Robo-Advisors V/s Direct - Advisors - Which is the better one?
This is the age of machines. Machines have been making life easier for humans in all walks of life. Even in the finance sector the entry of Robo-advisors spells the beginning of a new era. However, the term Robo-advisors doesn’t paint a clear picture. A robo-advisor simply runs algorithms to determine the perfect investment for you.
However, finance and investment are very personalized fields with a lot of decisions made on the basis of trust and familiarity. This kind of a bond exists between investors and their Direct Investment advisors.
The tussle between Robo-advisors and Direct Investment advisors will determine the methods of investment in the future. Hence, we decided to pit these two together and compare their pros and cons to get a better understanding of the correct option:
Factor 1# Price
Robo-advisors have a fairly straightforward and transparent pricing structures which is clearly explained on their websites. It might not have a minimum amount you must invest to avail their services. Robo-advisers charge 0.25% as average fee along with around 0.15% additional charge.
Direct Investment advisors, on the other hand, sometimes require a minimum portfolio value to take up your account. They can be unclear about how exactly they're charging you. Direct Investment advisors traditionally charge a comparatively higher average fee of 1.31%.
Factor 2# Convenience
Robo-advisors are a viable choice for people who simply aren't going to take the time to learn about managing their money. It's a good fit if you have a personality where you just don't want to deal with it. You set it and forget it.
Direct Investment advisors can be contacted with modes of modern technology like email, Skype on your cell phone itself. It's not like you have to trek to your investment advisor's office anymore. It's more that you can check in with them at regular intervals.
Factor 3# Accountability
Robo-advisors take only the information you give it and formulates a plan based on numbers. In this process your financial future is rarely focused on just the numbers. The way a robo-advisor does it, setting and forgetting your investments may not be the most effective way to achieve your goals.
Direct Investment advisor's strength lies in their ability to translate your dreams of an oceanfront beach house into a dollar figure, and to create a plan to get there.
Factor 4# Effectiveness
Robo-advisors tend to be heavily invested in conservative products like Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) because they suit a wider range of people. ETFs are not known to be risky but they aren't known for their staggering returns either. This means that is more of a less risk as well as less return approach.
Direct Investment advisors are in touch with you and you can give them the perspective and context to adjust investments to your needs. However, they certainly aren't guaranteed to outperform their robotic friends. Go to a financial advisor if you are investing a larger amount don’t use a robo-advisor.
To sum up this debate there are positives in both sides. The clients of the Direct Investment advisors and Robo-advisors are completely different and have different needs.
Important Points you should see before investing in shares
An individual invests in a stock in order to earn profit. It is very disheartening when you invest your hard-earned money in a stock which doesn’t give you desired returns. It is really important to do all the research before you choose to invest in a particular stock.
Here are a few things to check before you choose to invest in a stock.
1. Company background
Read about the company that you want to invest in. Find out what their business is. Visit their website, read news articles related to the company.
2. Financial performance of Company
It is important to analyse the past performance to understand how the company has grown over the years. Read the balance sheets to see how their balance sheets have grown in the past.
3. Stock value
There are ways to find out whether a stock is over or undervalued. Some basic methods would include Price to Earning ratio (P/E ratio), Price to Sales Ratio that helps one understand if the market value of the stock is in line with the growth trends of the company.
4. Industry outlook
Read about the competitors and peers of the company. Finds out what competitive edge your company has over the others. Find out if the advantage is sustainable. Find out about the market share, and overall performance of the industry that they operate in. Look for regulatory, political factors that may impact the industry.
5. Promoter check
Always read about the people who are running the company. Find out their background and how long they have spent with the company. Frequent changes in the top management, inexperienced top managers may be poor indicators while picking the right stock.
The ABC’s of Investing
The money that you earn is partly spent and the rest is saved for a rainy day. Savings refer to the funds that are kept aside in safe custody, such as a savings account. Instead of keeping this money idle, you can invest your savings in various financial instruments which will pay you a hefty return in the near future.
The question that arises now is how and where to invest this money. Potential investors can always take the help of a financial advisor and an investment advisor, both of who are capable of providing detailed knowledge on the subject on investment and investing money. Investors can start investing after fulfilling the following simple steps:
- Obtaining documents relating to Personal Identification Proof and Address Proof.
- Approaching intermediaries like a broker, RM etc.
- Filling up the KYC form and furnishing the details required.
- Filling up of the broker-client agreement.
- Opening a DEMAT Account and linking it with a savings account.
As soon as these steps are completed, an investor can start investing in the financial market.
The investment options can be well classified into 2 parts. They are:
- Physical assets: It comprises of tangible items like real estate, commodity, goldand silver in the form of jewelry and even antiques.
- Financial assets: It comprises of FDs with banks, small savings instruments with the post offices, provident fund, pension fund, money market instruments and capital market instruments.
The money market gives the scope of short term investment options. It deals with debt instruments such as bills of exchanges, commercial bills, treasury bills, certificate of deposits etc. These have relatively low risk and relatively low returns. However, they are one of the safest investment options, especially for those investors who want to play safe.
A capital market is an option for long term investment. The various instruments of capital market are shares of companies (equity), mutual funds, SIP investment, derivatives market, IPOS, etc. These have a higher risk and higher returns in comparison to the instruments of the money market. Although stock investing is considered to be more rewarding, the high risk factor associated with it can result in loss if there is a downswing in the activities of a company.
The investment strategies of an individual depend on certain factors, such as:
- The risk taking appetite of investor
- The time horizon of investment
- Expected return
- Need for investment
Investments make our fund grow over a period of time whereas savings is just idle cash. Our short term needs can be fulfilled with the help of our savings but for the achievement of our long term financial goals, investment is a must. This is only possible with financial planning.
What is the right age to buy a term life insurance cover?
Death comes knocking at the door without any prior notice. The death of the only breadwinner of the family brings the family into severe financial crisis. This is the time when you realise the importance of a term insurance policy the most. A term insurance plan secures the life of your loved ones and helps them to meet their day-to-day expenses. It is always better to buy a term insurance plan early in life as an individual gets immense benefits for starting early. Also, the premium charges are also low when you are young.
Let’s take a look at the different ages and factors that one should consider while buying a term insurance.
During the 20s, an individual just steps into his professional life and is relatively debt free. He has lesser family responsibilities and buying a term cover at this age can help him pay off his education loans if any. Moreover, term insurance premiums are less expensive when an individual is young.
An individual, in his 30s, tend to have family and kids. While his income is higher at this age, the responsibilities are much more. He may have financial liabilities like home loan, car loan etc. The premium will tend to be slightly higher, given the family responsibilities.
During this age, an individual’s long term financial liabilities like a home or car loan is paid-off. However, he may have higher responsibilities like his child’s higher education or his own retirement planning. It is better to opt for a cover which provides a greater coverage and financial protection. The cover should be able to take care of your family expenses after your death.
When an individual reaches this age, his children already start earning and most of the debts are paid-off. Family members are not financially dependent on your earnings. During this age, what an individual is most concerned about is his retirement. At this age, the best option for an individual is to buy an endowment plan which will help him save and give him a lump sum amount on maturity.
Term Insurance Premium amounts for a cover of Rs. 50 lakh
The above table shows the difference in premiums as per the age of an individual. As the age increases, premium increases.
Age plays a major role in deciding the amount of your term insurance. The biggest mistake an individual makes is to not opt for a substantial cover for the family. One should make sure that the term cover takes care of all the basic necessities of the family in case of the sudden demise of the policyholder.
Tax Saving Investments and their Features
This is the time of the year when you start getting calls from the HR of your company asking for investment declarations. If you have not made any investments yet, here is the list of instruments where you can invest.
|Instrument||Investment||Section of IT Act||Lock-in Period||Returns||Risk||Taxation at Maturity|
|ELSS||ELSS is a type of mutual fund scheme where most of the fund corpus is invested in equities or equity-related products.||80C||3 years||Not fixed, depend upon the performance of equity market. However, in the past, ELSS has given average returns of 12-14%.||Carries some risk||Tax-free|
|PPF||It is a type of investment which is provided by the Government of India||80C||15 years||The rate of returns changes as per government policies.
Current returns - 8.1% compounded annually
|NSC||NSC are bonds issued by the government for small savings and one can purchase these bonds from post offices.||80C||10 years||The interest rate on NSC is decided by the government every year. It is linked to the yield of 10-year government bonds.
The current interest rate is 8%.
|Low Risk||Interest is Taxable|
|Pension Mutual Funds||Pension Mutual Funds invest 40% of the money in equity and 60% in debt instruments.||80C||Until you reach the age of 58||The returns in pension mutual funds are not fixed as it depends on the performance of the equity and debt market. Pension mutual funds have given an average return of 8-10% for a 5-year and 10-year period.||Carries some risk||Tax-free|
|Tax Saving FD||It is a special fixed deposit made with any bank.||80C||5 years||The interest rate varies from one bank to another. It usually ranges from 6.5-7.5%.||Risk Free||Interest earned is taxable|
|Rajiv Gandhi Equity Saving Scheme||Exclusively for first time retail investors. Individuals with an annual income below Rs. 12 lakh can invest.||80CCG||3 years||Depends on the performance of equity markets.||Carries some risk||50% of the invested amount|
5 Financial Priorities When You Turn 40
Whether it’s your 20’s, 30’s or your 40’s, every decade brings its own set of experiences and expectations. However, it can be said that there is something sweet about your 40’s. You are more or less settled in your life, where you have a fair idea of what your future will be like.
This decade also signals the approach of your retirement, and hence, you cannot afford to make any financial mistakes as opposed to your carefree 20’s where new things were considered adventurous and worth a try.
Following are the five priorities that any 40-something should abide by :
1.Make Sure You Are Insured
There is a big difference between being insured just for namesake and being adequately insured while taking your lifestyle into consideration. Don’t delay in buying the right insurance policy[Keywords are added in Bold in the article. Please make sure to add keywords in the article and make them bold from the next time. ] as there is a hike in premium rates as your age progresses.
Term insurance is a great way of getting a high-risk cover as well as keeping your savings intact. A comprehensive health cover is a must as well in the face of ever-rising healthcare prices.
2.Get Your Family Involved
Many don’t realise it, but it makes a world of difference when our family members are in sync with our financial goals. Whether it’s your parents or spouse, by aligning your financial plan with them, you can save more as opposed to going at it alone. Even a minuscule amount at present can add up to great savings for the future.
3.Learn Something New
Just because you are in your 40’s doesn’t mean that you have to settle down completely. Mix up that routine by practising a skill that you’ve always wanted to master. This also prevents the eventual complacency that comes with getting used to your regular work.
A well-learned skill can translate to a new side venture which will lead to you earning and eventually saving more money for your retirement corpus.
4.Wipe Off Your Debt
Without you even knowing it, being in debt takes away a huge chunk of your future savings. Thus paying off all your high-interest debt (other than long term home loan) is the first step towards being financially sound.
Start using portions of your bonuses or even tax refunds to pay off your high-interest credit card bills and other accrued debt, or else you will end up losing a huge chunk of savings in interest payments.
It also makes sense to start organising your expenses. By now most of your bills should be on auto pay which makes your expenses streamlined and easier to keep track of. It also saves valuable time.
5.The Retirement Goal
There is no better time than your 40’s to seriously start building up your retirement savings. Create a retirement fund and keep a portion of your income dedicated towards its growth. You can also invest in Public Provident Fund and National Pension Schemes by the government for better returns.
In a nutshell
As the saying goes, ‘It’s better late than never,’ take control and manage your finances well in your 40s so that they take care of you when you need them later. A better plan would be to have an organised approach by getting a financial planner/portfolio manager to draw up a retirement portfolio for you.