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Posted at: Jan 6, 2019, 6:20 AM; last updated: Jan 6, 2019, 6:20 AM (IST)

Investments for a ‘Happy’ New Year

Now that New Year resolutions are a week old, let’s look at the deals that can reap you rich dividends in 2019

Roopinder Singh

Out with the old, in with the new. If only it were so simple. Every New Year starts with a firm commitment to wipe the slate clean and start afresh, to make improvements that would make life wonderful, to enrich ourselves with whatever we need ... and then sloth and time take over.

Even as we struggle to fulfil the promises we have made to ourselves, we find excuses not to do what we had planned, to fall back on the familiar. Yet, we all have the overpowering urge to improve ourselves and our lot. So, without much further ado, here are some of the investments that you need to make so that 2019 becomes a happy new year for you.

Hail your health: Everyone wants to be healthy, even those who don’t take care of their health. Naturally, you stand a much better chance of being healthy if you do take care of your diet, and exercise. Let’s recognise that health is the most critical investment we can make about ourselves. Whether we admit it or not, the fact remains that most of us eat more than we should. And this leads to all kinds of problems. Moderation is the key, diets, especially crash diets, are detrimental to good health.

Invest in education: People who study abroad learn what may sound strange to us — concept of students actively seeking knowledge from teachers and not sitting passively, taking down notes and ingesting them and finally purging in exams. Education is a life-long process, and YouTube and online courses ensure that you can improve your knowledge at any time you want. Learn more and learn wisely; you will be rewarded, again and again.

Stretch yourself: Now that there is the World Yoga Day, the ancient Indian practice has, indeed, gone international. Yet, we forget it. There are enough yoga centres, join the nearest one. The ancient yogis knew more about our body and mind than we give them credit for. You will see a difference in a few months, and once you get in the habit, it becomes a part of your life.  

Raise the bar: Other than chronic illnesses over which we have no control, much can be achieved with regular exercise. The key word is regular. Start small and build up slowly. You are preparing for a marathon, not a sprint. Walk, run, use dumbbells, treadmills or what have you. The benefits of exercise are well known, as are excuses to avoid it. Can you afford to squander away your God-given wealth by succumbing to sloth? You know you are better than that.

Word power for you: Information is the key to self-development. Most of the readers of this newspaper are people who have risen in life because of being educated and informed. You must keep yourself continuously informed to stay current with the world. The caveman who developed heliographic knew that, do you? Video clips have their place, as do social media, but for real knowledge, seek trusted sources and keep yourself updated.

Strangers no more: Much of our lives revolve around the people we know. We often admire people who are altruistic, who do something for others. You don’t have to be rich — you just have to be generous with your thoughts and time to do some volunteering work. The younger generations are getting more involved in CSR activities, adult education, helping children, patients, there are so many ways of helping others, and it is such a rewarding experience.

A calmer you: Our mind is always abuzz. We are bombarded by information, social media, demands of work and family. Everyone needs a respite. A calm mind holds the key to a calm personality, and the ability to taken on challenges that life inevitably throws on us. We are from the land that taught the world how to meditate— we don’t really require lessons, just the time and the will to invest in this calming process.

Love thy neighbour: Strange is the world in which what happens thousands of miles away grips our attention which we don’t even know what is happening in our neighbourhood! Urbanisation has brought out a strange phenomenon: we no longer know our neighbours. This is so contrary to our traditions, and common sense. Know your neighbour, be there for them, be social and interactive.

Friends for keeps: “You can judge a man by his friends,” goes the adage. So true. While we can take our friends for granted, we should not do so. Make sure that you spend time with them and celebrate your friendship. Be wary of toxic friends who put you down. Remember, unlike your family members, you can choose your friends. Construct relationships that nurture, bring out the best in you and challenge you to be a better person.

Family first: You know for all the lip service that we pay about our family, we spend less time with our family members, and we certainly make less effort to appreciate what they do for us. When was the last time you said: “Thank You” to a family member? Remember, how grateful you were when a friend or a colleague did something for you? What about the family that continues to be there for us when we need it the most?

Stay thrifty: Do you really need that? This simple question could be the foundation of your financial independence. Opting out of the rat race is not just a thrifty dream, it is a well-recognised tactic to take control of your life by spending less and saving more. Just postponing immediate gratification gives superior long-time results.

Savings save the day: Once you downsize, you find yourself with excess money. A great feeling made much better with regular savings. Get advice from professionals. Consider going beyond the FD route, dip your toes into systematic investment plans (SIPs) for mutual funds, debt instruments, etc.   
We have covered 12 investments that we need for the New Year. This was a personal pick. Once you think of making these investments, you can opt for others which are tailor-made for you and give you the right kind of return on investment.

Even as we travel down the year, we will find many paths, many a fork. We have to be focused, agile and strong enough to negotiate them. For this, we need to build on what the bank of life gives us. Take these 12 steps, pick and choose among them, add to them, find what works on you to equip yourself for a Happy New Year. Get going!

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