Financial Frenemies – what you need to know.

Friendship Day marks the celebration of the relationship we’ve shared with our friends, old and new. It’s a journey we cherish and hope to continue for a lifetime. Just as we trust these long lasting friendships to have our backs when we need them the most, there’s another critical aspect of our lives that we need to give a lot of thought to – our money management. Savings and investments are not habits that come naturally to everyone. These are lessons we learn along the way as we grow up, start earning and are told to take care of our finances. Yes, it’s for the very same reason that we make friends for – to have something of our own and more so, enough of it to fall back on when the need arises.

If you are new to financial planning and don’t understand how to invest, what to invest in and other related queries, it’s best to consult a financial planning advisor who can guide you well with this. While family members are advisors for life, it’s helpful to seek guidance from an expert who can provide clarity to you in your journey. Amongst the plethora of investment options available in the market, it’s important to know which ones suit you the most and invest accordingly. There are various choices which may seem very obvious or the most recommended however, it’s important to do your research and understand if they are really worth investing or consider other avenues.

It’s easy to fall prey to plans or people who promise high returns with low risks. While such plans do exist, they may not necessarily be real or lucrative offers in the first place. Speak Asia and Stock Guru are two such examples of dubious schemes in 2011 and 2012 respectively, wherein very high returns aka promising to double in a span of 6 months, proved to be a red flag in itself. Ankur Sachdeva from Delhi invested Rs. 11.6 lakhs in Stock Guru in 2012. He was initially skeptical and invested Rs. 2 lakhs in the scheme. When he received Rs. 40,000 back in the first month, he invested Rs. 10 lakhs more to never have got back anything in return. A very basic principle to bear in mind while investing in any scheme is to check if it has been verified by some regulatory authority such as SEBI. Reading the fine print is cumbersome in most cases so make sure to have a lot of questions for your advisor. Anything or anyone promising unbelievable returns in a short duration should ideally not be trusted. Anything that is too good to be true is never true.

Life insurance is another vehicle which is mistaken for investment because of its triple benefits of a cover for life, long term savings and tax benefits. Endowment plans are the most traditional and very often considered to be the safest forms of investments. However, these policies not only give sub-optimal returns of 4-6%, but also force the policyholder into a multi-year commitment. While there is a way out, which is to surrender the policy if you have paid the premiums for a minimum number of years, you are sure to face a loss when you do so. These investments not only prevent investing in other lucrative avenues but also don’t give returns which do justice to such long term commitments. Not to forget, very long lock-in periods which means that you could end up investing for as long as 20-30 years where the interest is only accumulated, not compounded.

As an investor, it’s also very important to be cautious of falling prey to trading. The thrill is a given with quick high returns that trading gives however, very often most of the investors have no idea of what business the company is in or why is it that the price of a stock is going up or down. Let us look at a simple scenario. Say for example Mr. A believes that the price of Stock X is likely to go up by 10% today and hence he buys at Rs. 100. X indeed rises to Rs. 110 and Mr. A sells it off to Mr. B who also buys it with a belief that the price will rise further. X further rises to Rs. 118 and Mr. B sells it off to Mr. C. Obviously, Mr. C also wants to make money and believes that the upward movement will continue. He therefore sells it off to Mr. D at Rs. 128. This continues till that moment when the cycle breaks. The last man standing ends up making a loss. As stated above, in this cycle, there is a high probability that none of the players have any idea why the price is behaving the way it is and even the fact that someone will eventually pay a price in anticipation of the price rising further. Trading is a risky activity and is under no circumstances a medium of creating wealth. While a lot of people have made money with trading, there is no guarantee that you will be one of them.

While there are several such financial frenemies out there that can misguide investors, it’s best to start with professional help and take things in your hands in a couple of years of learning the ropes. Our expert advice is to first identify your financial goals, investment horizon and risk appetite to know how, where and how much to invest. Mutual funds are a great way to start with through SIP as they can always be tailored to your needs whether, short, mid or long term. Having a mixed portfolio also ensures that not all your eggs are put in the same basket. After all, there is no greater wealth in this world than peace of mind. So, befriend the savings habit and trust us with all your financial planning needs. Wishing you all a happy & financially prudent friendship day!

Do health insurance plans cover maternity expenses?

Maternity health insurance

“Maternity Plans” are not really separate plans. It is a feature which may be covered under normal health plans. However, only a few health plans offer maternity cover as part of their normal health plans.

Key features of maternity cover are as follows:

  • There is usually a separate waiting period for maternity coverage – This means that any claims with respect to maternity will be catered to only after the maternity specific waiting period is over
  • Almost all plans have an upper cap on the amount of expenses that will be covered – Usually the coverage ranges from INR 25000 – 50000 per delivery. The reason most policies have an upper cap is because the number of claims for maternity is likely to be very high. The purpose of Health Insurance is to protect you from any sudden outflow of funds due to a medical emergency. The occurrence of maternity is almost certain and hence a limit on the same is warranted
  • Pre – maternity costs are generally not covered – Most plans which offer maternity coverage generally do not cover any expenses that are incurred towards consultancies and tests
  • New born coverage – Generally, the new born baby is covered till the end of policy year

Should you buy a health plan only because it provides maternity coverage?

Maternity should ideally be treated as a bonus option. The overall decision behind buying a health plan should ideally be the key features which are relevant for any kind of hospitalization. Imagine a plan providing good maternity coverage but having a claim settlement ratio of 70%. Therefore, choosing a plan just because it provides maternity coverage may not be the best decision to take.

However, in case you have a choice between two equally good plans with one of them providing maternity coverage with or without some extra premium, then it might make sense to take the plan with the maternity clause. Especially, if you are planning a kid in next few years.

Want to discuss more on maternity plans? Write to us on

Have you read about our Cancer Plans?

Everything about Top Up Health Insurance Plans

Top Up Health Plans

What are Top Up Plans?

Also known as Deductible Plans, Top Up Health Plans provide a cover over and above a certain base cover. This base cover in most cases come from existing policies. Some Top Up Plans allow deductible options even without an existing insurance policy.

In cases where there is an existing insurance policy, reimbursement against any claim that arises will first be made out of the existing policy. The liability of the Top Up Plan arises only after the set threshold of the existing plan has been exhausted.

In cases where there is no existing policy and the Top Up Plan permits such a situation, expenses up to the threshold level has to be borne by the insured out of his or her own pocket. The liability of the Top – Up Plan arises only after the set threshold has been exhausted.

Example 1:

Ajay has a health insurance cover from his employer of 8 lacs. He purchases a top up plan for 10 lacs with a deductible of 3 lacs. An unfortunate event of hospitalization generates a claim of 9 lacs. Ajay can use either of the following options:

Option 1: Raise a claim of 8 lacs against the employer health plan and balance 1 lac against the top up plan

Option 2: Raise a claim of 3 lacs against the employer health plan and balance 6 lacs against the top up plan

So basically, the top up plan gets activated only when the deductible threshold is crossed.

Example 2:

Vijay does not have any existing health plan except a top up cover of 10 lacs with a deductible of 1 lac. He gets hospitalized and has to raise a claim of 3 lacs. In this case, Ajay will have to pay the initial 1 lacs from his own pocket and the Top – Up Plan will consider only balance amount of 2 lacs for claim settlement.

Why are Top Up plans useful?

These plans are useful for two simple reasons:

  1. A high coverage is available at a significantly low premium
  2. In an event of a medical emergency where the amount of expenses tend to spiral beyond the usual ranges, these plans come to rescue

Who should buy Top Up Plans?

  1. Salaried people who have a basic corporate cover – Smaller hospitalization claims can be covered by the corporate cover and in case of larger expenses, Top Up Plans can be utilized. This also means that post retirement, claims up to the deductible amount will have to be either self – funded or funded through a Base Insurance Plan. However, since deductibles are pre-decided, the same can be set aside as an emergency fund.
  2. Salaried people who plan to change jobs or start on their own – Top Up Plans are an excellent option in this case. The cover and the low cost premium continues irrespective of whether you are salaried or get into entrepreneurship.
  3. People who have sufficient resources for covering up small ticket emergencies – These people can leverage the low premium Top Up Plans to cover themselves for any eventualities
  4. People who have a Base Insurance Plan with a basic cover amount of 5-10 lacs – In cases of severe medical emergencies such as complicated surgeries, the amount of expense usually shoots beyond the normal cover that we usually have. Especially if the treatment is being carried out in one of the plush city hospitals! A Top Up Plan is the umbrella for such unannounced rainy days.

Which are the best Top Up Plans?

Most Insurance Companies now offer top Up Plans. However, one has to select the plan which has the most suitable features and has a low premium. Email us on to ask us for the best Top Up Plans.

Why should people with Corporate Insurance cover still have a separate health plan?

I don’t like negative returns on my investment. What should I do?

What to do for safe returns?

Investors are just humans and every human is a different personality. And hence, our appetite to be able to see our money go up and down might vary as well. And what we want to do with our money is a very personal decision. So it is perfectly okay if you are an investor who hates to witness the volatility that equities bring on the table. This means, that you prefer certainty in life more than the worry about whether your negative return will turn positive ever again. Basically, you are a debt investor.

Saying no to equities is fine, as long as you know the trade-offs.

  • Your returns will at best match inflation, debt instruments are unlikely to give you inflation-beating returns now and forever
  • Hence, to accumulate the amount of corpus that you may need for financial independence may necessitate you to earn more as your invested money can only work to protect your capital (in the best case scenario)
  • Debt Mutual Funds can also suffer losses in rare cases. This generally happens with funds which have high credit risk on their portfolio

But Debt Funds do come with advantages that are more in sync with your investment philosophy:

  • Returns are fairly consistent (The degree of volatility is much lower than equity)
  • Depending on the funds you select, you can have complete liquidity of capital. So you can withdraw whenever you want without any charges
  • Debt FMPs or Fixed Maturity Products which have around 3-year lock-in, provide slightly higher returns than other debt funds which do not have a lock-in. Add to that the benefit of low or negligible taxation due to indexation benefits.

At this juncture, you might be quite disappointed with the fact that there could be losses in rare situations and you still don’t get to escape volatility. You must be telling yourself a 100 times that the good old FDs are still the best solution. But hold on. Is your Fixed Deposit making you wealthier? Read here to find out.