Here're answers to all the FAQs on managing your money in a crisis

Budgeting & Saving


May 9, 2020

Money worries, everyone has them now. Solutions for managing your money during this crisis? Not so easy to come by. But at Basis, that’s what we strive to do, declutter the talk about money and help you find actionable answers. Here is the excerpt of questions put forth by women in a chat interaction and answered by Hena Mehta, Basis CEO and Founder.

How does a salaried person replan finances after taking a pay cut in this current scenario?

Hena Mehta: Taking a pay-cut is rough but doesn't seem to be unusual in the current environment we are in. Here's my advice: break down expenses into essential and non-essential. Don't stop any SIPs or pull out of investments in panic-mode. Second, have a chat with your employer at the right time about future appraisals and growth to ensure the salary cuts are going to be short term only.

So, with the random things happening in the market right now, is it better not to invest all together?

HM: No, that may not be a wise decision. If you intend to use the money after five to seven years (i.e., you have a long term goal) it is still prudent practice to invest in equity mutual funds, and if you are looking at liquidity for the short term, you can stick with fixed deposits.

I wanted to ask if I should stop by SIPs. Please advice!

HM: If you don't need the money that you are investing via SIPs now, the simple answer is no - don't stop any SIPs at the moment. In fact, if you have extra money to invest, you could consider topping up those SIPs too. Here's a piece written by the Basis team on why SIPs are good news even during bad times.

What I want to ask is: in the coming months, what would be the safest investment option?

HM: I'd recommend public sector banks fixed deposits if you're looking for a safe option.

I won’t be earning. Please suggest passive money-making steps?

HM: This would depend on your skills and background in terms of work experience. There are a few "side hustle" options that you could explore - e.g. freelance writing. Additionally, if you have investments - they serve as passive or secondary income. For instance, I've opted for a payout of my FD interest every month, instead of at maturity.

My question is that since the market is down, for someone looking to invest, even a nominal amount, what are the opportunities? Is there a way that we could take advantage of the situation? If yes, which are the top 3 investment options that you’d suggest?

HM: Your investment picks will depend on what duration and risk that you have in mind, however, let's assume you are looking at three options with one for safety, one with medium risk and one where you don't need the money for a few years.

For the safety, you could stick within the comfort of fixed deposits, for the medium term, you could look at balanced or balanced advantage funds of equity funds, and for long term pure equity funds.

What exactly happened with the Franklin Templeton funds that were withdrawn from the market?

HM: In case you have money invested in any of the six funds that Franklin is shutting down, as and when they get portions of money back from debtors, they will proportionally payout based on how much you invested. This might take a while, so it will require patience.

What should freelancers do in the current scenario?

HM: The first order of business is to ensure all past due payments from clients are made. For any upcoming or ongoing projects, understand if you can get paid in advance. Don't pull out of any investments in panic. In case new projects are not coming through, try to "pivot" and see what different types of clients may need and how you can help them. Here is a short video on the conversations to have during the crisis that would help us all, including freelancers.

What are some ways I can increase my savings? Thank you.

HM: So the good thing about the lockdown is that it has forced us to stop spending on things such as fuel, going out, discretionary shopping.

Overall if you're looking at increasing your savings rate, I'd recommend writing out what your essential and non-essential expenses are every month. Essentials are things such as rent, food, utilities, kids' school fees - which we can't do without. Non-essentials could be travel, eating out, some online subscriptions that you can live without, perhaps a gym fee? Try to cut down on these non-essential expenses.

Any suggestions on what investments can be made (long and short) during this time to take advantage of the opportunity?

HM: For short term and as a safe option, you could stick within the comfort of fixed deposits, for the medium term you could look at balanced or balanced advantage funds of equity funds, and for long term pure equity funds.

Is gold a good investment right now?

HM: The current scenario might be a good time to add gold if you do not already have it to fortify your portfolio. Gold does tend to do well when stocks go down - so it's a protection mechanism, and I'd recommend it be a portion of your overall portfolio.

If you’re looking to buy gold from an investment perspective, you have a few digital options: purchasing physical gold online, gold mutual funds, gold exchange-traded funds, and the Sovereign Gold Bonds. Physical gold comes with risks.

Got more money questions? Head to the Investments circle on the Basis app to find answers from like-minded women.

#money #crisis #paycut #jobs #freelancers #mutualfunds #gold #fixeddeposits

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