The festival season around Diwali is around the corner and each one of us is gearing up to celebrate it to the fullest. The popular festival of lights can be a special occasion in more ways than one. Gifting and celebrating together is always a special feeling, where we get to spread joy among our loved ones. This is also an occasion which we can use to be extra considerate about the financial future of our friends and family. Yes, you guessed it right. With careful thought, we can turn this festival of light into a festival of delights for everyone around us.
This Diwali, let us look beyond the chocolates and sweets, smartphones and PlayStations, sarees and accessories. Instead, let us gift the gift that keeps on gifting back for years to come, and in times of need.
Starting with the point of endearment in every household, the cherubic girl child. You may be the parent or grandparent of a newborn girl child. Or a little girl who has already graced the household with her baby steps for a few years. Gift her something that will help her secure her higher studies and career ambitions. The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) is ideal for this purpose. SSY is backed by a sovereign guarantee and is therefore a completely safe investment.
Available for girls up to the age of 10 years, a family can open SSY for up to two girl children. If you have a relative who has a girl child you can gift her the initial deposit that starts from Rs 250, thoughtfully entwined with the SSY account opening form.
SSY can be opened in post offices and authorized banks, so it is very convenient to open and continue to contribute. The girl child can have up to Rs 1.5 lakhs deposited into it in her name every year. Presently, it is offering a respectable interest rate of 7.6% per annum.
For a total investment of Rs 22.5 lakhs over 15 years, she will get a maturity amount of Rs 63.66 lakhs.
Boys don’t have an SSY equivalent but can go for one of the many investments available for both men and women. For similar rates of interest (6.8% and 6.9%), you can go for the National Saving Certificate (NSC) or the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP). NSC matures in five years, while KVP goes beyond nine years. Both are one-time investments. Depending on the boy’s future educational needs, an investment gift can be finalized.
Money-back plans are also common gifts for little ones, which combine insurance with investment. A children's mutual fund can also be initiated for both boys and girls. Equity, as well as debt plans, are offered by AMCs in these fund schemes. You can also go for the tax-friendly option of Public Provident Fund in your name and earmark the maturity amount for your little boy.
If your spouse is likely to be delighted by something exciting, gift her the stock that she was eyeing for some time. Or gift him a lump sum investment in a mutual fund and encourage him to continue it as an SIP.
A joint insurance policy can be another way of reassuring your eternal affection for each other. An often thought-about top for your family health plan can be considered to protect your family finances further.
Spouses often discuss personal finances among themselves. So, selecting a financial gift for each other shouldn’t need a lot of pondering anyway.
Unlike the famous saying, in a gender-neutral sense, it could be either of your parents that rocked your cradle. Diwali is easily the best occasion to show your love to them in return, and in kind.
One of the most pressing needs of ageing parents is a robust health insurance plan. You are best placed to understand their health cover needs, based on their medical history. Choose a plan and even an add-on if required, as per their requirement. With this, you can take away their concerns about the financial crisis in the event of a medical emergency.
For investment purposes, you can start a Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) in their name. With a 7.4% interest rate, it is among the most rewarding saving schemes available. Your SCSS gift will be a source of delight, given the financial growth that will accompany them well into their old age. Investments in SCSS can be anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 15 lakhs. The eligibility for this scheme is 60 years, and 55 years in specific cases. The account can be closed after five years and can be extended for an additional three years.
You and your friend might love to discuss the stock market and share your wish list often. You can make this Diwali truly delightful by transferring your friend’s favourite share to his demat account and pleasantly surprising him. For the risk-averse friend, an NSC can be an ideal token of friendship. An NSC can be purchased with a minimal sum of Rs 1,000 onwards.
The spirit of Diwali is celebrated even more delightfully with a gesture of generosity. There are people in your life who help you out every day. It will be a festival of delight for them if you gift them with an investment.
Your housemaid, for instance, would be gratified if you consider a gift ideal for her. The Atal Amrit Abhiyan seeks to help the Below Poverty Line and low-income families with medical cover. Families with an annual income of less than Rs 5 lakhs can avail of cashless treatment and healthcare facilities of up to Rs 2 lakhs per person per annum. People like your apartment’s security guard or your maid may not be aware of these initiatives. If they are from the Above Poverty Line category, offer them the minimal enrollment fee of Rs 100 per annum along with the necessary guidance in paper works.
There are some things that money can’t buy, one such thing being wisdom. If you help, guide and discuss financial decisions and investment options with your near and dear ones, Diwali can be a new start for them financially. Discuss the investment options that are tailor-made for them or consult your financial planner on their behalf about the best course of action.
For your children, financial wisdom can be teaching them about the importance of saving and earning their pocket money. For your young niece who just started earning, it could be guidance on long-term investment options. With your friends, you can discuss and enlighten each other about the latest in the financial world and emerging investment opportunities.
We can conclude that to turn Diwali into a Festival of Delights, we need to take baby steps in the right direction. By spending a small amount of time researching for our loved ones, and a little time guiding them we can open new windows of financial freedom for them. Any amount you spend on top of that will only act as the wind in their sail, as they set out on their voyage towards financial growth and freedom.