It’s been just a few months of lockdown and our behaviour has turned completely different. In just a span of a couple of months, something as normal as going to watch a movie has become so dangerous. We have learnt lessons which have been very hard and these lessons are across health and wealth. Here are 3 lessons on money and health that Monika Halan, consulting editor of Mint and author of Let’s Talk Money, swears by: 

  1. “The first one is that we spend much more than we need to. When the first credit card bill came – of the first full month of lockdown – I was myself surprised to see how little the month had cost, and I consider myself a frugal spender. Because you are not going out, because there is no cost of petrol, entertainment, coffee, meals outside of the house, you don’t need to spend on upgrades on clothes, shoes, bags and all of that, the month actually costs very little. I realised that we are spending on things which may not be essential, which doesn’t mean that you don’t have to enjoy your today when things get better. For all those of you who used to think – Oh I have no money to spend; I have no money to save; I am spending all my money; or: where is the money left to save – you just have to remember these COVID times to remember where the money has come from. We can cut down our spending if we really need to, and for those people who have savings goals, the COVID period will be an important period to remember that saving is possible.”


  2. “Markets go up and down but you don’t need to go up and down with them. The premise to this is that you should have worked through your financial plan, you should have had your asset allocation in place, and the money which is allocated for the long term is really the money which is in the equity market. I know of people who sold their lifetime investments into equity. When the markets cracked in March and fell 30% they just sold at the bottom of the market. As of June, the markets are up 20%, a lot of recovery has happened to the money which had lost 25% – 30% of the value.”


  3. “You must have your asset allocation in place. Even people who have a very large appetite for risk need to actually have a good conservative asset allocation in place as you age. So, remember your allocation is a function of how far your goal is and how old you are. The closer you are to retirement the lesser of equity you have, which does not mean your equity composes zero, it just reduces. So, this was a great time to have figured out whether or not your asset allocation was right or not. A mix of equity, debt, you are 100% safe. Investments like PF, PPF, fixed deposits in scheduled commercial banks, about 10% of your portfolio in gold, if somebody had this allocation they have not really worried at all through this market crash and the freezing of the markets a few months back. It’s a great time to work out your risk capacity whenever the markets are so choppy. So, think about your asset allocation and then think about how much risk you can take.”

Here’s where you can find Monika Halan’s full list of health and wealth lessons.

monika wealth


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