There are various investment avenues to choose from and that makes the task of an investor that much more challenging. Most of us really are never educated about how to handle money, how to grow it, where to invest to save tax etc. This has led to a lot of misguided selling & a lot of people losing money in various places and hence resorting to only one funda, FD is the best. Let me just try to list a few other places where an investor can invest.
1.) Real Estate (Land)
A pretty popular avenue these days with high paying salaries and wanting to save tax.
This topic we shall not discuss.
Another popular and favourite means, we shall skip this as well. However, I would like to point out
that average return of Gold per year in the last 30 years is 9.30% only!!!
A relatively better instrument, gives tax free interest the only problem with this is the cycle of
completion is long and you can only invest maximum 1 lac per year.
4.) Mutual Funds
As a matter of perception a lot of people associate mutual funds only with equity funds or risky
instruments, which is really not the case. Mutual funds are a lot more than just equity. Let me
broadly classify different types of funds.
a) Equity Funds
b) Debt Funds - This can be further divided as under :
i) Bond/Income Funds
ii) Liquid Funds
iii) Fixed Maturity Plans (FMP)
c) Hybrid Funds
There also are many other avenues like Private Company Fixed Deposits, National Savings Certificates, Postal MIS etc which we will avoid discussing.
Equity funds shall be discussed later and Hybrid funds later as well. We will look at one of the direct competitor of Fixed Deposits that is Fixed Maturity Plans.
Fixed Maturity Plans as the name suggests are are debt schemes, where the corpus is invested in fixed-income securities. The tenure can be of different maturities, from one month to three years.
Basically they invest money where the money earns interest, they invest for a fixed period and at the end of the period they will pay the investor the proceeds.
i.) Liquidity – The difference with an FD is that an FD can be liquidated in between(prematurely) FMP is almost impossible to redeem prematurely, though it can be transferred. If you are not sure you will not hold the FMP to maturity, it is better to opt for an Fixed Deposit.
ii.) Return Assurance – Whilst on an Fixed Deposit certificate you get a rate of interst printed. FMP returns are not guaranteed. Although FMP returns are more or less around the Fixed deposit rates, the fact remains that the mutual fund company will not give you any assurance in writing about your rate of return. I am sure you must be wondering why would you go for a Fixed Maturity Plan at all.
iii) Taxation – Assuming you are in the highest tax bracket below is the main reason why anyone in the top tax bracket should never go for a Fixed Deposit unless he has plans to withdraw it prematurely.
We shall assume that the FD and FMP both are giving 9% annual return.
Now the Govt of India has declared Cost Inflation Index for the year 2014-15 as 1024.
Please take a look at the below table :
This table clearly show’s how much money will a person in the top bracket take home post tax. Fixed Maturity Plan’s with indexation benefit and without indexation benefit clearly win hands down against a Fixed Deposit.
Please understand that Govt of India every year announces a Cost Inflation Index. Which means that any gains equal to this Inflation index will not be taxed. However, you have to select an instrument that has indexation benefit.
Now if you have understood nod your head and if not let me have your questions! :)
I will be glad to explain and interact! :D
If you are in the Income Tax ka top bracket of 30% Tax rate, do you know that your average Fixed Deposit is actually de-growing your money???
Does this sound like a shock to you???
See, suppose you invest in a Fixed deposit that gives you 9.50% interest rate per year and you are in the 30% Income Tax Slab you actually approx 33% as tax(with surcharge & education cess) on the interest which is added to your yearly income.
If you invest in your Bank FD of 9.5% please simply understand that 33% of that interest rate will be income tax that you will have to pay.
So when you deduct 33% from 9.5% your return amounts to 6.36%. Effectively that is what you get in hand.
Do you know what is current inflation?
Well the Government of India has announced Cost Inflation Index(CII) for the year 2014-2015 at 1024, to simplify it at 10.24. Which means last year the prices of things went up by 10.24%
In layman terms, if you bought 1 kg daal in Rs. 100/- today, you will need Rs. 110.24/- to buy the same daal next year.
Average CII for the last 5 years is 862.
Bottom line is if you did not make 8.62% post tax deductions you are actually de-growing your money.
Okay so now do I have your attention???
If yes, please raise your hands and then in the next post we look at how to make more than the 8.62%, the one good news I can share is the Government will give you indexation benefits and make you pay no tax on any income you earn below the CII if you invest in the instruments that the Government wants you to invest in!! :D :D :D
So whilst driving my own car to the Himalaya’s was always a dream and it came true, I had not always imagined of biking in the Himalaya’s, somehow, the thought that rains could come down and in that cold weather I firmly believed that rains would not be too much fun. However, as I wanted to ride to Jalori Pass in my car a lot of people told me to avoid the car and use the bike instead. Frankly too many unnecessary apprehensions were in my mind about the bike ride. However with Jamie to accompany and probably assist if anything went wrong I finally took the plunge. Trust me this was like tasting blood! No wonder so many people bike in the Himalaya’s! Whilst initially when the road got slushy as we neared the top of the pass it was scary, the best part was I actually over came my silly fears. In the end I would say it just required a tad careful driving at some times. The views that we got on the way could not be captured by the camera as wonderfully as I did with my eyes. Jalori Pass is situated at 10800 feet and is closed from October to April in the winters due to snow.
Luckily for us the weather remained quite nice till we reached uphill and even did a small trek to reach the absolute summit for some spectacular views of the Himalaya’s and the changing cloud formation at the the top of the hills. As we stayed on the summit mesmerised by the beauty of the 360 degree view we actually saw the weather changing from sunny to unruly. Whilst it rained in the valley below on us we had snow flakes. That infact was my first experience of a live snow fall. We rushed back worried the road would become even more slippery. Luckily the rains were only a trickle and we had a pretty safe ride back to Raju where a hot lunch awaited us!
Here are a few pics from the ride! :D
The views from the top were something like this :
Sigh… the feeling to go back was like that of been to Heaven and back! :D May this just be the beginning of many Bike Expeditions in the Himalaya’s I say!!! :D :D
There are hotels and there are resorts some offer you luxury, some offer you facilities and then there is this little homestay, tucked away in one quaint little place at the cusp of the Great Himalayan National Park. For a long time I have wondered about going to a home-stay and getting an experience of one of such places. Then came this suggestion from Jay when I was planning the trip to Himachal, to go to this little Guest House in Tirthan Valley. The first few searches and reviews on trip advisor actually sold the place to me immediately. I was warned to book early in Raju Guest House as it is always over booked, so in February I booked a two night stay. Around 8 hour drive away from Chandigarh, via Aut and very near to the little town of Banjar is this wonderful abode that is called as Raju Bharti’s Guest House. Actually its a paradise tucked away! :)
Let me just say that each and every facet of the place was just way way too wonderful, the food, the stay, the place everything was so so so good that we extended our stay and only left when he requested us that he is having a few too many guests coming in and there was no way he could spare us a room that we left, with a promise to be there next year no matter what and for a longer stay this time.
Managed by Raju Bharti, his wife Lataji who cooks the most awesome meals you could imagine, Raju’s two son’s Karan, the handsome guy who also is quite an expert in identifying birds and the shy, soft spoken Varun, with a cousin and a few local help. They have their own cattle, goats, apple orchard, cherry trees, apricot trees, almond trees and what not. They also have the most amazingly calm 4 dogs that were actually darlings and a guy like me who is petrified of dogs also was at the end almost okay with it sitting next to me or putting its feet on my lap!! :)
The whole atmosphere of the place is just full of peace, fullness and calm, stacked with hundreds of books, and lots of lovely places to sit and read. A wonderfully decorated fire room if it rains, a Gazebo to light a fire on slightly lesser cold nights, an open camp fire place, a dining room that is full of unlimited supplies of jam’s of 4 flavours, 6-7 pickles, unlimited Rhododendron syrup or Peach Syrup or Apple Cider to drink all day long whilst you are busy reading or fishing or gazing the Himalaya’s or photographing birds that just don’t leave the Cherry tree alone. I must confess, I myself in about 3 and half days had actually eaten almost 500 cherries most of them plucked straight from the tree!!! :) :)
I guess I am just so so so sold on the place and the warm hospitable people there that I cannot stop going gaga over the whole experience and the time spent there.
I guess the atmosphere of the whole place just rubs on to everyone, the moment we entered the dining room, I had a very friendly English guy say hello and well that was the end of it, in 3 days we became friends for life. All the guests would sit together for lunch, breakfast or dinner, sharing and suggesting each other to try a new pickle, chutney or fern they all discovered.
The first day and a half it rained and all of us were indoors either in the dining room where the kids would paint or play back gammon, someone would read, they also had a chess board to play, which we ignored, when it got colder we would be round the fire playing a german card game infamously called “Shithole” or discussing each others travel experiences or stories abou how we discovered Raju.
The cottages are so tastefully done, you actually cannot comprehend how a guy in this remote place could actually have planned and set all this up so wonderfully. The fact that when we left the place we had a feeling that we are leaving home and did not want to go tells you a thing or two. The best part was almost all the guests actually came to wave us good bye when we were going. It was almost like in 3 days people had become a family of sorts in this remote place.
Sometimes, I guess strangers become the best of friends. It was thanks to Jamie and Gemma’s encouragement that I actually borrowed Karan’s bullet and went to Jalori pass(10350ft), where we actually trekked up to the highest point which I am sure was atleast another 500+ feet higher to get a 360 degree view of snow peaks, on the return we also were blessed with my life’s first snow flake experience!!! :) :) :) We had one of the best times on holiday with two complete strangers whom I just didn’t want to say good bye.
The evening dinners were a long drawn affair, which another guest Anami, a Canadian, born & brought up in India would actually have us all eating out of her hands. Conversations with her were priceless as she would speak about her life’s experiences in such an animated way that we would be in splits! She was going to stay at Raju for a little over some 20 days and if I remember correctly it was her 3rd or 4th visit to the place!
Yes, one day we did have a discussion about Modi too around the fire, where two oxford educated Indian’s wanted to get an insight into a Gujarati’s views on Modi! :P
Another french Trekker, Pierre came in to tell us about his experiences of trekking in the Great Himalayan National Park. There was another Doctor couple from Andhra who were quite friendly and much to my envy were going to spend another 15 days in Himachal, staying exclusively in home stay’s.
We had another couple from Mumbai, who were again coming there for the third time. Like I said, the place is addictive. Raju’s hospitality spoils you, the place envelopes you, the calm there wants you to get lost.
For the record, the charge at Raju is 1400-1700 per person(depending on veg and non veg meals), where they lend you a cottage with two single and one double room, inclusive of all meals that is morning tea followed by breakfast, lunch evening tea, soup around the fire and dinner with desert. Unlimited supply of fresh juices they have and as many fruits as you can pluck and eat! :D :D Tell me what more can you ask for!??? Yea, they also give you a kitchen if you want to cook something for yourself or for your kid!! :) :) They offer you wifi too if you want to take, though I advise you should not miss a moment here!!!
The experience is actually beyond words for me, perhaps these few pictures will tell you what a wonderful place Raju Guest House is :
and last but not the least, the guy who envisioned and built this place, Raju himself, don’t forget to get him by the fire to share some of his stories! You will not regret, trust me! :)
There still are hundred’s of photo’s that will keep coming here and on my photo blog, there will be a full post on just the birds that I spotted at the Guest house which is lined up! :) :)
Frankly, I am in love with this place and promise to return here as soon as possible! <3
For a lot of people holiday’s mean relaxing, it does to me too, however, I just can’t sleep, perhaps I can sit and gaze, or lie in a hammock and read but I just cannot go to sleep. I get up early in the morning and am raring to go, its all fine when we are staying put in one place when I leave the child and wifey to sleep till they wish, but the problem is when you have to set off early in the morning to a new town. The day I had to start the trip, I told wifey it was better to go to Ahmedabad and crash as that would ensure atleast me being able to sleep a bit with the knowledge that the trip had begun.
However, I must say there are many benefits of starting early on the highway if you want to travel long distances, not only do you get relatively empty roads but you also get to capture the most beautiful time of the day in this hot land, the dawn, the sunrise which normally we always miss in our routine life in snooze land. When driving in the plain’s perhaps the sunrise’s are not as dramatic, perhaps, I mean!
But driving about in the Himalaya’s I think you get to see some scene’s that seem too real to be true, that look like they are paintings :
Could I have passed that off as a painting I did and probably got a few praises for my art work?! :P
No, it was not a painting, it was real, like they say the early bird gets the worm, the early rider gets the best shots of the sun! :)
Travelling on unknown roads and reaching new destinations always means that you have to seek directions. Interestingly, these days the GPS is an invention that has in someways made us independent about finding our way. Dependent on itself but independent from asking people, however, from time to time GPS takes you on a short cut that suddenly appears to be not such a good idea. So instead of taking the popular route to Swarghat via Chandigarh, we managed to bypass Chandigarh and went to Swarghat via Baddi & Nalagarh. Well it did save us 5 kms, but the last 25 kms took 2.5 hours as there was no trace of road and I had to drive in the rain, muck, uphill in 1st and 2nd gear for most of those 2.5 hours with almost no vehicles behind or in front of me!
Scary, yet it was adventurous and in the end calmed my nerves about driving in the Himalaya’s, I did not encounter as tough a road throughout the next 10 days in the Himalaya’s.
I remember quite clearly how last year when we went to Kufri for the bloggers meet and it rained all the time we were there. That told me one thing to never plan a 2-3 day trip to Himachal, as unless you go for more than a week, you might have to come across a period when it just rains and hence have no outdoor time. As much as I love the rains, the rains in Himachal whilst they make things look beautiful can make the weather freezing and being wet in that terrain is not always wise for people like us from the plains. As we entered Himachal, this is how the sky started turning at the entrance in Baddi. It was a sense of dejavu almost to see the rain building up.
The one advantage of going on a road less travelled means birds, since so less traffic went through that road, we spotted quite a few Himalayan’s bulbul’s, Asian Pied Starling, White browed fantail and the best of all two male Kalij Pheasant fighting on the road! :D
And then we saw two male Kalij Pheasant’s fighting with each other on the road!!! Again a first time sighting for me :D :D :D :D
All in all it was a tiring yet enthralling ride to enter Dev Bhoomi Himachal. A lot of adventures stay ahead still and this was just the start of the holiday! In the next post, the ride to The Great Himalayan National Park in Tirthan Valley! :D
So until then hang on! :D
In this new age of bonding that happens online there is a unique advantage, unlike a limited exposure to your real life friends who might hail from largely a few sects, castes or states, the online relationships are more widespread and I am lucky to have such friends. You name it and I have it, be it some Tam Bram, or some Sindhi fella, or a guy from the Himachal or some Rajasthani some Banaras food experts and what not. What that also leads to is an introduction to an amazingly diverse and yet unique set of customs, systems, rituals, behaviour patterns and above all loads of new food items!
As I and Sangeeta were talking on food, Sangeeta mentioned to me, there is an unbelievable variety of Indian food all around, infact, when people suddenly say I love Indian food, its best to actually inquire what sort of Indian food, because Indian food is probably even more diverse and has even more sub sects than religion, caste or creed in India! :D :D :D Thankfully this different variety causes no riot well no riot if eaten in sane quantities, it can cause a hot riot in the stomach if you go over board, which I usually tend to do :P :mrgreen:
Also with the internet/blog pals being so spread across the country you have friends in all parts and also recommendations on what to eat and where! So when you put an update on FB asking what to not miss in Jaipur you get an instant recommendation from a guy in Gujarat, a lady in Gurgaon and a girl in Pune about one common thing and that was Lakshmi Mishtan Bhandar.
Situated in the old Pink city this is one place every one recommended I should not miss out on and so I obeyed by paying my tributes! As soon as we checked in Jaipur, we were off to check this sweet heaven out, usually I am not that keen on sweets and whilst I need a sweet bite at the end of meals I can’t really eat too much! Luckily for me that had a lot more to offer than just sweets! :P :D
Apparently, Santulan insisted I should not miss tasting the Paneer Ghevar they make and so I did take a crumb of it not wanting to upset the Count! This photo is specially for the count!
Whilst I just tasted a bit of it, what I did eat with more zest was this :
There is something about the Samosa that just hooks me the moment I see it. Like Pizza no matter how hopeless it may taste I can’t allow it to go waste, perhaps its the triangle shape that I am a fan of. Dunno why but I just cant resist the temptation of a Samosa.
The Aloo tikki with a difference that had stuffing of chana and moong daal with capsicum and served in this delicious green and tamarind chutney was another melt in the mouth items. No not talking it up, it was literally melt in the mouth tikki!
and well what would a journey to Rajasthan be worth if you do not taste the pyaaz kachori! Unfortunately like in the samosa pic, I forgot to take a pic before I actually had already taken a bite, but then I thought that perhaps adds to the drama of the whole picture! :P :P
And well they had a plethora of sweets if you wanted desert! Here is a sample eye candy for you all :
Like they say, when in Rome, do like the Roman’s! I say when you go to a new town try their local fare!! Its always fun, interesting and offers a whole new experience! :)
So until the next post, I say drool baby drool!!! :D :P :P
Food Pics Ahead!!! (mobile pictures!)
Ever since I bought my car I was pretty adamant that we must drive everywhere and that we will shun trains and planes, well not that I travel too often in the plane but anyways. It was one long cherished dream to one day drive to the Himalaya’s in my own car, stopping at my leisure and clicking pictures till I was completely happy and well so in many ways this was living a dream!
The food on the highway sometimes has always been a huge attraction, checking out a restaurant that no one recommended and picking out a dish to feed yourself is fun. Specially, when you are crossing states the variety is superb from modern to traditional food, Dhaba’s to cafe’s its fun all around!
Also folks stay tuned for an entire update on an 11 day road trip to paradise and back to the oven! :P :D Everything is coming up as soon as I sort out a bit of work back home! :D
I just have to start this post with these fella’s! The prettiest picture of the whole trip for me! I just cant believe my luck at having these two staring at me in broad daylight. They even did a jig for me raising each others neck for me and looking at me in amazement as if I were a martian!!! They waited and stared for quite a while, surely impressed by my good looks and amazing personality I am sure! :mrgreen:
We also spotted this Indian scops owl who sat there monk like, this fella was a little snooty, he refused to acknowledge my presence never mind my good looks :-/
And this Jungle Owl seemed to be saying I am watching you!! He was quite grim and serious and wouldnt budge a bit. Eventually we moved away.
Then I spotted this Lesser Adjutant Stork looking for some food along with the egret and Barasingha! He was a tad too far and quite busy with his food hunt to actually bother about me!
And then suddenly whilst I was looking at the swamp a branch on the top of me made a screeching noise to scare the hell out of me and I spotted these two Black Ibis quarelling with each other as to who would drop on me, luckily in their fight and noise I got alerted and fled! :D :D
These senior Black Stork early in the morning were probably out on a walk, they walked about knowing quite well where to fish!
And this lone lazy painted stork stays at his nest picking fleas from his feathers whilst it seems all others have gone in search of bigger food!! :P :P
This Indian roller too seems to have caught some lunch in its beak! :D
This Parakeet seems to be enjoying the bounty in spring that the Mahua tree seems to be offering, apparently there are so many Mahua trees in Kanha that I have not seen anywhere before! No wonder these jungles are intoxicating and take your breath away! :D
An egret keeps calm and watches the fish!
There actually is the rare Pied Malabar Hornbill in this picture, unfortunately it flew over us and sat on this far away branch from where it was difficult to capture him, however, the sound of him flying over us with his woofing wings will reverberate in my ears all my life! :) :) :)
We saw absolutely scores and scores of Jungle Fowl! I guess I have not heard so many Cock’s :P ever before in the morning! :D
The whistling ducks came in thousands, however, did not whistle amazingly… so how do they get their name??
This one looks like a honey buzzard, however, I am open for other suggestions in this pic still! :D
Here is a small kaleidoscope of a few other birds I spotted. The Scarlet Minivet, Coppersmith Barbet, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra and the Grey Hornbill. All of these were mean and stayed quite far far away and would not come anywhere near to be photographed. Hmph… snooty fella’s I tell ya!