Zero to hero | Value Research Anshul Goel knew nothing about investing and personal finance. Now, he is a personal finance enthusiast. Here’s how it happened.
How I Did It

Zero to hero

Anshul Goel knew nothing about investing and personal finance. Now, he is a personal finance enthusiast. Here's how it happened.

Thirty-six-year-old Anshul Goel works as a management consultant. His knowledge of personal finance and investing has undergone a major transformation over the years. As he puts it, "From asking questions like 'how much should I save monthly?' to 'how to make a will?', I grew up, I learnt and now, I have a clear road map for my finances and I manage them on my own." This is how Anshul briefly describes his investment journey. Willingness and self-learning have formed the bedrock of this transformation.

A native of Pilkhuwa in Uttar Pradesh, Anshul has been living in Mumbai for about a decade now. He is married and has a five-year-old daughter. Anshul's wife, Arnima, works in a risk-management role.

A transformative journey
Until a couple of years ago, Anshul had zero knowledge of investments and finance. He had no clue about his finances or goals. He was even unsure about whether he would be able to accumulate a sufficient corpus for his retirement and daughter's education. Moreover, following in the footsteps of his friends and relatives, Anshul purchased 16 stocks of small companies without researching them properly.

In 2019, Anshul got an opportunity to meet and work with the CEO of Value Research, Dhirendra Kumar, for one of his office projects. "That was a turning point for me," says Anshul. Gradually, he gained an interest in personal finance and decided to take charge of his finances.

Anshul started reading more about personal finance on the internet and through books and started following multiple social-media groups and personal-finance experts on Twitter. And of course, he became a regular visitor of Value Research Online. As revealed by Anshul, he started watching 'Investors' Hangout' regularly and even dug out old episodes from the archive and binge-watched them. Investors' Hangout is a weekly programme broadcast on the Value Research website and YouTube. In the programme, Dhirendra Kumar sheds light on investment-related issues and helps investors make informed decisions.

After spending an enormous amount of energy and time, he finally came up with a checklist to take care of his finances. Some of the points are as follows:

  • Simplification: Anshul now holds two savings bank accounts as against five earlier. He has also reduced his number of credit cards from four to two.
  • Emergency fund: He maintains an emergency fund, which is equivalent to six-month expenses, in a fixed deposit.
  • Adequate life and health insurance: Although Anshul had a life cover earlier, he randomly decided the sum assured. Later, he re-assessed his actual need in view of his goals, net worth and income level and re-aligned the life cover. Besides, he increased his health cover from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh and purchased a top-up cover of Rs 90 lakh. In addition, Anshul purchased a personal-accident plan to cover the financial risk of disability due to an accident.
  • Identifying all the financial goals: Besides accumulating a corpus for his retirement, daughter's education and marriage, buying a house in Mumbai over the next 10 years is on his wish list. According to Anshul, retirement is a very important goal and one should not postpone investing for it.
  • Allocating assets: He has well understood the importance of asset allocation and how to increase or decrease the allocation towards equity, depending on the goal.
  • Reducing overdiversification: Earlier, Anshul had 16 mutual funds in his portfolio. He has now reduced the number to just six. He now has around six-seven stocks and he has picked them after adequate research.
  • Having nominees and a will: For all his assets and investments, he has assigned nominees and also made a joint will with his wife.

His investment strategy
Both Anshul and his wife are avid savers and manage to save a good chunk of their salaries. Since most of Anshul's goals are far away, he prefers investing in equities for them. He invests about 90 per cent of the money through mutual funds and invests directly in stocks for the remaining 10 per cent. Anshul prefers investing in a large- and mid-cap funds and flexi-cap funds, given their flexibility to invest across companies of different sizes. He has also added a small-cap fund to his portfolio. Currently, his portfolio includes Mirae Asset Emerging Bluechip Fund, SBI Focused Equity Fund, SBI Small Cap Fund, Kotak Flexicap Fund, Nippon India Small Cap Fund and Parag Parikh Flexi Cap Fund.

Anshul has also moved his older investments in fixed deposits and bank to equities. Soon after he started realising the importance of equity, he witnessed the market crash in 2020, owing to COVID. Although Anshul saw such a crash for the first time, he didn't panic as he had read a lot about such instances. Rather he used the opportunity to gradually move a part of his savings from debt to equity.

Besides utilising the Rs 1.5 lakh limit under Section 80C, he invests in the NPS to get an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 under Section 80CCD (1B). Although he considers the mandatory 40 per cent clause for buying an annuity in the NPS a challenge, he is sure that it will somehow fit in his plan at that point in time.

Enlightening others
After setting a clear road map for himself, Anshul has now started spreading financial awareness. He has already pushed at least 15-20 people in his circle for buying adequate insurance after explaining to them its importance. He also took a few online sessions and is now pursuing the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) course to get an in-depth understanding of the subject.

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