in Hindustan Unilever in the ’90s. If only! 

Or ITC, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra, Reliance Industries, Tata Motors, Tata Steel. Anyone from that generation who has been lucky enough to invest and hold even a small portion of their wealth in either of these stocks would tell you that it was the best idea of their life.

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