Till that fateful day a few years back, Sachdevas’ (names changed) was an armed forces family, like any other, leading a happy and contended life in Delhi. Group Captain Sunil Sachdeva was doing well in his career and had been selected to undergo a prestigious training at Hyderabad. Aruna had a satisfying job as a teacher, and both the girls were doing well in their studies. Their household belongings were all packed and ready to be shipped to their new posting destination. But that road accident, which took away Sunil and Aruna, was not something anybody could’ve imagined even in their wildest dreams for a family so loved by all those who knew them.
The teenage girls got no time to even absorb the cruelty inflicted on them by life. While the Air Force and their friends went beyond their call to help the two little girls, there were limitations to which they could be helped – good friends got posted out and remote help could not be as good, and some family decisions had to be taken which friends and organisation could not take. The ‘family’ for them meant only two aged grandparents in a small town in central UP who could not move from there due to age and ailments. Being in the services and posted at faraway places, the children especially get distanced from the larger family. Finally all decisions of life, finances and relationships had to be taken by the two girls who were ill-equipped to shoulder that responsibility.
Then one of their well-wisher referred them to us at Hum Fauji Initiatives, a financial planning firm in Delhi, catering solely to armed forces officers and their families. Due to the tenderness of their age, wedecided that the need of the hour was first to impart appropriate financial education to them. This would make them aware of the need for looking ahead, far ahead, since they had a long financial journey to do in their life. Once the basics of long-term financial planning were clear to them, they would not hesitate to embark on the journey and understand the minor hiccups that would likely come on the way.
We explained to them issues like inflation, taxation, power of compounding, concepts of future value of things, various avenues to invest money with their pros and cons, future requirements (financial goals) that they needed to plan for, and the optimum balance to be maintained to invest in various financial avenues.
The girls had been receiving family pension of the father in addition to the bulk amount of insurance, gratuity etc that had been received earlier on the death. They had been wise enough not to spend the money unnecessarily but then it was scattered all over and had not been invested in any manner which could benefit them. The elder sister, Isha, in the meantime, cleared the tough entrance processthrough sheer gritand got commissioned as an officer in the Indian Air Force. The younger one was studying in Delhi University with hostel accommodation provided by the Air Force. Hence, both of them did not require any immediate financial assistance from the bulk corpus accumulated.
We got down to working out their future needs, costing them after taking inflation and taxation into account, allocate asset allocation ratios amongst various investment avenues, and withdrawal plan for anticipated needs as also for emergency requirements. The financial plan, for investment of the bulk amount and regular Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) due to monthly investible surplus available from the pension, was put into action once they understood the complete roadmap designed and agreed to it.
Regular reviews and re-balancing have resulted in the moderate portfolios growing strongly over a period of time. Isha recently got married to a fellow Air Force officer, which necessitated some withdrawals from the portfolios.
Life may have dealt the two young girls a nasty blow which shook them forever but their future financial life is bright due to the decision they took to plan systematically and stick to it through ups and downs.
Col Sanjeev Govila (retd), CFPCM,
CEO, Hum Fauji Initiatives
Sebi Registered Investment Advisor (RIA),
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