Mint Money tells you when it makes sense to take an education loan, how it can benefit you and how much it can cost

Keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead can benefit you. Photo: Alamy

Keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead can benefit you. Photo: Alamy

Any big-ticket spending requires you to either have the required funds in place or a financing option. When dealing with long-term financial goals, such as higher education of children, you have the advantage of planning much in advance. Here’s how you can go about the planning.

Start early

A lot of parents have an inclination to send their children abroad for higher education, at least at the post-graduate level, said Suresh Sadagopan, a certified financial planner and founder of Ladder 7 Financial Advisories. “In that case, the planning needs to start really early. They would need a horizon of at least 10-15 years. When we talk of international education at post-graduate level today, most likely it is not going to happen below ₹40 lakh,” he said.

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How do you work towards saving that amount? Prakash Praharaj, founder, Max Secure Financial Planners, said that the future cost of a particular course needs to be calculated taking into account at least 10% annual inflation. “Then calculate the current assets and investments accumulated for these goals. Then the remaining gap for the aimed amount is to be filled through monthly SIPs over the years,” he said.

Starting an SIP of ₹5,000-7,000 in an equity fund for 15 years and increasing it by 10-20% each year could help. However, Sadagopan said, given the fact that there are so many ongoing expenses these days, including other loans, it becomes difficult for parents to put aside a huge amount for the child’s post-graduation alone.

Consider taking loan

Even if you have been working on creating a higher education corpus, you need to consider taking an education loan. At present, the total expenses for higher education abroad could be in the range of ₹1 crore per child, Sadagopan said.

“A realistic thing that parents need to realise is that the child’s higher education is not their only goal. Retirement is also an important goal and they need to be aware of the fact that you can get a loan for all other requirements but not for retirement,” he said.

Own funds versus loan

But if someone has already accumulated the required amount, why should another repayment burden be taken on? The answer lies in two things, Praharaj said. “A cost benefit analysis suggests that taking an education loan and keeping the accumulated amount invested works in your favour. Moreover, it also helps in developing a sense of responsibility in the student. The realisation that a repayment has to be done by them keeps them focussed,” he said.

The math of keeping your accumulated savings invested and taking an education loan instead suggests that taking a loan results in significant benefits. For instance, if ₹1 crore is kept invested and an education loan for the same amount is taken, at the end of nine years, including the repayment holiday on the education loan, the net benefit could be around ₹87 lakh (see graph).

This includes the tax saved on repayment of loan. Borrowers of education loans can claim deduction on the interest paid, though not on the principal amount. Also, unlike in home loans, there is no limit to the amount that can be claimed as deduction.

Sadagopan said it is better that the parents keep the money with themselves and let the child take the loan. “In future if the child is struggling to find a job and pay back, you can step in to help at that point,” he said.

[“Source-livemint”]

Israeli Firm Says It Can Turn Garbage Into Bio-Based Plastic

Israeli Firm Says It Can Turn Garbage Into Bio-Based Plastic

Hawks, vultures and storks circle overhead as Christopher Sveen points at the heap of refuse rotting in the desert heat. “This is the mine of the future,” he beams.

Sveen is chief sustainability officer at UBQ, an Israeli company that has patented a process to convert household trash, diverting waste from landfills into reusable bio-based plastic.

After five years of development, the company is bringing its operations online, with hopes of revolutionising waste management and being a driver to make landfills obsolete. It remains to be seen, however, if the technology really works and is commercially viable.

UBQ operates a pilot plant and research facility on the edge of southern Israel’s Negev Desert, where it has developed its production line.

“We take something that is not only not useful, but that creates a lot of damage to our planet, and we’re able to turn it into the things we use every day,” said Albert Douer, UBQ’s executive chairman. He said UBQ’s material can be used as a substitute for conventional petrochemical plastics and wood, reducing oil consumption and deforestation.

UBQ has raised $30 million (roughly Rs. 195 crores) from private investors, including Douer, who is also chief executive of Ajover Darnel Group, an international plastics conglomerate.

Leading experts and scientists serve on its advisory board, including Nobel Prize chemist Roger Kornberg, Hebrew University biochemist Oded Shoseyov, author and entrepreneur John Elkington and Connie Hedegaard, a former European Commissioner for Climate Action.

The small plant can process one ton of municipal waste per hour, a relatively small amount that would not meet the needs of even a midsize city. But UBQ says that given the modularity, it can be quickly expanded.

On a recent day, UBQ Chief Executive Tato Bigio stood alongside bales of sorted trash hauled in from a local landfill.

He said recyclable items like glass, metals and minerals are extracted and sent for further recycling, while the remaining garbage – “banana peels, the chicken bones and the hamburger, the dirty plastics, the dirty cartons, the dirty papers” – is dried and milled into a powder.

The steely gray powder then enters a reaction chamber, where it is broken down and reconstituted as a bio-based plastic-like composite material. UBQ says its closely-guarded patented process produces no greenhouse gas emissions or residual waste byproducts, and uses little energy and no water.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by decomposing organic material in landfills. Roughly half is methane, which over two decades is 86 times as potent for global warming as carbon dioxide, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For every ton of material produced, UBQ says it prevents between three and 30 tons of CO2 from being created by keeping waste out of landfills and decomposing.

UBQ says its material can be used as an additive to conventional plastics. It says 10-15 percent is enough to make a plastic carbon-neutral by offsetting the generation of methane and carbon dioxide in landfills. It can be moulded into bricks, beams, planters, cans, and construction materials. Unlike most plastics, UBQ says its material doesn’t degrade when it’s recycled.

The company says converting waste into marketable products is profitable, and likely to succeed in the long run without government subsidies.

“What we do is we try to position ourselves at the end of the value chain, or at the end of the waste management hierarchy,” Sveen said. “So rather than that waste going to a landfill or being incinerated, that’s kind of our waste feedstock.”

The wonder plastic isn’t without its sceptics, however. Duane Priddy, chief executive of the Plastic Expert Group, said UBQ’s claims were “too good to be true” and likened it to alchemy.

“Chemists have been trying to convert lead to gold for centuries, without success,” Priddy, a former principal scientist at Dow Chemical, said in an email to The Associated Press. “Likewise, chemists have been trying to convert garbage to plastic for several decades.”

UBQ said it is confident its technology will prove the sceptics wrong. “We understand that’s people’s perceptions. We hope to convince them in a professional and scientific manner,” Sveen said.

Even if its technology is ultimately successful, UBQ faces questions about its long-term viability. Building additional plants could be expensive and time-consuming. It also needs to prove there is a market for its plastic products. The company said it is negotiating deals with major customers, but declined to identify them or say when the contracts would go into effect.

The UN Environment Program has made solid waste disposal a central issue to combatting pollution worldwide. Landfills contaminate air, water and soil, and take up limited land and resources. A December 2017 report by the international body devoted five of its 50 anti-pollution measures to reducing and processing solid waste.

“Every year, an estimated 11.2 billion tons of solid waste are collected worldwide,” the organisation says. “The solution, in the first place, is the minimisation of waste. Where waste cannot be avoided, recovery of materials and energy from waste as well as remanufacturing and recycling waste into usable products should be the second option.”

Israel lags behind other developed countries in waste disposal. The country of roughly 8 million people generated 5.3 million metric tons of garbage in 2016, according to the Environment Ministry. Over 80 percent of that trash ended up in increasingly crowded landfills. A third of Israel’s landfill garbage is food scraps, which decompose and produce greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide.

To UBQ, that means a nearly limitless supply of raw material.

“The fact is that the majority of waste goes to a landfill or is leaked into our natural environments because there simply aren’t holistic and economically viable technologies out there,” said Sveen.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Can Delhi become the new creative capital of India?

Kolkata, the capital of India during the imperial days, also served as the creative capital of India for the longest time. Then somewhere in ’80s, the winds of change started blowing and the creative capital left the Bengali bhadralok’s abode and moved to the country’s financial capital, Mumbai, where both clients and money were. That was also the time when migration started happening in hordes and the creative talent was also moving where the money was.

Delhi, in the midst of all this, remained out of radar for creative minds as creativity here was limited to DAVP ads and political advertising.

But the times have now changed and Delhi is emerging as the top city on the map for the creative community.

In last year’s Cannes wins from India, the numbers from Delhi were more or less the same as Mumbai. The story is the same if we also consider Effies, which proves that Delhi’s advertising industry has come out of yoke and is successful at proving its mettle.

A lot of the network agencies’ senior professionals, NCDs (National Creative Director) and CCOs (Chief Creative Director), are based in Delhi. For example, Swati Bhattacharya of FCB, Soumitra Karnik of Dentsu, Ajay Gahlaut of Ogilvy and Prateek Bhardwaj of McCann. The JWT and Ogilvy offices are bigger than the Mumbai offices.

Akashneel Dasgupta

Akashneel Dasgupta, Senior Vice-President and Executive Creative Director, ADK Fortune, said, “Things have changed now. A lot of new categories have emerged and become the biggest spenders in the category. For example, mobile phones have become the biggest spenders. Actually, the biggest spenders from Mumbai have reduced their spending.”

He said, “With most of the production houses located in Mumbai, most of the shooting takes place in Mumbai. And the impression that goes out is that Mumbai is doing a lot of work, but actually more work is happening in Delhi.”

A few of the industry men believe that even after performing on a par with the Mumbai office, they have to satisfy with less. The struggle to reach the top and be known is much more in Delhi than in Mumbai.

Ajay Gahlaut

Recently, Ajay Gahlaut, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy North and Deputy CCO, Ogilvy India, took to Facebook to share his point of view for the newer generation joining the advertising industry. He wrote there, “Frankly if you’re a sensible, rational human being, it’s a no-brainer. Work in Mumbai. You are closer to the powers that be. Your work is seen and appreciated faster. Clients are more inclined to see agencies as partners instead of mere suppliers. So you will get more attention and respect. You will get applauded and feted if you do great work for the client. Wide smiles and a positive atmosphere will greet you in most client boardrooms.”

He went on further, “You will, as you gain seniority and experience, be called for various jury duties of diverse award shows. Here you will network with the top people in the industry on equal footing. People will take you seriously and listen to your opinion with interest. This will enhance your employability and value in the job market.”

On the contrary, he added, “On the other hand, if you decide to stay on in Delhi. You will be a faceless name on an email list for your seniors and superiors in Mumbai. You start working on proactive ideas because you want to win awards. You win awards. And more awards. Year after year. Suddenly one day you realise that despite winning so many awards on your own steam, you’ve never been called as a juror for any award show. While some of your juniors in the Mumbai office are going for their sixth jury duty in as many years. Then it dawns on you that there are two reasons for this. One, the award show people simply don’t see you enough to remember you. And second, it’s simpler and cheaper to get a jury member from Mumbai. Uber is cheaper than Indigo after all.”

Prathap Suthan

Sharing his past experiences and the current state of affairs in Delhi on Facebook, Prathap Suthan, Chief Creative officer, Bang In The Middle, said that in his previous organisation, the working conditions were bad. Even after producing good work, the Delhi team had to satisfy with less in comparison to Mumbai. He further wrote, “One fine day, when the biggest of the egos from Mumbai came down to our office to generally smirk at us and our plight, I happened to ask him that why is it that despite the fact we are almost five times larger than Mumbai, our office is pathetic and the Mumbai office is a piece of stunning art and architecture? The big man replied. “Clients come to the showroom. They don’t go to the factory. You should be lucky you have a place to sit.” End of story and discussion. That sort of summed up and told me just exactly how Mumbai looked at Delhi. It happened, and it happens.”

Ashish Limaye

Ashish Limaye of Happy Finish thinks that Delhi makes one a tough person and Mumbai has its own set of trouble. “Mumbai has its own troubles of battling the infrastructure and sleeping in plush pigeon holes called apartments. Delhi in spite of its rugged approach and palatial living makes you tough to live beyond advertising in a job called life. Both I’d say must have on any blokes wish list. Nice read as always.”

Malvika Mehra

Not agreeing with Gahlaut and Suthan’s point, Malvika Mehra of Tomorrow Creative Lab, said, “I don’t agree with Ajay (Gahlaut). I think in our limited capacities, we still can make the place what we want it to be. And negate the perceptions. Personally speaking, the best years of my working life actually came from a sudden ‘posting’ to the original underdog, Bangalore. Where great work on Bingo! Lenovo, Allen Solly, IBM, Titan happened. Great strategists, copy, art and account management folks happened. And awards happened.”

Amit Akali

Seconding Mehra’s thought, Amit Akali, Chief Creative Officer, What’s Your Problem, said, “I think you can make the most of it absolutely anywhere. Every place has its advantages and disadvantages. Now Bangalore also has a National Creative Director at Dentsu India (Simi Sabhaney), Happy Mcgarrybowen’s work is good and appreciated. Every place has its advantages and disadvantages and makes one stronger.”

Although the times have changed and Delhi is getting its long due share of accolades, the perception still stays that Mumbai is the hub of advertising. Kyoorius, Effies, Olive Crown and most of the industry awards happen in Mumbai.

Jitender Dabas

Jitender Dabas, Chief Strategy Officer, McCann India, said that it is more of a perception now than the reality. He said, “The advertising industry has changed in terms of its power and equation, but somehow all the industry bodies are Mumbai-based.”

Akali added, “Like it or not, Abby awards meeting is happening and the jury will meet in Mumbai and the people from Mumbai will find it easier to come for it. Therefore, automatically the jury is made more of Mumbai people. I am not saying it is a rule. Effies for an exception has a Delhi round of jury too. But the fact is that the ecosystem is based in Mumbai.”

Dasgupta making a strong point here, said, “There is a certain network in Mumbai among the senior creatives. They hang around together across the agencies. For Delhi people, it is a bit difficult to be a part of that network. Delhi people are not normally available at these awards. The agency has to bear the cost to send people to the awards.”

Therefore to sum it up, Mumbai is perceived to be the capital city of advertising. But the scenario is changing and it’s no more about the cities but how one makes the best out of the advantages and disadvantages of the cities.

[“Source-bestmediainfo”]

5 Apps That Can Help You Save Big, Or Even Get Paid

Image result for 5 Apps That Can Help You Save Big, Or Even Get Paid

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many apps we can download on our phones promise to save us money or earn rewards. From scanning a barcode to taking a survey, there are hundreds of programs you can choose from.

One blogger tried dozens of them and narrowed it down to the top five free apps she’s cashed in on.

“All of my family will come to me and say, ‘I’m going to be buying this, how can I save money?’” blogger Sarah Carlson said.

She’s come a long way from clipping coupons for her mom every Sunday — now, Carlson shares her savings secrets on realhousewivesofmn.com. She regularly blogs about the apps she’s tried.

“There are a lot of apps out there right now where you can either save money or make money too,” she said.

And she had no trouble coming up with her top five.

Shopkick

“I think my top money saving app is Shopkick,” she said.

Shopkick offers rewards for shopping online or for walking in to stores. Scan bar codes on products for more kicks or points. Then, redeem them for gift cards or merchandise from Target to Best Buy to Starbucks.

“It’s really easy and that’s why I like it so much.”

ShopSavvy

Shop Savvy made the second pick on her list. Scan the bar code and the app searches stores to find the best price. Most will price match if you find a better deal.

Carlson usually uses it any time she’s about to spend more than 20 dollars for an item. She saved 50 dollars on a TV the last time she used it.

“You’re still walking out of the same store with the same item with 50 more dollars in your pocket. Why not?” she said.

PocketFlip

Don’t bother leaving your home to be able to use the third on her list — PocketFlip is survey-based.

“You go through the surveys and earn points, and once you earn enough points you can cash out for gift cards,” Carlson said.

Each survey is under five minutes. They’re usually based on beauty and home products commonly used.

Ibotta

“These apps are a little bit different in that you make the purchase first and then you upload the receipt afterwards,” Carlson said.

Ibotta pays you cash back on many items, mostly groceries. You cash out once you reach the $20 mark either through PayPal or a gift card.

Gift Card Granny

“Another great app is Gift Card Granny,” Carlson said. “Basically, it’s an app that shows you things that are for sale for less than their value.”

It’s that simple — shop for gift cards less than their value. We saw 21 percent savings for Fandango gift cards for movie ticket savings and 14 percent on Starbucks cards.

Feeling overwhelmed? Carlson suggests just picking a couple of apps and you’ll save something.

“Use the ones that work for you,” she said. “That’s better than saving nothing.”

Another app you might like is called Qapital. Everytime you use a credit card it rounds up to the nearest dollar, and that money goes straight into a savings account.

[“Source-minnesota”]