How women can take control of their money and be financially independent

cowoman

We were out last week with a large group of women travellers. It was a fun trip filled with great stories from the lives of our co-travellers, recounted with great glee. The average age of the group was 65 years. It is amazing how things have changed for these women.

Many of them had worked all their lives and were now enjoying retirement on their own terms. The best stories were told by the widowed women, many of whom said they felt free finally. Such a sad commentary on how they pledged their lives to their men and family, sacrificing many joys. In the not too distant past, these women would have been banished to the background. Not anymore.

These women were spending on clothes and accessories, enjoying their outings and holidays, and laughing and having a good time. It was a joy to find that attitudes about life and more importantly their sense of self-esteem had changed dramatically. Each evening we had conversations about something, led by one of us: children, in-laws, husband, work, men, and food. Here is what I discussed when it was my turn to speak about money.

First, it is wonderful to enjoy financial independence. Do not shortchange that idea of money that you can call your own and allocate to whatever you wish, for anything at all. If you are employed, set a corpus up for yourself; if not, ensure that a portion of the family’s income is invested in your name, for your use. Not all us have the benefit of pension income, but we must have money that is ours to use. Ask for it by all means.

Second, assets serve a limited purpose. Do not overdo assets like real estate, gold, silver and such stuff. Many of these end up being hoards of wealth that are kept locked or used in a limited manner. Once, when girls had to be given their share of the family wealth, they were sent away with gold and jewels to the husband’s home; and to a woman who could not access her husband’s family wealth directly, the streedhan was her security. Today’s women have their education and jobs to secure them. They don’t need gold. Not beyond its ornamental value.

Third, do not obsess about passing wealth over to your children. We live in times of obsessive parenting. Sometimes, our guilt about being working mothers leads to needless generosity with kids using the money we earned. By all means support your children and enable their growth if you so wish, even after you have provided for their well-being and education. But draw the line at some point, when your kids have begun to earn money. They will do much better when they have to fend for themselves.

Fourth, there is nothing complex about investing and finance. Money left idle loses value, while money deployed to work earns an income or grows in value, or both. Every investment option can be understood in terms of where the money is deployed, and what happens to it. Return is what you get by allowing others to use your money; risk is the quality of that promise to give you something for using your money. Ensure that your money is put to use by scrupulous institutions whose promises are valuable. Don’t hand it over to your streetside broker and hope that trading on the screen will magically grow it.

Fifth, do not part with your wealth too easily and too early. One of the women told us the story of how her PF proceeds were used by her brothers to set up businesses that failed. She was lucky enough to inherit the wealth her husband left behind. But her warning that money in the hands of an elder attracts many in the near and extended family evoked resonance. Many dismiss the needs of senior citizens, and generalise they don’t need much money. Whatever is yours should be in your control, so you can decide how to spend, save, and give it away at a time that you deem appropriate.

Sixth, do not assume that all the wealth you have should be hoarded and kept in a place you deem safe, until you are alive. Money as we just learnt, has many uses and there are many institutions who will use your money for their business and pay you for doing so. Only a portion of your wealth might be needed for your routine everyday activity and annual spending. The rest must be invested efficiently to earn an income or grow in value. What you do not need immediately should be allowed to appreciate. Allocate your wealth between growth and income, based on what you have and what you need. Do not allow fear and misinformation to guide your investment decisions.

Seventh, do not provide information about and access to your money to others, however close you deem them to be. Many in the group had “delegated” money management to their children, spouse, financial adviser, or a relative. As long as they got money when they needed it, they did not care much about what was there and how it was being held. This is a lazy, indiscreet and callous attitude towards money. Learn to manage your money and take charge. Secure your bank account, learn Net banking, make those trips to the ATM yourself, and check your accounts from time to time. It takes a few minutes, but places you in complete control.

Eighth, keep the paperwork in order. Pay your taxes and file your returns. Ensure that nominations are completed and in order for all your wealth and investments. Consolidate and hold fewer investments so that acting on them is easier. Close accounts that are not in use or have matured.

We did a quick round of polling that evening, converting these eight pointers into questions, and seeking yes or no as answers from the group. Sadly, our fun loving women scored too low, the average score for yes being three out of eight. It is wonderful to enjoy the powers of money as a currency for fun; it is equally important to acquire a strategic orientation to personal finance.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]

Now Paytm Money users can track all their mutual fund investments on its app; claims over 1 million customers

Mutual Fund, Mutual Fund Performance In 2018, Equity Mutual Fund, Large Cap, Mid Cap, Small Cap, ELSS, Top Gainers Fund, Top Losers Fund

Paytm Money claimed of registering over 1 million users within six months of launch.

Popular online payment platform Paytm has said that its users would now be able to track the performance of their mutual fund investments on its subsidiary portal Paytm Money for free.

Investors would have to upload their Consolidated Account Statement (CAS) generated via Karvy Fintech on Paytm Money to track their all investments in their portfolio on the Paytm Money app, the company said in a statement.

Paytm Money claimed of registering over 1 million users within six months of launch.

Mutual fund investors putting their money via multiple channels including asset management companies, banks, advisors and distributors don’t get to look at the performance of their investments cohesively under a single platform.

Investors who haven’t invested via Paytm Money app can also track their daily portfolio performance irrespective of their channel or the mode of investment.

“We received many requests & feedback from Paytm Money users to be able to import their external investments to our platform. This assists an investor in keeping track of all investments in one place, further helping in their investment decisions,” said Paytm Money whole-time director Pravin Jadhav.

Paytm Money claimed to have partnered with 34 asset management companies covering over 94% AUM of the mutual fund industry.

Paytm’s mutual fund arm operates from Bengaluru and has a team of over 250 members Paytm Money, which aims to become a full-stack investment and wealth management services company, offer users mutual fund investments starting with Rs 100 via systematic investment plan or lump sum mode.

Recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Paytm’s chief financial officer said that the company is looking at expanding to 1-2 more developed markets this year. He told Reuters that the company has already found its footing in Canada and Japan while many of its commerce and financial services businesses have started to generate revenue and profits.

The company is also reportedly planning to expand into lending and credit cards services.

[“source=financialexpress”]

Google Play’s New Subscription Center Starts Rolling Out, Lets Users Easily Manage Their Subscriptions

Google Play's New Subscription Center Starts Rolling Out, Lets Users Easily Manage Their Subscriptions

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google Play is rolling out the new Subscription Center
  • The new center opens each of subscriptions in a full page
  • Developers will get a chance to add deep links

Google Play has started widely rolling out the new Subscription Center that was announced at I/O 2018earlier this year. The newest development is designed to make it easier for Android users to manage their recurring payments from apps and services. Notably, the new hub comes as a one-stop shop to manage subscriptions on Google Play. The search giant is also adding a list of tools to uplift the app listing experience for developers. These are heading to developers using the Google Play Billing Library that received an updated version at I/O.

Among other developments, Google Play has added the redesigned Subscription Center that lets Android users easily view all their subscriptions, including the subscriptions of apps and services, and see their details and status. Each subscription in the main list comes with a larger icon, and the text listed on the Subscription Center is clearer over what was available in the past. Subscriptions listed on the new center also show their monthly/ yearly rate and their next renewal dates.

Unlike the previous version that was overlaying a menu to manage subscriptions, the redesigned Subscription Center opens each of the subscriptions in a new page once tapped. The fresh full page view includes options to let users easily update their primary payment method and add a back up of their existing payment method. Similarly, there is a larger Cancel Subscription button over the original Cancel button. Google has also added a cancellation survey that emerges once a user cancels a subscription. This survey will give developers feedback as to why the user is cancelling the subscription.google play subscription center Google Play Subscription Center

The new Subscription Center also has a “Get Started” link for all those users who are yet to begin with the subscriptions on Google Play. Once tapping the link, the screen shows apps and services through curated and localised collections. Google has also added deep links to direct users to manage their subscriptions directly from the app, over email or via the Web.

For developers, there is an enhanced billing experience through which the deep link can be added as a button or link from anywhere within their app. Google Play Console will also soon receive the ability to let developers easily ask users to accept a price change without having to set up a completely new SKU. Users will be notified about the change via emails, push notifications, and in-app messaging. Google also at the I/O revealed that there will be the ability to upgrade a subscription without changing the user’s expiration date. Additionally, developers will be able to issue a partial refund from the Play Console or refund specific subscription renewals instead of refunding just the one. Developers will also get the option to use their order IDs with the server-side API and use the Refund API with the Google Play Developer API. These features require the Google Play Billing Library version 1.1.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Jaguar, Audi, Porsche and BMW: their EV futures

Electric saloons and crossovers were big – seriously big – news at the Geneva Motor Show.

Jaguar had the big production car story with the I-Pace. Which is perhaps why Audi felt the need to send a couple of prototypes of its rival e-tron shuttling around the showground, wrapped in disguise graphics.

Porsche showed a reasonably realistic vision of its second Mission E model, and told Top Gear a lot more detail about the first Mission E, which launches next year.

VW showed a big saloon concept, the ID Vizzion, which will go into production in 2021. By which time VW will have have tacked on a steering wheel.

BMW, meanwhile, had nothing to show but announced it will put into production the i4. That’s the real-world version of last autumn’s Vision i Dynamics concept car, itself a realistic derivation of the fantastical BMW 100th anniversary concept. (OK, time to ‘fess up, we called it the i5 when we first wrote about it.)

Aston Martin unveiled the Lagonda too. While we know they’re serious about Lagonda and about EVs, this particular concept is pretty far-fetched. It’s designed around solid-state batteries, a technology that’s not even in the prototype stage yet. At least not in vehicles, only in the lab.

Hyundai had a production electric Kona, available with two battery sizes, the biggest able to store 64kWh for 300-odd miles of real-world range. There was even a SsangYong EV, a crossover due in 2019. As with the Kona, there’s a similar version with an engine, the new Korando due later this year.

Among carmakers building both electric and combustion cars, there is one striking difference. Do they scratch-design the EVs, or do they share platforms with their conventional petrol, diesel and hybrid cars?

BMW has a platform-sharing approach. The i4 uses an adapted version of the architecture that serves everything from the next-gen 3 Series to the upcoming X7, including the current 5 and 7 Series. I asked BMW boss Harald Krüger why they don’t have a dedicated electric platform, which is what Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche – and of course Tesla – have settled on.

The reason, he said, is flexibility. “Who can predict future electric market share?” So if EVs stiff out, BMW won’t be over-committed. Not only that, but also the opposite, says Krüger. “Even if EV grows fast we can react fast and build them on the existing combustion-car production lines. If you have dedicated EVs, what do you do with the old combustion-car plants?”

OK, but what if building a dedicated EV platform results in a better EV? Krüger simply tells me to look at the i4 concept, and asks if I see any problem with the looks, performance or range.

Porsche says electric cars would be additional sales, not substitutes, like when people buy a Cayenne as well as, not instead of, a 911

But Audi’s R&D chief, Peter Mertens disagrees. “The e-tron has an architecture called PPE, or Premium Platform Electric. It’s dedicated to electric and won’t be used for combustion cars or even plug-in hybrids. We have a Chinese wall between the two. They are so different as to proportions, packaging, weight distribution.”

Which is all very well, but until 2016 Mertens had the same R&D role at Volvo. And there he was responsible for the CMA platform, which sits under the new XC40. That one was designed to accommodate a full-EV version.

Jaguar has seized the advantages of a bespoke EV platform. The I-Pace’s proportions are radically different from the other Jag SUVs. Jaguar design chief Ian Callum likens it to the shift in sports cars from front to mid engines.

Absent a bulky engine at the front, its design pushes the driver forward, allowing more cabin space, and the long wheelbase leaves room for a bigger battery. Compare that with the long-bonnet BMW Vision i Dynamics.

What about the lack of flexibility and extra risk BMW’s Krüger talks of? The Jaguar is built under contract by Magna in Austria, so to an extent Jaguar has off-loaded the risk to Magna. It’s Magna who makes the E-Pace, too, as well as two BMWs and the Mercedes G-Class, so it manages to be a pretty flexible shop.

But Audi’s Mertens acknowledges the risk that BMW’s Krüger is talking about. “Yes, it does give us less flexibility in production. We have made a bold commitment.” The e-tron is to be made in a re-fitted Audi factory in Brussels. Mertens says Audi expects 15 per cent of its cars will be full-electric by 2025.

Porsche is pretty solidly committed too. That’s an understatement. It is investing €6 billion (£5.5bn) on electric R&D and production and the world’s highest-power charger network. Those things will zap up a Mission E from zero to 80 per cent charge in an astonishing 15 minutes.

Porsche has found space in its historic Zuffenhausen plant to install a dedicated new production line for the Mission E. I asked Porsche’s Sales and Marketing chief Detlev von Platen about his sales expectation. “There have been thousands of studies into the takeup of EVs and they have got thousands of answers. But €6 billion says we will be bold.”

That Mission E production line is geared for 20,000 cars a year, including other versions like the Cross Turismo, shown as a concept in Geneva. For reference, Porsche sold 250,000 cars and crossovers last year. Von Platen says the electric cars would be additional not substitutes, like when people buy a Cayenne as well as, not instead of, a 911.

Porsche is also developing leasing schemes where an owner pays a monthly fee and can swap between several Porsche models. That means if an EV wouldn’t work for, say, a holiday to a remote place, they would swap into a Cayenne or Panamera for the occasion.

Porsche’s R&D chief Michael Steiner says the Mission E uses a dedicated Porsche platform. The battery has cut-outs in the footwells so the passengers sit lower than other electric cars, to get a low roof line and the centre of gravity right down. Odd then that they jacked it up for the Mission E Cross Turismo concept, but the first production Mission E will be low as a snake’s belly.

Steiner confirms that Porsche is additionally working on the PPE platform with Audi. That’s the one used by the Audi e-tron, and its battery is a simple sandwich shape.

So Porsche will launch a second full-electric line. There will be the Mission E family, and, later a whole other electric crossover lineup on the PPE platform. That’s another part of the €6bn then. Will it be too similar to the Audi? “No-one questions that the Macan is a Porsche, even though it is related to an Audi.”

What does Steiner think of the possibility of a flexible platform that would also allow petrol versions? “You would have to compromise. You would have to make room for the engine, and for batteries.”

Those things are very different shapes. He says with solid-state batteries it would be easier, because those batteries might be half the size and weight of lithium ion. But even so, “Porsche does not like compromise.” Tell that to BMW then…

[“Source-topgear”]