I read your blog before taking any financial decision and i thank you a lot as your blog has really educated me regarding the various financial products. Thanks a lot for your untiring work . However, of late, i have been thinking and worked out a way / plan for the financial benefits which are likely to be received against my policies , god forbid, if something happens to me during the tenure of these policies. I want some one/ some trusted agency/ to handle any benefits received from my policies and benefits given by my employer/ in a particular manner . Are there any such agencies? if not, what steps should i take to ensure that the funds received are deployed gainfully in fd’s/ MF’s etc, as my wife is a housewife and is not very knowledgable about financial products and she may have to take care of my 2 kids and my old mother.
If I understand this correctly, there are two concerns here – one is how do you ensure that your family gets all due benefits and then the second one is how do you ensure that the money is deployed gainfully.
This is a great thought, and while I hope none of us have to go through such an ordeal it’s wise to prepare for this.
I have never thought of this question deliberately till now so let me pen down my thoughts on how I’d like this to be handled and then I’m sure a lot of you will have great thoughts of your own on this too.
I must admit that no single person knows about all my investments and insurance but I think between my dad and wife – they will know all of them.
So, the first step should be to make sure that both of them know about everything and get a complete picture.
I think that’s the first step, to have someone you trust know about all your investments. If they don’t know about these investments, then there’s not much they can do beyond that.
The most practical way of doing this is create a list somewhere that’s easily accessible and can serve your purpose as well. I have a Google Spreadsheet which has these type of details and since it is a snapshot of what I own at what price – it’s very useful for me and I update it regularly. Sharing such a thing with my wife and dad will take care of the first thing.
The second step is to specify what should be done with each of the investments. So, if there are fixed deposits then let those fixed deposits mature, and if there are shares then sell off all those shares and get cash for them. This is probably a very uncomfortable thing to talk about and quite honestly I don’t see myself bringing up this conversation but it seems to be the right thing to do.
To claim all of this money – you would need paperwork and this brings me back to Bemoneyaware’s post on succession certificates and wills that I shared some time earlier.
Now, let’s come to the heart of the question which is if there is an agency or organization that handles this money on your behalf and which can invest it properly.
I don’t think there is anything like that at all. The closest I can think of is a financial planner, but I don’t think there is someone who specifically does this type of work only.
I think that if someone finds themselves in this unfortunate circumstance – they should go the ultra conservative and simple route of investing all their money in fixed deposits only.
It is easy enough to understand and administer and while there may be other products that give a higher yield – their complexity may make them unwieldy for someone not too familiar with financial products.
The other reason I say this is probably something a lot of you can very easily relate to and that’s the sad reality of the financial landscape.
A lot of people are out to screw you financially and invest your money for their selfish gains and not your benefit. Given that these type of people are a much larger proportion of the adviser / agent community – I feel that the chances to falling prey to one of these people is very high for someone who is not financially savvy and has no one to fall back on. Losing your loved one is a big enough tragedy and compounding that problem by investing precious little resources in crappy products is the worst that can happen to somebody.
In thinking about this I feel that the extra two or three percentages that someone can earn by investing in some other debt instrument is not worth the risk that comes with shopping for such products without having someone savvy to look out for your interests.
These are my thoughts on the subject – what do you think? Have I become too cynical or would you say the same thing?