Corporate creates wealth, thanks to the large number of employees who manage the different aspects of their operations. While the top management charts out the growth path and strategy, the marketing section creates and develops brands. The risk management arm works out ways to deal with risks. However, if you were to be the CEO of your own financial outfit, how will you run it? You are mostly alone except for tax and financial advisors that you might engage.  Despite this apparent lack of organizational structure, you can run yourself, and your finances just as well as successful corporate do. For a moment, try to change the way you look at your financial life. It’s not just another routine job for you; it’s not just something like your 9 to 5 job, which is the most likely you have to force yourself to do it. It’s something you own.
ceo

Develop the vision of a CEO

What if you don’t own a company, you are still the chief executive officer (CEO) of your financial life and you can act as if you were running a company. Like any CEO, you need to have a vision and visualize in which direction you want your financial life to head. Your vision could be to achieve financial freedom, or something comparable. Like corporates, you too should have a mission along with a vision. A mission statement for corporate typically states things that are actionable. What should be the mission statement of your own financial life? We may suggest that it be “creating wealth on a sustainable basis”.

Formulate your goals

By having financial goals, you can translate the vision and mission you have into actionable. Companies have different goals, such as securing top market share or profitability in the industry. For you as CEO, financial goals can be anything from the acquiring a house in a few years, to securing your kid’s higher education and marriage and your retired life. If you do it properly, you can achieve your coveted financial freedom.

Take a charge as the mantle of the CFO

Once you have identified your goals, you are, now ready to take responsibility the job of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) like corporate. You need to assign a time frame and quantify the money required for each goal. Thereafter, you will need to priorities them according to proximity and importance. Do not forget to consider inflation, especially for your medium to long-term goals. The current cost will have bloated significantly by the time you actually need the money. For instance, if a marriage expense today is Rs10 lakh, it would be Rs27.60 lakh after 15 years, if we take inflation at 7 percent.

Apart from that, CFOs regularly checks on their finances. Being a CFO of your own financial life, you need to estimate your income for the coming year, include all income expected for the year, such as your spouse’s and your take home pay, expected interest or dividend income, rental or pension. Consider only the net income and not the gross income. While estimating expense for the coming year, you need to be accounted with take cue from the actual expenses incurred over previous few months.

Now, you need to finalize the budget by comparing the budgeted income to actual income and the budgeted expenses to actual expenses. The difference is the surplus or deficit. If at all there is deficit, you need to go back and revise or adjust the expenses. Expenses could rise or incomes could decline for some time. A useful tool in many cases must keep as emergency funds which typically comprise 3-6 months of expenses parked in liquid options such saving-cum fixed deposit accounts, or even liquid funds. As, Benjamin Franklin had once said, “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship”.  You would do well remember that, as the CFO of your own financial life, you are in charge of plugging the leaks.

Invest like the Chief Investment Officer (CIO)

You need to also act like the CIO of your financial life, deploying surpluses meaningfully into assets to create wealth and achieve your long term goals. This can be done through a balance of investment returns, risk, tax efficiency and liquidity. Invest in a mix of equity or well diversified balanced schemes and debt mutual funds. Creating a portfolio, often take a backseat as you tend to spend more on immediate goals. But as retirement is distant goal, even if you invest small amounts, it could fetch you a handsome corpus, provided you start early through a systematic investment plan (SIP) in equity option. As you near the retirement age, shifting to debt schemes make sense. Investing in gold could also be a wise decision at it would help you hedge against risk in equity market. It can be invested through cost-efficient gold ETFs.

Manage the Risk as Chief Risk Officer (CRO)

Without manage risks to your life, health, income and assets such as your house, even the best-laid out plans can come to nothing. You will then have to dip into your investment before time. You will need to manage risks like a CRO, who not only manages insurable risks through insurance such as home insurance and automobile insurance, but also with the provision of funds for uninsurable ones such as loss of income and permanent or temporary  exclusions of illnesses in health insurance.

Conclusion

The whole idea is to convince you that you actually already own a company and must undertake all the activities required to make that company successful. Be more committed and you will automatically become more successful from now onwards.

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Suresh Kumar Narula

SEBI Investment Advisor, Founder & Principal Financial Planner at Prudent Financial Planners
Suresh K Narula is founder and Principal Financial Planner at Prudent Financial Planners. He has earned the professional CERITIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and got registered with SEBI as Investment Advisor. He writes on personal and financial planning articles and got published in Dainik Bhaskar, Business Bhaskar and The Financial Planner's Guild, India. He is also a member of Financial Planner's Guild India ( An association of practicing SEBI registered Investment advisers) to create awareness about Financial Planning in general public, promote professional excellence and ensure high quality practice standards. Suresh received his an M.com from Himachal Pardesh University and an MFC from Punjab University, Chandigarh. He can be reached at info@prudentfp.in
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