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Investment & Financial journey of a 23 year old

I am a 23-year-old girl living in Mumbai and the sole breadwinner of my family of 4. I work as a Graphic Designer at a publishing company with an in-hand income of ₹27,000 a month. I am sharing with you how I started my investment journey, and I hope to learn more from Freefincal’s articles.

About this series: I am grateful to readers for sharing intimate details about their financial lives for the benefit of readers. Some of the previous editions are linked at the bottom of this article. You can also access the full reader story archive.

Opinions published in reader stories need not represent the views of freefincal or its editors. We must appreciate multiple solutions to the money management puzzle and empathise with diverse views. Articles are typically not checked for grammar unless necessary to convey the right meaning and preserve the tone and emotions of the writers.

If you would like to contribute to the DIY community in this manner, send your audits to freefincal AT Gmail dot com. They can be published anonymously if you so desire.

Please note: We welcome such articles from young earners who have just started investing. See, for example, this piece by a 29-year-old: How I track financial goals without worrying about returns. We have also started a new “mutual fund success stories” series. This is the first edition: How mutual funds helped me reach financial independence. Now, over to the reader.

My CTC is ₹29,000 a month, out of which ₹2,000 goes straight to my PF account. This shall be my fixed-income instrument. Coming back to the expenses, on the second of every month, once my salary gets credited to my salary account, an amount of ₹22,000 is auto-debited to my mother’s account for handling household expenses, and the remaining ₹5,000 gets auto-debited to my savings bank account.

Out of the ₹22,000, I have specifically requested my mum to keep aside ₹2,000 every month as savings because I may have to resign from my current job once I get a better offer from another company. Resignation at my current job means serving a notice period requiring me to save up at least one month’s salary. I am proud to say, I have at least saved 2 months of my pay in liquid cash. I have been at my current job for the past 2 years or so, and I told my mum to save that ₹2,000 from January 2023, and now she has over ₹30,000 just in cash.

Out of the ₹5,000 I have saved in one month, I have started two SIPs and made lumpsum in the third. First is the Nippon India Large Cap Fund, for which I pay ₹1,500, and it gets auto debited on every 20th of the month; the second is the UTI Nifty 50 Fund, for which ₹1,000 gets auto debited on the 15th of every month. Once I saved over ₹35,000 as cash in my savings account, I decided to make a lump sum payment of ₹10,000 towards the Parag Parikh Flexi Cap Fund in April 2024. It would take me more than 4-5 months to get back to save the amount I had invested in the Parag Parikh Fund.

Coming to financial goals, my plan this year is to change jobs and get at least 35,000₹ in hand. With every job change, I have tried to increase my savings, and once I get a new job, I am planning to save at least 10,000₹ every month to create my emergency fund. Once I have saved up my one month’s salary as an emergency fund, I wish to increase my investment amount even more.

There’s always this tussle between increasing the emergency funds in plain cash or putting that cash into mutual funds. My other goal would be to afford a PC/Laptop of around 1-2 lakhs (I need a good quality setup because the design requires maxed-out PC specs). Better quality laptop = Upskilling = Better job. After buying this laptop, I wish to save up for courses in UI/UX design (I am a self-taught graphic designer, but companies ask for certification for UI/UX roles). I want to change careers from Graphic Design to UI/UX design cause UI/UX pays more, and I am interested in that role.

Anyway, that’s how my investment and financials work. I don’t worry much about my investments much and focus on how to earn more income. I do wish to save for retirement, but the money that I am earning now won’t be enough if I don’t upskill first to earn more money. Market volatility doesn’t worry me, but what worries me the most is whether I can pump in more money. What if I loose my job? And also unforseen conditions which may put me in a position to not allow me to make more investments. But hey, that’s what money is for. To create a cushion for life’s vulnerabilities.

I also don’t have any debt/EMI, and I am only spending, saving, or investing whatever little I have. Let’s see how it goes.

Reader stories published earlier:

As regular readers may know, we publish a personal financial audit each December – this is the 2022 edition: Portfolio Audit 2022: The Annual Review of My Goal-based Investments. We asked regular readers to share how they review their investments and track financial goals.

These published audits have had a compounding effect on readers. If you would like to contribute to the DIY community in this manner, send your audits to freefincal AT Gmail. They could be published anonymously if you so desire.

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About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.

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