Friday,16 Feb 2024
Source/Contribution by : NJ Publications

Born into a world of constant connectivity and boundless information, Gen Z is navigating adulthood with habits and preferences that set them apart. As per UN World Population Prospects 2022, more than 50% of India's population is below the age of 25, and over 65% is below the age of 35. The future of our nation depends on the youth, i.e. Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012). These young adults are likely just starting to enter the workforce or at the early stages of their careers.

According to the 2022 Investopedia Financial Literacy Survey, Gen Z is more financially sophisticated than the previous generations; however, this generation is known to want instant gratification and, hence, indulge in risky investing habits such as speculative investing. Such speculative trading instruments can prove to be catastrophic to your wealth-building journey. According to a report by SEBI, the share of participation of individual traders belonging to the age group 20-30 saw a significant rise from 11% in FY19 to 36% in FY22. The report went on to state that 89% of individual traders in equity futures and options incurred losses.

When it comes to your hard-earned money, one needs to cultivate patience, consistency, and discipline. Moreover, it is important to seek guidance from a financial advisor time to time and trust in delayed gratification. Here are a few tips for new investors to safely park their surplus, manage their finances, and create wealth:

Set goals - To succeed in any endeavour, it is important to set goals. Whether it is a game of football or investing, goals shape the game plan and provide direction to your efforts. Before investing, it is important to set financial goals and quantify them. Financial goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Setting such goals not only help you build a plan but also streamline your investment journey.

Choose the right product - When it comes to investing, a plethora of options are available, but trusting your hard-earned money with these products is the real challenge. Investment instruments ranging from highly safe fixed deposits (FDs) to extremely risky speculative instruments such as options are available for investing at your disposal. However, one needs to draw a perfect balance between risk and return so that one can build sizeable wealth with peace of mind. The choice of the right product should be based on your risk profile and your financial needs.

Avoid debt trap - A debt trap refers to a vicious cycle of borrowing, struggling to meet debt obligations, and consequently accumulating more debt to cover existing payments. The term debt trap is associated with the inability to exit this perpetual cycle, leading to financial hardship. Generally, young adults are at a higher risk of falling into a debt trap since they are just at the start of their careers, and the expenses can mount up, nudging them to opt for loans.

Moreover, in a bid to live flamboyant lifestyles, young adults are also turning to credit cards. If you want to use credit cards for your expenses, you should use them rationally, maintain a credit utilisation ratio, and make timely payments. These mistakes can negatively impact your credit score, making it difficult to borrow in the future. Hence, it is important to avoid such credit mistakes and budget carefully to avoid a debt trap.

Budgeting - Gen Z lives in a highly connected, virtual world. With the advent of technology, everyone is now closer than ever digitally. Hence, Gen Z can often become the victim of greed and desire by comparing their lifestyle with others. Moreover, Gen Z often tends to follow the newest trends and practices. A new trend, 'soft saving', is getting quite popular amongst Gen Z. This phrase refers to living a luxurious lifestyle now and saving minimally for the future. This approach can prove to be detrimental to your future, leading to a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle with little left for your future financial goals. It's essential to strike a balance between your desired lifestyle and allocating funds towards your financial goals.

Start early - To build wealth, it is imperative that you start investing early. As soon as you get that first paycheck, setting an amount aside for investing is the wise thing to do. When investments are started early and done for the long term, the power of compounding can turn small investments into huge funds. For instance, if you had invested Rs 1,00,000 in Sensex TRI 25 years ago, then its value today would be Rs 34,89,772, an XIRR of 15.26%. However, if you had invested Rs 1,00,000 in Sensex TRI 15 years ago, then its value today would be just Rs 9,17,060. Hence, it is essential to start your investment journey as early as possible.

(Source Ace MF. The investment periods taken into consideration are - 25 years - 31 Dec 1998 to 31 Dec 2023 and 15 years - 31 Dec 2008 to 31 Dec 2023.)

Invest through SIPs - SIPs or systematic investment plans in mutual funds offer a flexible, systematic, consistent, and disciplined approach to investing. SIPs are highly accessible and affordable, allowing investors to start with an amount as small as Rs 100. With SIPs in mutual funds, one can start saving small amounts from their earnings and invest them in the long term to not only achieve financial goals but also build wealth. For instance, if you had started an SIP in mutual funds of Rs 10,000, 25 years ago, then its value today would be Rs 27,759,841, an XIRR of 15.06%. (Source Ace MF. Returns of Sensex TRI. The 25-year period taken into consideration is from 10 Jan 1999 to 31 Dec 2023. The SIP interval is assumed to be the 10th of each month.) 

Emotional biases - Young investors are often motivated to invest due to herd mentality and the fear of missing out (FOMO). Investing on the basis of such biases, fear, and greed can not only lead to losses but can also lead to missed opportunities. Hence, while investing, it is important to stick to the fundamentals and have an understanding of the investment avenue, the objective of investing, and the associated risk.

Emergency fund & insurance planning - The most inevitable thing in life is uncertainty, making it the most important thing to prepare for. You may never know when a rainy day arises in your life; hence, it is essential to prepare for these perils in life by insuring yourself. Moreover, one can also build an emergency fund, which can further prepare you for uncertainties in life. Preparing an emergency fund and securing adequate insurance not only safeguards your wealth-building journey but also eliminates the need to resort to loans during unexpected challenges.

Tax planning - For young individuals just entering the workforce, tax planning is a crucial concept of financial management. While the complexity of tax laws may seem intimidating, one can learn basic tax laws and consult a chartered accountant or a financial advisor who can further guide in financial management and efficient tax planning.

To conclude,

As the new generation sets foot in the professional world, embracing sound financial planning practices becomes paramount for a secure and prosperous future. By incorporating the aforementioned principles, Gen Z can navigate the complexities of financial management with ease. Moreover, opting for the guidance of a financial advisor can set the stage for a financially stable future.

Imp.Note: We are registered NJ Wealth Partners and this interview published is sourced from NJ Wealth with due permissions. Reproduction of this interview/article/content in any form or medium by any means without prior written permissions of NJ India Invest Pvt. Ltd. is strictly prohibited.

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