Sunday, February 28, 2010

why is holi celebrated?

I am busy preparing snacks for Holi tomorrow.
So just copying the story from Wiki.

As per Hindu Mythology, Hiranyakashipu is the king of demons, and he had been granted a boon by Brahma, which made it almost impossible for him to be killed. The boon was due to his long penance, after which he had demanded that he not be killed "during day or night; inside the home or outside, not on earth or on sky; neither by a man nor an animal; neither by astra nor by shastra". Consequently, he grew arrogant, and attacked the Heavens and the Earth. He demanded that people stop worshipping gods and start praying to him.

Despite this, Hiranyakashipu's own son, (Prahlada), was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. In spite of several threats from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continued offering prayers to Lord Vishnu. He was poisoned but the poison turned to nectar in his mouth. He was ordered to be trampled by elephants yet remained unharmed. He was put in a room with hungry, poisonous snakes and survived. All of Hiranyakashipu's attempts to kill his son failed. Finally, he ordered young Prahlada to sit on a pyre on the lap of his sister, Holika, who could not die by fire by virtue of a shawl which would prevent fire affecting the person wearing it. Prahlada readily accepted his father's orders, and prayed to Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as the shawl flew from Holika, who then was burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed, after the shawl moved to cover him. The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi.

Radha and the Gopis celebrating Holi, with accompaniment of music instrumentsLater Lord Vishnu came in the form of a Narasimha (who is half-man and half-lion) and killed Hiranyakashipu at dusk (which was neither day nor night), on the steps of the porch of his house (which was neither inside the house nor outside) by restraining him on his lap (which is neither in the sky nor on the earth) and mauling him with his claws (which are neither astra nor shastra).

how indians celebrate holi?

Holi is festival of colors, so colors of course play an important role in how Holi is played.

In most of the places in India, on pen-ultimate eve of Holi, a bonfire is carried out. Holi bonfire is also known as Holika Dahan. It symbolizes the fire which burnt Holika and left Prahlad unaffected.

On next day, Holi is celebrated, also known as dulhendi, using colors and water. People color each other's face with gulal of different colors. Next comes squirting of colored water using pichkaris and balloons filled with water.

In Barsana, UP, people play Lath Mar Holi in premises of Radha Rani temple. Females beat up men with sticks and men try to protect with shields. It's one of the most famous Holi's of India. Lots of people visit barsana to take part in Lath Mar Holi.

Traditional food for Holi eve is Gujjia and Thandai with Bhang.

2010 Goals Tracking - February End

These are my goals for 2010.
1)Continue learning new dishes to cook. One new dish per week.
2)Continue to be on budget.
3)Start saving for prepayment of mortgage. 2L should be saved for same.
4)Contribute to retirement as per the plan.
5)Be less obsessive on daily tracking of things.
6)Learn to swim.
7)Improve healthy eating.
8)Earning Rs 50250 (2010*25) extra in 2010

It's February end and let's see how am I fairing in these goals.
Goal 1 - Cooking - FAIL - I restarted cooking but not any new dishes yet.
Goal 2 - Budget - PASS.
Goal 3 - Save for Mortgage - FAIL - well had some un-planned medical things. Yes things go unplanned in my life too. :)
Goal 4 - Save for Retirement - PASS - I never miss this, touch wood.
Goal 5 - Obsession for tracking - PASS - I really made a progress. I only opened my excel sheet once in a day for most of the days and not opened it completely for 5 days in one month. This is my first time. WOW!
Goal 6 - Swimming - Don't Know - This can only be done in summers.
Goal 7 - Healthy Eating - PASS - I once again restarted my healthy eating regime, I mainly need it because I have gastric problems and if I don't take my smal meals, I am dead.
Goal 8 - Extra Earnings - PASS - This time I seriously thought that it is going to be impossible to meet my extra earnings goal and then dividend from one of my favourite share, made my month.

January Recap

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Secrets to Sound Financial Health

I love managing money. I love tracking expenses. Almost daily I track my expenses in excel sheet. Every time I get paid, I setup necessary transfers to various savings accounts for different savings goal. I spend time to make sure that there are sufficient funds in respective bank accounts so that none of the ECS or cheques gets bounce.

So, I am always in control of my money. My daily tracking makes sure that I am never spending more then what I am earning, I am not paying any unnecessary late fees on bills or any bank charges because of bounced cheque or ECS. But only this is not sufficient for my financial health.

A key aspect in Sound Financial Health is that one should know where one wants to be in next 10-15 years. One should know that what are his financial goals that he wants to achieve in next 10-15 years. The compiled list of long and mid term goals is the first step that is required before they can be achieved.

Once these are set, it's important that other then tracking expenses and setting up transfers, one spends some time understanding various tools how these goals can be achieved. If you don't know anything about real-estate market and one of your goals is to buy a house in next 5 years, then please make yourself aware with know-how of dealing in real estate. Same goes with Stock Markets, take out some time and read from Internet or so many good books on investing.

And as the last thing, do review your progress on the goals on fixed intervals, say every 6 months.

This along with managing expenses on daily bases will give you good and sound financial health.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Women as important as extra salt in food

I have the allure for childhood. I am, as always, swayed that childhood is the best phase in your life. Whatever you learn there, will always be with you. It is like a footprint of your life and all other phases are mere caricature with respect to the footprint. I think that is the reason, every time something I find interesting enough to write about, at the same time something from my old memories come and I can draw a parallel.

So here I am, once again to contemplate my thoughts, about something and draw a parallel. I think this is my way of judging, though it feels like a hypocrite as I always condemn sagacity. :)

“Once there was a donkey, his master and master’s little son. One day they all were going somewhere, and master and son were walking beside the donkey. A passerby passed and commented, ‘what a fool. Why can’t they ride donkey!’ Father immediately ordered his son to get on donkey’s back. After traveling some distance, another passerby passed and commented, ‘what a shame! Old father is on foot and son is riding on donkey.’ After listening to the comment, father and son changed their respective positions. So good so far! NO! Another passerby commented ‘what a shame, small kid is walking and father is having nice smooth journey.’ Both of them then sat on donkey’s back and least to say that donkey died soon. But story continues, passerby still commented, ‘cruel people, killed an innocent animal! ”

In school or from your grand mothers and aunts, all of us must have heard about this story. This is again one of the stories that I have learnt a lot from. Erudition stands the test of time and still holds legitimate. In the circumstances you are caught in your life, many times you have multiple picks to choose from and choice is purely yours. But, no matter what you choose, there will always be passerby that will comment. So the basic idea to survival is not to be bogged down by such passerby’s but rather be firm on your choice. Remember they are only passerby and no matter how much importance they might affix to themselves, they are only as important as extra salt in food. :lol:

Now coming to the point, which reminded me of this story, well plenty! But maximum credit will go to a woman who thinks that she is a judge and for me she is again as important as passerby, or may be even less than that. She is [B][I]somehow caught [/I][/B]in a successful love marriage and has full right to comment on anyone’s love life. Every time she will see some couple together, she will pass a judgment about the future of their providence. I think it’s not exceptional, as most of the Indians have this as their darling past time. If a couple manage to be with each other perpetually, she will tell you all the tales about how much compromise that girl or boy has done for this marriage and how this alliance is mostly a concession. And if, god forbid, couple separates, then she announces that ‘they are never bound to be together. I never gave any approval to this relationship.’ As if it’s their acceptance that dictates your relationship. :yuck: What these type of women doesn’t understand is that probably they are themselves self-doubting and most of the times themselves busy getting acceptance from their near ones. May GOD grant them same so that others psyche may rest in tranquility.

And always commit to memory, no matter what track you may pick, you will get these types of women or men to pass judgment on. Again the idea is not to be bogged down by these miniatures but to move on.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How Healthy is your Debt Management?

Take FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Debt Management? at WiseBread.

Find mine answers below.

Knowledge / Awareness
I know how much I owe and to whom, and what each interest rate is. - Yes

I understand the difference between secured and unsecured debt. - Yes

I understand the difference between good debt and bad debt. - Yes

If my mortgage interest rate increased, I could easily handle the increase in payments. - Yes

I never get payday loans. - Yes

I know the difference between a line of credit, credit card, and fixed loan. - Yes

Credit Cards - I don't have one so I'll mark all as Yes. :)
I don’t charge anything new to my credit card if there is a balance outstanding. - Yes

I never use my credit card for cash advances. - Yes

I understand the consequences of making only minimum payments on credit card debt. - Yes

I will use one credit card to pay off another only if it is a 0% interest balance transfer deal and I can pay it off in full before the rates increase. - Yes

I never carry a balance on department store credit cards if there are interest charges or fees. - Yes

Transactions - Here I am replacing use of credit card with debit cards to answer.
I negotiate interest rates and/or annual fees with credit card companies, mortgage issuers, and other lenders. - Yes

I pay the entire balance on my credit card each month, before interest is charged. - Yes

If for some reason I miss a debt payment, I immediately call the lender to advise them of what happened to reduce or eliminate fees and penalties. - Yes

Security - Here I am replacing use of credit card with debit cards to answer.
I check my credit card statement every month for suspicious activity or incorrect charges. - Yes

I have a list of all my credit card numbers, and phone numbers to call if they are lost or stolen. - Yes

Credit Rating - skipping.

So, I scored quite well. :) How about you, share your score.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


There was a subject that dreaded me throughout my school life, history. Studying history used to be a nightmare for initial years of my life. People love going to college for several reasons, but I loved it most because it meant getting rid of history. Well, that’s then. As they say, history repeats, I again had to study history and even teach it this time, to my 8-year-old son. This was nightmare revisited initially, but I started enjoying it after few lessons.

I was teaching him part of history that portrays one of the most remarkable events of Indian past, revolt of 1857. While I was teaching him all the events, dates, circumstances of the era, he asked me an innocent question: “Dad, British people tortured us brutally for so long even before 1857, then what do you consider as the major error on their part, that otherwise least bothered Indians, all of the sudden did everything to get themselves free?” Honestly, I never thought about this before, but when he asked, answer came almost immediately to me. “It's religion beta. We are very tolerable breed otherwise. We can tolerate any inhumanity, violence, and callousness but when it comes to religion, we can be worst rebellion, revert back and do anything to take the revenge. We consider ourselves to be Hindu’s or Muslim’s first and after that anything else, even human being. Had British people never used cow and pig fat in their bullet cartridges, they would have been still ruling India. We can endure if someone sneaks our dignity, if he refuses to give us our basic human rights, but we can’t take that on our religion.” And at that my 8 year old son replied, “What a shame dad. And last year they taught us in history that we were the most advanced nation at one time. I am glad that I am born in more civilized society.”

That night I was thinking about my son’s remark, “more civilized society” and wondered how true or untrue it is. We are still same barbaric breed that can tolerate any inhumanity and will hardly fight for what’s right but can claim hundred of innocent lives in the name of religion. Since freedom, India has seen so many small or big religious riots. Our society has no time to convict criminals who do inhuman deeds but we can still kill anyone for religion. Religion comes before anything here. No one's life, no one’s happiness, and no one’s peace are important to us compared to our religion. We still discriminate based on caste, religion and even sex. We still go for kundli match before going for a marriage, and are least concerned about prospects of real match. Inter caste and inter religion marriage is still a taboo in our society. Who says we are free? We as Indians were never free. Caste, religion and superstitions always ruled us. We are completely ruled by these rulers and never tried to free ourselves from these evils. Till we don’t free ourselves from them as a whole, we are still slaves, slave to inhumanity.

Can we wish that at least our future generation would live in real free society? What do you say?

woo hoo

A small milestone..
I posted my 150th post today.. woohoo
I almost thought I never ever will be able to do that. :)

Net Worth

I was still working on this one and my lappy mis-behaved and it got posted un-cooked.
So I pulled it pack.
Now it's well cooked, so I am reposting same. :)


I know lots of PF blogger who calculate their Net Worth and check/update it periodically. I found this idea little intriguing because this idea is Non-Indian as per my values. I mean if I'll tell somebody that tomorrow if I need to sell myself, my cost will be XXX Rs, he is not going to talk to me again for sure. And in case some guy will talk like this, people will definitely think that he is talking about the amount of dowry he expects. :P

Irrespective of what I think, people do it and according to them it's a good number that tells you where you stand currently, in financial terms. So, I thought, it might be interesting to do a post on something I am not enthusiastic about.

Net worth in simple words mean what's the value of all assets you have. (If you ever get kidnapped, this number will help your kidnappers in deciding how much ransom they can demand for you :).) From personal finance perspective, it will let you know where you stand today and in case you know where you want to end financially, you can determine the difference. Once you know the value of all the assets you own, you can also decide how much risk you can take or how much insurance you might need to protect your assets.

Formula for Net Worth:
Net Worth = Value of all assets - Value of all liabilities

Thumb rule for Net Worth is: your net worth should be your age times your salary, divided by ten.

For example:
Age: 35 Yrs
Annual Salary: Rs 8 Lakh (800 Thousand)
Ideal Net Worth: (35*800000)/10 = Rs. 28, 00,000(Rs 28 Lakhs).

According to the thumb rule, if your net worth is around Rs 28 Lakhs, you are doing good, else buck up.

P.S. The formula and thumb rule, both are taken from a book, The Millionaire Next Door.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Money vis-a-vis Happiness

Have you ever come across a story where a rich man, or shall I say super-rich man, gives away everything in charity in order to find peace and happiness. Well I have come across many such stories and recently read one at GRS.

After reading these stories one tends to think that money is all non-sense and that money has absolutely no relation to happiness or money is all evil that brings sadness. Am I Right?

No, that's incorrect. Answer this, have you ever come across a poor man, who has never been rich, claiming that he doesn't want more money or doesn't thinks that money can make him more happy? My honest answer is NO.

So how one does relates these two findings? One who has money thinks money is responsible for his non-happiness and other who has no money thinks money can make him happy?

I think that it is all about balanced view of money. Money's presence or absence can't make you happy or miserable. Money is a tool. If you have money you have a choice to outsource few things that you don't want to do yourself and hence buy time for things that you enjoy. Thus, money is indeed making you happier. But what people generally forget is that money is a tool to make you happy. Just acquiring wealth and not enjoying the life in the process is not going to make you happier.

What do you think; is money evil or an absolute must?

Monday, February 22, 2010


One morning when I got up I felt very light. When I looked at my self in the mirror, I looked as young as I always wanted to be, I looked as child as I always wanted to be. I was amused! I went out and saw huge crowd gathered at my place. All were dressed in light colored clothes; most of them looked very upset. I moved further and saw my only son is in tears and I wondered why as I know him as one of the strong kids. My heart was heavy by now, and when I moved to the last step of main room, I almost fainted, though no one noticed that I did. I saw my wife was in unbearable pain; her eyes were full of void and not tears, her forehead was not having any kumkum. My eyes could see it, but my heart could not believe the fact that I was dead.

They cried in front of me, took me away from the home that I have made after years of hard work, burnt me and I was only a spectator, a mute spectator. I couldn’t bear my agony any more and to the same was adding the pain of my loved ones. I thought to myself that someone is answerable to me now, and it has to answer me that why those are punished who did nothing wrong and loved me unconditionally. And I moved up having all the doubts and anger in myself. Now I was no more feeling light. When I looked myself in mirror I looked as old as I never wanted to be.

Up there I showed all kind of possible tantrums that I could. I denied co-operating up there for till I’ll not get answer of my questions. Finally it also gave up, as I was known here too for my persuading skills. I got a one to one appointment. I went there with my nose high up in the sky as I had done enough homework to prove that it was unjustified to kill me like this, if not for me then at least for my loved ones. We had big argument. It was trying to convince me that though I am one of its favorite children, and can do any thing for me, but I should not try to change what’s destiny. But I refused it, and then again refused it and refused it till the point it agreed to grant me my wish.

“So you really want to change destiny, absolutely sure?” it was almost last confirmation. “Yes!” I said affirmatively. Ok, “I’ll give you one more chance; go back in your world. Be in invisible mode for one day and tell me tomorrow if you want to be there permanently!” I was delighted by this call, and thought that my pain and pains of my loved ones is just one more daylong. That day, before returning to my world, I had the longest bath, used the best perfume, and was desperately waiting for coming back.

Alas, I thought, I shouldn’t have come back here, I said to myself just after few hours of my returning back. When I left, everyone was sad, was upset. But, now the whole scene is different. All are happy, are settled in their lives. My son is happy of all his new responsibilities and role. My wife is happy thinking of having some one new in her life. My friends, my dog, my family, all were happy and moving on well. And I thought how they would be living in my absence! Ah, “I am such a big fool,” I told to myself. This all made me feel very un-important.

I returned back with a heavy heart, all filled with sorrow and tears. I wished I could die once more and forget about the pain that I am currently going through. I went there to tell that would I really like to have reincarnation. I went there with my sloping shoulders, with my head down, with all tears in my eyes and just said one word, “No”. “But why?” it asked rather sarcastically. “No one needs me there that was my mistake.” “And you are making another one just now”, came a fast reply. I looked up; today for the first time, and the remark was not a comment but rather had some strange explanation in it! “Yes, my son. You made the first mistake by thinking that they will never be able to live without you and now you are making second mistake when after seeing them all happy you are judging that they never truly loved or needed you. You saw the right things both the times, but judged them incorrectly both the times. When you were alive and were there with them, they loved and needed you as much as they could. When you died, that was your destiny. They were sad; as they lost someone they loved. But then, death was your destiny and not theirs. They had to move on and that’s what they did. Now when they have restarted their lives without you, it doesn’t mean that there love at first was in any case fake. The only point is that things do change with time. No one is indispensable. And that’s the biggest mistake all human beings can ever commit, thinking that they are really indispensable. Do the best that you can do at any place at any time, but leave the rest and don’t be worried about future. Don’t judge past with current or predict future with current. Live in today and always know one thing there is nothing and no one actually indispensable in this world.”

I felt light again, “Can I please hug you once!” I said and got a gift of death time at that moment. There was no more pain, sorrow or tears now. I was happy, ever after that.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Emergency Fund

Emergency fund according to me is a building block in personal finance. It's needed to that your financial structure doesn't come down when a 4 Ritcher scale earthquake hits. Emergency fund helps you absorb little ups-downs of life.

All the PF guru's I read advocate that 3-6 months of expenses should be kept aside as emergency fund. Manshu from OneMint recently confessed that he never does this. Well, I like to keep at least 3 EMIs of my mortgage aside as emergency fund. That's sufficient for me to sleep peacefully at night. Now, you will say my EF doesn't cover my other expenses. Yes and there are reasons for same.

Dual Income - We both earn. In case one of us lose jobs, other's salary will be there to cover our daily expenses. So it's mainly mortgage payment that we might struggle with at that time.

No Kids - We have no kids as of now and hence not lot's of unforeseen expenses at least theoretically.

Job Security - My organization has done quite OK in this recession time. It feels to work in there quite secure as compared to other companies of my domain.

Family Support - We both have a supportive family. I know in case of some big adversity, I have people to fallback on. This for sure gives a secure feeling.

How about you? How much EF do you keep? What factors determine your EF amount?

IDFC repeats the saga of HDFC fund house

I shared in my previous post how fund house or CAMS delayed sending ECS mandate form to my bank and I had hard time understanding the reasons.

IDFC fund house repeated this saga for me. On 15th when my HDFC ECS bounced, I was worried for IDFC ECS, which was due on 18th and mandate form was still not available with my bank. I called IDFC fund house almost 5 times in two days politely requesting them to tell me the status of ECS mandate form. They kept on telling me that they will get back to me in 1-2 hours but never called back. Hence, I had to make 5 calls for same. Then on 17th evening, I requested them to please stop the ECS for tomorrow. Guy told me he will call me back in 2 hours but I never got a call back.

Result of ridiculous customer service of IDFC fund house, I paid service charges for my bounced ECS. I can only wish that there are more entities like ABN Amro Bank.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

About Me..

E-Identity is now a day’s as vital as or probably more vital then your real individuality. And not just the social networking sites, there are so many other places on the Internet, that asks to create an account with them first, and then only privileges you with their services. Almost all of such places ask you to fill some personal details, most trendy being "About Me, Phone Number and Email Address".

And, on personal note, the most annoying of them all for me is "About Me"! Why the hell they, or for that matter any body on this earth, want to know about me before they will let me download a song, or a book, or before they will let me read some technical article! I almost never fill that column, or always give some very useless information there, latter because I don't know what useful can fit in there.

Recently after skipping something similar, I was wondering about why they always have that column there and why I always dismay it. Of course my mind was more probing about later probably because that’s related to me unlike the first one. Then after pondering too much over it, I resolved that I’ll not contempt the column next time and will indisputably answer it. So, I started filling it and it went like this:

I am a girl, probably an average looking (or may be worse then average) girl, have no special talents, have no special aim in life, have no special dreams left.” This is quite bad, no? Yes, but that’s what I am and that also answers my curiosity of why I hate those columns, because I have nothing special to pack in there. I am no celebrity, no billionaire, and then what to write in there.

But this all certainly doesn’t mean that I am a meager girl. I had my share of struggle to be where I am today. I have worked very hard, like all of us do. My story can be a common one for everybody but it’s very close to my heart. I am proud of the fact that I have done all my schooling from Government School. I am very proud that I have excelled in almost all the jobs I have done so far, be it my call center days, my TAship days or now my software engineering days. I am proud of the fact that I was a topper in my graduation, from being one of the students who failed in social studies in 7th standard. And I am absolutely obsessed about my team standing second in, which changed my life, Telescope Making Workshop, Nehru Planetarium.

I also had my share of controversies. My every step has been controversial in one way or other. During my admission to first standard, I was interviewed three times and then given the admission, because authorities have doubt that I am underage and won’t be able to perform in 1st standard. I was interviewed three times for my first job, and four rigorous technical interviews for my current job. I fought with the most respected professor of my college in front of whole faculty to get my masters admission. And in all the controversies, I am simply uninterested in sharing the problems I faced during my marriage, both personally and professionally.

I have my share of courage acts, for instance taking admission in physics honors when I almost failed in Physics in 12th standard. I was admitted in hospital when I took admission in my graduation. I fought single handedly with my lead to make him accept my resignation.

I have so much more to write that, as my husband says, I can write a book. But why should I do that? I am a part of this universe which has billions and billions of galaxies, one of which is Milky Way, where in we have many solar systems, where in we have one earth and one non-existent me. Thanks but no thanks, that is all about me, “A part of this Infinite Universe.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cash Back Rewards – Debit Cards

Cards are in, but hey you said you are against credit cards. Did I hear you saying this? Right, but I am still against credit cards. All my friends who use credit cards never ever leave an option to tell me the advantages of credit cards; biggest of them is rewards system. But I never miss rewards options. You asked how? Continue reading...

I always mix use of debit card along with cash, for my monthly home expenses. I have a separate account, where in I always deposit the money that I intend to spend for this month. I take out some money as cash, and rest all is there in the account. Wherever possible, I pay through my debit card and earn reward points.

I have bank accounts in ICICI and ABN, but I use ABN’s debit card for this. I love their reward points. They give me 2 points for every Rs. 100 spent. And once I have 500 points accumulated, I can get back Rs. 399. Simple calculation reveals that this is 1.5% cash back. Not bad at all! The only thing I loose here is that at petrol pump I have to pay cash, because it has service charge to use card.

ICICI also has a debit card but I hardly use that when buying something. Reason it provides rewards through imint and you can only get stuff from there that too after accumulating for very huge numbers of rewards points. For example, last month I saw that so far, I have accumulated some 1400+ points there and when I tried redeeming them, I had very less options. Finally, to use them before they expire, I opted for a Shawl from them, and it was as bad I expected it to be. If I would have same points in ABN card, I would have got some 1000 bucks, much more then gift I got from imint.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fund Houses in NOIDA

Principal MF
307 Jaipuria Plaza,
D 68 A, 2nd Floor, Opp Delhi Public School,
Sector 26,
Noida - 201301

Reliance MF
Reliance Capital Asset Management Limited
Shop No. 1, Gound Floor,
Ansal Fortune Arcade,
Secotor, 18,
Noida, - 201301
Tel. No. : 0120 - 2514729

HDFC Asset Management Company Limited
K-24/25, Premises No. 36 & 37,
Pearl Plaza, Sector-18,
Noida - 201 301
Tel No.: 60006767 (Do not prefix STD code) / 18002336767 (Toll-free)
Fax No.: (0120) 3980610

ICICI Prudential
F-25, 26 & 27, First Floor
Savitri market, Sector-18
Noida - 201301
Toll Free Nos. 1800 222 999(BSNL/MTNL) / 1800 200 6666(Other Service Providers)

sbimf investor service desk gf- 07,
ansal fortune arcade sec-18,
Tel/Fax : (0120)4232214
Cell : 9999029356

Ground Floor, 8,
Ansals Fortune Arcade,
Sector - 18,
Noida – 201 301
Telephone (0120) 6455819/ 4279189

No Branch in NOIDA for following Fund Houses:
Canara Robecco
DSP Black Rock
Fidelity India
Franklin Templeton
DBS Chola

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What will you do with unexpected windfall of money?

Let's assume you had a windfall, or may be someone gifted you Rs. 10,000. Now, what would you do with the money?

One option is that you can spend that money on wants/needs. How about new dress, new movie, nice dinner?

Other option is that you can save it for future. Save it somewhere in your house so that it can be used when you are out of cash.

And one more option would be to invest it for future. This money came unexpectedly after all, so today's life can run smoothly without same but it might help in future. So, let it grow for future. Now, if you decide to invest it for future, again there are two options to decide which bucket of investment:

1) Safe Investment - You do not mind if the returns of your investment are less, you anyhow don't want to lose money. For example a Fixed Deposit.
2) Risky Investment - You are ready to take little risk with the money in lieu of possibility of higher returns. After all, this Rs 10,000 was never there to start with.

If this happens to you, what will you choose?
None of the approaches is wrong; it just shows your outlook towards money.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to buy Mutual Funds directly through Fund Houses

I bought first Mutual Fund through a Fund House directly in Feburary 2008 and have never looked back. Personally, I find it convenient and very personal way of buying Mutual Funds. If you want to buy a mutual fund or open a SIP directly through fund house, please take care of following things:

  • If this is the first time you are buying Mutual Fund of this Company, carry a Xeroxed copy of your PAN Card.

  • If buying for the first time, and investing more then Rs 50000, please take one photograph of yours and proof of permanent residential address. It’s required to fill KYC (Know Your Customer) form.

  • Also, for the first time buyers, it is necessary to carry original PAN Card because it will be verified while submitting the form.

  • If you already have some mutual fund from this company, carry your folio number. New units can be bought against same folio number.

  • Different Mutual Funds of same company can be bought under same folio number. For example, if you currently have Reliance Equity Mutual Fund and planning to but Reliance Regular Savings Fund, same folio number can be used.

  • In the form, "Agent that you are buying from" field should be marked as Direct.

  • Carry at least one cheque.

  • Carry post dated cheques if you don't want to allow ECS through your bank account and want to open a SIP.

  • Know the MICR code of your bank. It’s the nine digit code in the cheque just after cheque number.

  • If your MICR code is starting with 00, it is incorrect due to some reason, most probably because your cheque is "At Par". Please get the correct MICR code, as otherwise ECS will not be possible.

    Keep all these points in mind and you can buy a Mutual Fund in 10 minutes.
  • Monday, February 15, 2010


    I re-organized spiritual corner of my house. It's my most favorite corner of the house. Now it has my personal touch and I live it much more then before I used to do.

    This is how it looks from front after re-organizing:

    And some of the photos that hang just above this look like this:

    And, finally how it looks from the side, from where I enter.

    I hope this gives you as much peace as it gives me.

    P.S. This is my personal space and I would not like any comment on objects there.

    ECS mandate form costed me heavily

    Personal finance always has something new to teach me.

    I am using ECS for like ages now; I mean for last 4 years, I never felt I can go wrong with them. And yet, today I saw one of my newly opened ECS bouncing and heavy service charges being levied. Do I need to say it's lose-lose situation for me? My planned investment is not happening and I am charged for same.

    I immediately called my bank, ABN AMRO and the customer representative, Abhishek, there was more then a helping person.

    He explained me in detail that why it got bounced, because debiting party, i.e. the HDFC Fund House, was supposed to send an ECS mandate form to my bank. They delayed it on their part. In fact my bank received it later in the day.

    Then he also checked for me if other two fund houses, whose SIPs are also supposed to be debited from my account through ECS, has submitted ECS mandate form or not. Well, just for fact Reliance has done this favor to me but not IDFC.

    Next he explained that what are the possibility, pros and cons of doing it on my own in case IDFC also delays it. In case IDFC's mandate form reaches late, I have to pay one more penalty. :(

    And, without me even asking, he raised a complaint to re-consider the charges levied to me. WOW!

    That's called customer care that is very rare.

    But now to ECS, please bear in mind that ECS mandate is important in case of ECS-Debit transactions and make sure that beneficiary or you submit the same well in time.

    I'll keep you all updated about what happens next. In the mean time, my fingers are crossed. I just hope that IDFC send ECS mandate on time, for my sake please. :(

    Update: The money that was taken from my account as service charge for bounced ECS is refunded back to my account.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Living below your means

    I read this article recently on LivingAlmostLarge about living below your means and living within your means. This reminded me of my past and how different phases of my life I have lived differently.

    All through my student life, I have lived within my means so that I never run out of my pocket/earned money and need to ask it again from dad in between of month. I used to have very little money at that time and hence lining below means was certainly impossible when living within means was a challenge in itself.

    After finishing my education, I started working full time. After little spending spree, I started living below my means. I made it a practice to save 50% of what I earn. In the process I have fallen off the path many times. Many a month I splurge on clothes or nice vacations, but it happens once in a while. When I look back at my nest-egg I feel happy that I can survive for few months if I lose my job, I feel happy that I can take care of my family in case they need some help.

    To grow financially, it is very important to live below your means, because that is only how one can set-up some nest-egg for rainy days.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    India's Growth

    There was a time when all developed countries used India a dump market. Only those products will come to India which couldn't clear quality tests at other places. India was newly born at that time. We were still busy in producing food and infrastructure for us. We were busy in laying the foundation for this newly born country.

    And now, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies and markets. All big brands from West come to India and sell their high quality products. Indian organizations, like TATA, are acquiring globally, and other global companies want to partner with Indian firms. Bollywood is tying knot with Hollywood big names. Major Indian Drug firms are in-licensing popular products from overseas drug makers.

    But wait, India has not arrived yet. Its just the first step of this still so young baby. We might need more time to come, but our day is not too far. Proud to be an Indian.

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Q&A: The Year of No Clothing Purchase - My Version

    I just read about The Great American Apparel Diet through a blog. I am doing some thing similar as one of the experiments that I started last year, though mine is modified form of same. I liked the format of this post and hence would also like to answer all the questions answered by another participant.

    What made you want to be a part of the Great American Apparel Diet?
    Well, I am not exactly a part of this so I'll answer what made me to be on "No New Clothes" philosophy. I had way too many clothes at one time. One day after wasting around 20 minutes in order to find something in my wardrobe I realized I had too much clutter. I decided that I needed to cut back and hence will not buy anything new and will try to use my existing wardrobe from now on.

    Before starting the "diet," how often did you go shopping for clothes, and roughly how much did you spend in the course of, say, a month or a year?
    I used to shop like almost twice in month. My monthly spending used to be some Rs 10K-15K per month.

    In the past, have you ever tried to give up other things -- smoking, alcohol, French fries, or whatever? If so, how do those experiences compare with your current one? What's harder, and why?
    I tried giving up Tea for one week as part of art-of-living workshop. That was way more tough then this. I need tea to survive just anywhere but shopping's urge can be curbed by simply not going to malls and markets.

    Have there been moments when it is really difficult to stick to the commitment? When, and what happened?
    I occasionally have to go to markets to buy the gifts for friends and family. It gets difficult to resist personal shopping some times.

    Any good tips you'd care to share for putting together outfits without spending a penny?
    I did not-to-repeat any dress experiment and it helped me in understanding and recalling what all I own.

    What have you learned about yourself, your wardrobe, your shopping habits, and even about your family and friends while taking part in this?
    I hardly need to shop so frequently. No matter how many dresses I own, I have a favorite set of 5-7 dresses that I wear repetitively.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Mahashivratri - 2010

    It is one of the Indian festivals and specially celebrated by all Lord Shiva's follower. If you want to read more about same, read in Wiki.

    Wishes from my side: "Om Namah Shivay"

    My favorite part, off from office and long weekend. :)

    Let's have some of the photographs of Lord Shiva.

    SEBI - Caution to Investors

    I am copying it straight from SEBI's press release.
    These all very important and basic points of investments.

  • Deal only with/ through SEBI registered intermediaries.

  • Do not get carried away by advertisements promising unrealistic gains and windfall profits.

  • Do not invest based on market rumours or unconfirmed or unauthentic news.

  • Be aware that advice through television or print media does not mean that it is the opinion of the channel or publisher.

  • Be extra cautious while using information available from media sources such as Websites/ Blogs/ Newspaper Advertisements/ SMS’s Emails/rumours/ advice through television or print media for information and tips for intra-day, short term or long term investing.

  • Do not be guided by astrological predictions on share prices and market movements.

  • Do not make investment decisions on the basis of implicit/explicit promises made by anyone.

  • Do not be unduly influenced by indicative returns.

  • Do not be unduly influenced by Bull Runs/Bear Runs while making investment decisions.
  • Trap of Lenders known as Loans

    Bankers and financial institutions are partial towards new customers then the existing ones. In fact, they are greedy and offer teaser rates just to grab hold of new customers. Teaser rates no where means that you are a privileged customer, all it means is that they are offering you same so that they can trap you once and for all.

    Once you take a loan at teaser rate, they will keep on increasing your rate of interest. If you get frustrated by all this, they will not let you take easy way out. You try to switch your loan to another bank or prepay it using your post-tax savings; in both the cases you will be charged prepayment penalty. It's a vicious circle you are caught in, so beware.

    That's what I conclude when bankers first refused RBI's suggestion to withdraw prepayment penalty on loans and now they are not ready to extend cheaper loan rates to existing customers.

    Lesson from this, bank don't give you loans so that you can become rich. They lend you money so that they can have excellent balance sheets. Think more then twice before applying for any kind of loan.

    If some one claims to love your money as much you do, beware, because it means they are planning to take it all from you.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Lost and recovered mobile phone

    Have you ever left your mobile phone somewhere to realize after few hours that you have actually lost it?
    Have you ever tried calling back your lost mobile phone and heard that "The number you are trying to reach is currently switched off. Please try later"?

    If yes, how you feel when this happens, bad, pathetic?

    Now think about this.

    You go to a restaurant with your family for quick dinner. Later at night while trying to find your phone, you call it from other phone only to hear someone else’s voice on the other side. He politely tells that you left the phone at the restaurant and that you can collect it back tomorrow.

    How will you feel then? You will feel at the top of the world for sure and feel gratitude towards that person. That is how I felt on Friday when this happened to me at Karnataka Bhavan, Delhi. There are still non-greedy, honest people in this world.

    Tax on profit made by selling GOLD

    Selling inherited GOLD invites tax burden was not known to me.

    This is for sure ridiculus :(

    My new angora wool sweater and Kurukshetra Trip

    Last weekend I bought a new sweater for me, one made of angora wool. It was something I was trying to find from last two years. When I got it at 60% off, I couldn't resist, though I would have preferred different color. I won't be using it much this year; because winter will be almost gone by this month end but I am sure it will be used extensively in coming years.

    In my opinion it's good to shop at off season sales as one can get good discounts.

    What about you? Do you ever shop in off season sales?

    Also, on weekend we went to Kurukshetra. I'll be posting its pictures soon. It's a beautiful pilgrimage kind of place with lots of historical temples from Mahabharata time.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Layoff Tales – What I learnt from them all!

    I was reading stories shared by some people across the industries in 2008 economy bust. It’s always sad to hear that someone has lost the job and what problems s/he is facing now. But after reading those stories, I found few things almost common in all of them:
    1) Most of them changed their job frequently
    2) Share markets crash made huge dent in their savings
    3) By changing jobs, whenever their paycheck became heavy, they also added weight to their liabilities rather then lowering it.
    4) None of them have any secondary source of income.
    5) In India, family always supports you. We are country of great family values and that’s true even in these trying times.

    While reading all of these stories, and especially the mistakes committed by them, I was mentally preparing a checklist of the things that should have been done better then the way done currently:
    1) Spend less then you earn.
    2) House, even though is an investment in long term, is a liability in short term.
    3) Before starting taking risk with your investments, make sure that you have 6 months of emergency fund in cash.
    4) Stick to your job for longer time. Changing jobs frequently can pay you good in short term, but will always pollute your resume for long term
    5) When you are investing in stock markets, always do remember the risk factor.
    6) Identify your goals, and plan your investments.
    7) Always try to have some secondary source of income.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    How India fares in America's Biggest RipOffs

    I recently read an article on CNN money that talk about America's Biggest Rip-Off’s. How many of those things are actually also overpriced in India, let's have a look.

    Text Messages (SMS)
    My phone plan has call rate at 1Paise per second and 1SMS costs Rs 1. So I’ll say YES though I know there are several plans available across the providers that have lesser rates for SMS.
    Score - 1/9

    Movie Theatre Popcorn
    Sure YES. They cost Rs 45-95 per packet across all the multiplexes in NCR where as same amount when I prepare at home only costs me Rs 4.
    Score - 2/9

    Credit Reports
    This concept is still not too big in India, so this will be NO.
    Score - 2/9

    Name-brand painkillers
    Indians are not much obsessed for branded medicines. No.
    Score - 2/9

    Wine at restaurants
    YES. I don't take alcohol in any form, except cough syrups and rum-chocolates, but I have heard this from my friends that wine, or any alcohol, is overpriced at restaurants.
    Score - 3/9

    College textbooks
    NO Please.
    Score - 3/9

    Super gasoline
    YES. Be it IOC's Extra Premium Petrol or any other brands special, they charge Rs 2/litre more. And IOC generally never has regular petrol so that one is forced to buy Extra Premium, my experience.
    Score - 4/9

    Hotel mini-bars
    Not Sure. I'll count as NO. :)
    Score - 4/9

    Hotel in-room movies
    Score - 5/9

    Not bad. In India, we are at least saving money on 4 things that those guys are not. :)

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Lets get rid of these things - Amen

    In one of the articles in Times Money, they list some of the things that they might think that will disappear in coming years. That was fun to read. In this post I am trying to come of with my own list of the things that I think will vanish from India in coming years. I am also picking some from their list which I would love to see in Future India. :)

    No More Water Needed to Clean Clothes
    No More Cheques
    No More Land Lines
    No More Corrupt Politicians
    No More Depending on Rain for Harvest
    No More Bribes
    No More Discrimination in Sexes
    No More Dowry Deaths
    No More Eve Teasing
    No More Poverty
    No More Bad Roads

    Well this list can go on. How about you, what all things you will like to see vanished in coming years?

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Economy is in revival mode

    I read this blog on one my favorite PF Blog, JD Roth. He asked about reader's view on current economy. I am here trying to answer it in this post.

    According to me, economy has bottomed out and is in recovery mode. My reasons:
  • I see lots of crowd in shopping malls.
  • I am getting interview calls after updating my CV on job portals.
  • Few of my colleagues has switched job recently.
  • Lots of companies in my domain are hiring again.
  • Pay hikes are happening again.

    These are my reasons to see that economy is in revival mode. How about you?
  • Friday, February 5, 2010

    Don't delay savings - even small amounts matter

    Saving money seems to be very tough. There are so many excuses to not save for future.

    1) My current expenses are very high.
    2) I am too young for retirement.
    3) I believe in savings in lump sum, but I am never able to save enough lump sum.
    4) I have just started my job.

    This list can be endless. The circumstances that a non-saver gives as an excuse also exist in a saver's world. What differs is the attitude to save and understanding of basic rules to build wealth in long term, Compound Interest (CI).

    CI has a magical power that works every time you don't want to cheat the system. If you will continue to be diligent with savings, CI will never let you down. And when you will let CI work for you for some years, you will end up with good sum of money. Just for illustration, consider following scenarios and results:

    A is 21, just started her job. She is not earning very high salary, say 15K per month. She for sure knows if nothing exceptional happens, then she want to work for next 25 years. She will be earning more with every passing year. How can she make CI work for her? Depending on her liabilities she might have some fixed expenses. Let's assume that she can at least manage to save Rs.10 per day, if she has few responsibilities on her shoulder. If she is a freebie, she can save even more.

    A saves same amount all her working life span, for 25 years and ends up with big lump sum compared what she invested. Click at the photographs for detailed look at the returns.

    A increases the amount she is saving by just one rupee every year, for 25 years and ends up with big lump sum compared what she invested. Click at following photograph to have detailed look at the returns and difference in returns of scheme1 and scheme2.

    A does not listen to advice about CI and now, at the age of 35, is worried that she doesn't have any money to quit job in 10 years. She decides to start saving now, for rest of her working life. As she has never saved, she is facing what everyone faces initially, difficulty to cutting down expenses, though her salary is many a times what she started with. She can somehow manage to save Rs. 500 per day. With that she manages to get Rs. 2698007 at the end of tenure which is almost same as she could get with saving Rs. 100 per month with scheme1 and scheme2, assuming same rate of interest.

    That is the power of compounding; it lets you save money without much of the pain and with the maximum gains.

    If you are just starting out, make the use of power of compounding. Start with a small amount, if not big, but don't waste on time. This will help you in the long term.

    Take this financail IQ Quiz

    I just came across a blog on Wise Bread that has presented a very good quiz to judge how financially aware you are. Take some time and answer the questionnaire their. It should only take 10 minutes.

    My Score: I answered all as YES. :)
    How about you?

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    how can you get your kid to be a taxiwala in Mumbai?

    I was born in free India. My parents were born in partition days and grand parents faced partition. In partition they lost everything. They started their life from scratch but never complained. They used to very proudly tell the stories of the pre-independence days and how they are so proud to be living in Independent India now.

    From their numerous stories, what I concluded about pre-independence days is that life used to be tough pre-independence. Indians neither had any choice nor any freedom in their own country. British people use to decide what all places we can go to, what all occupations we can take, what all policies should govern our society, who all should have decision making power, and who all will rule us. It's SAD to say the least. British people treated us, Indians, as inferior to them in our own country.

    My grand-parents always used to conclude their stories as "you are lucky generation. You guys neither have seen slavery days nor the partition days. Live happily in the independent country."

    Is this really true any more? I don't agree.

    What British people did to us few years back is being repeated now by our politicians. Our politicians are trying to do the same, "Divide and Rule". Maharashtrian politicians don't want to see Non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai. Why and from when do I need Visa and work permit to work in any part of my country? I am born in "United One INDIA". Does an Indian should plan his kid’s birth so that they can work in some part of India? I am an Indian, and please don't sub-categorize me. Remember what binds India together and what makes us so unique is "UNITY in DIVERSITY". Let's respect this and let us not get bogged down by politicians this time.

    SEBI regulazies Standard warning in Advertisements by Mutual Funds

    In order to improve the manner in which the said message is conveyed to the
    investors it has been decided that with effect from May 01, 2010:

  • The standard warning in audio-visual advertisement shall be displayed as
    “Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related
    documents carefully”.
  • No addition or deletion of words shall be made in the standard warning.
  • 5 Things that I don't like about Delhi

    I saw this recently on rediff and thought to do my own version of same.
    I am a Delhite and I love Delhi. But, let me list down the 5 things that I hate about Delhi.

  • Delhites treat every place but their house as dustbin.
  • Eve Teasing
  • Red-Light Vehicles
  • No Sense of Lane Driving
  • No Sense of Queue
  • Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Prepayment Penalty on Loans

    Banks not ready to withdraw prepayment penalty

    CCI sent notices to banks and other financial institutions asking clarifications about why they charge penalty from the customer when he wants to foreclose it. Banks justified saying otherwise people will switch banks very frequently and it will result in higher lending risks.

    I think this reasoning and this charge is absolutely insane. If a customer is prepaying the loaned amount either by its own pocket or by transferring the loan to another bank, it means it is paying you all back the entire principal and has already paid you all the interest for the time it has used your money. Now onwards, there is no risk that this customer will default. Plus, bank now can again lend this money to someone else and start earning interest again.

    All banks try to give teasers rate to lure new customers but never care for existing customers. This policy is one of the tools that assist them in same. Prepayment penalty should be withdrawn completely so that old customers are also taken care of as well as banks/financial institutions want to lure new customers.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    We Indians - Part 2

    Emily is one of my first blogger friends, and somehow very special. I have never met her or even talked to her, but I feel a connection with her. Even in the days when I am running super busy, I login into GR at least once in a day, just to get update from her, Canadian Saver, and Saving Savvy Pinky.

    In one of her recent post, Emily mentioned how she finds Indians to be cheap when she is doing business with them. I am an Indian my self and after reading her post, felt bad because I kind of agree with her. I agree that Indians are miser people and sometimes lack the basic etiquettes regarding money and business. And no, this confession doesn't mean that I am not proud to be an Indian, I am still proud to be an Indian. I love India. In fact, I think only an Indian can take the genuine criticism so well and apologize.

    But question is why Indians are like that?

    My personal opinion on this:

    Most of us have been kids to the generation who has seen partition. Our parents or grand parents used to be rich in Post-Independence India, but literally lost every thing and started from scratch in mid of their lives. Trust me; it's not the easy thing to do. They have seen the survival problem at a ground level. And you know what, when it comes to survival, there are no etiquettes. There is no mutual gain theory; it's only me that matters. That's a scientific fact.

    After losing everything that they once owned, also some of the loved one's, these guys started from scratch. They literally were homeless, foodless and clothes less at one time and started from there. In this process, they saved every penny and tried to stretch every penny to its last level. That is why something that is free still salivates some of them.

    But it doesn't mean that we all are like that. Indians are very warm people. They still value relationships more than money. And I am sure, as we grow out of this partition generation, we will be more etiquettes breed.

    P.S. These are my opinions. I am not trying to make any judgment here.

    Let's make Ball Tampering LEGAL

    Yes I am still running super busy now-a-days but I couldn't control myself.
    Shahid Afridi suggests that "Ball tampering should be made legal."

    Yes, I think he has a point. Few other things that should be legalized along with that are:
    1) Cheating in exams, copying from others sheet or even straight from books, all do cheat sometime.
    2) Stealing as every one needs/wants few things that they can't afford.
    3) Killing the other person in argument as everybody gets angry while arguing.

    Sir, there is only difference between human's society and other species society, and it is that we have some rules that we all must abide so that things run smoothly for everyone, so that things are fair for everyone. Is this really not so obvious to you?

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    No Pakistani Players in IPL 2010 - Purely Business Call

    IPL-3 started with a controversy.

    None of the Pakistani players were chosen by any of the IPL teams, though later few teams confessed that they initially wanted to get some of the Pakistani players but refrained because it was a consensus decision to not bid for any Pakistani player.

    Well, I personally see this as more of a business move rather then any boycott. India is suffering from terrorism from so many years. Every time a new terrorist attack occurs, something like 26/11 Mumbai attacks, some bomb blast, India will strict its rule and not issue Visas to Pakistanis.

    And if any such attacks occur before IPL commences, who will compensate the teams who have these players in their teams?

    Why should any team take such a risk? I will never take this risk if given a choice.

    And no I don’t see this as any boycott of Pakistani talent. We don’t discriminate based on nationality. Just for the fact, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is winning so many film awards this year for his song in Love Aaj Kal.

    P.S. These are my personal thoughts on this issue.

    A Quick Update

    I am once again super busy now-a-days.
    Last time I got this busy, it took me almost 10 months to come up with a new post.
    I don't want this to happen once more.

    I am scheduling some of the non-pf articles along with some PF articles for coming days. Hopefully by the time they get exhausted I will have little space to breathe and write.

    My latest Want: IPAD

    Yes, that's right. I want an IPAD.
    From the day I saw it's launch, I am dreaming of owning one.
    Now everytime I watch movie, listen to music or read an E-Book, I want IPAD more.
    It's so sleak and coooooooool.

    Who all are awed by IPAD?
    Raise your hands.
    I have raised both of mine. :)