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Indicators to know that your financial life is in trouble

The condition of an individual’s financial life is not apparent only based on the income he earns. Sometimes, even after earning well, your financial life may not be in the best of colour. Many people are also comfortable living in the assumption that all is well. However, there are some broad signs or indicators which will tell you that your financial life is in trouble. Remember that the more valid these signs are, the more are the chances that you are heading towards financial disaster, and the more critical it is for you to take proactive steps to rectify the problem. Let’s look at some indicators which tell you that your financial life is in trouble:

You cannot survive without an income for 3 months Income is different from wealth. It is seen many a time that people earn pretty well, but if they lose their job suddenly, they are grappling for even the basic expenses. This is because they have not saved up enough to meet contingencies. If you have been working or in a business for a few years, then you should have a good back up in place which will help you survive for atleast for 3 months. When your expenses are very high and you do not have much left even when you are earning, you are stepping in to financial disaster. This is the first indicator to show that your financial position is shaky.

You pay high EMIs on depreciating assets Having too many liabilities on your books is not good. It is worse if you have debt which does not result in an appreciation of your assets. For instance, having high amount of personal loans, credit card debt or even car loans which result in high EMI outflow from your monthly salary is a very unhealthy practice. As a thumb rule, your total EMI outflow should not exceed 40% of your monthly take home pay. If you have a home loan, the EMI towards this will constitute a sizeable portion. It is therefore better to avoid other kind of debt which does not increase your asset value. When you realise you are paying high EMIs on depreciating assets, this is another indicator of financial trouble. It is not easy to get a better paying job with the skills you possess: Professionally, you must grow and advance in your career, such that it translates to better income and higher savings. However, if you find that you are not able to move upwards in your career despite repeated attempts, it means that you are going to be stuck with the same salary every year, or be happy with a small hike. This is turn means that your investments will be limited, resulting in limited wealth building opportunities. Take a proactive step in honing your skills and building your career for a better financial life as well.

Spending on social functions Majority of people in India believe in spending unnecessarily on social functions, either as a status symbol or keeping in line with traditions. Although this may be an important part of your life, spending too much on social functions is a mere waste of money and does not yield anything. If you realise that you have been spending too much on such functions, you can be sure that you are headed for financial trouble. A good way of finding this out is to list out all the expenses you incurred in the past 3-5 years on various social functions and see how much of your income has not been put to good use.

Working for long, but no ‘asset’ If you have been working for at least 3 to 5 years, but still have no asset, then it means your financial life is in trouble. You should have some investment in fixed deposits or gold or mutual funds or have a small part of down payment saved for your future house. If you do not have any of this, it means you have been very careless in your financial life and must immediately put your finances in order.

The initial signs of a troubled financial life will not take long to manifest into a bigger problem which can be very difficult to handle. It is important to start at the earliest and rectify your past mistakes.

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August 5, 2015

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