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From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom... A common man's journey
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Happiness Unlimited...How to be happy..always !!
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Dream On...Every setback is a little nudge from HIM to Dream On
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The Autobiography Of A Stock
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Manoj Arora    About Me
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Are we really prepared to live our life?

Life is a beautiful journey. Yes, it indeed is.

William Purkey had once said:
“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”

Sometimes, i do get surprised to see how (un)prepared we are in our life to undertake this beautiful journey.


It was a beautiful Sep 2006 weather. As our plane touched the beautiful Dabolim Airport in Goa, we already started getting amazed at the beauty of nature. This was our 2nd family trip to Goa and, we were all excited and geared up for the beautiful beaches, exquisite food, the scooty drive, the freshness and the charm of ever open night life in this beautiful small city. 

This was our second trip, the first one being our honeymoon trip, way back in 1998. The only difference between the two trips was the number of family members that we were. We were now 4 instead of 2, and we enjoyed the beauty of Goa as much with our 2 beautiful adorable daughters in 2006 as much we did when we were a newly married couple in 1998. Time had moved on, but the fun and enjoyment of Goa stayed still in front of the time. We seemed to be living life to its fullest, at least as long as we were in Goa. It was a beautiful trip and a beautiful journey for a week. Of course, this trip was very well prepared, planned and executed to make this experience truly memorable. Preparation is definitely a vital aspect in the enjoyment of a journey.

Why did i tell you all this? Because i want you to correlate this to your own life. I am sure all of you have taken such wonderful, memorable journeys at some stage of your life. Now, you have been given a relatively longer, but the same beautiful journey called LIFE. You have been blessed with a great family, parents, children, friends, and the biggest of all "a unique you" along with all the power that resides within you. How you live your life is completely up to you. When i analyzed how most of us live our lives came as a rather surprise to me. It seemed that we were more prepared to die rather than prepared to live our life.

How do i say that?
- We make sure that we have enough life insurance in place, so that we get prepared in case we die. We cover the risk of dying.
- We make sure that we have enough investments in place so that our children do not face any problem when we are no longer there. Thats again a risk mitigation for our family in case we die. We are preparing ourselves of the eventualities of death.
- I even looked around in my office. On the technical front, we do a root cause analysis (RCA) for issues and we do it only if there has been a failure. We do not do it when everything goes fine. We are getting prepared for facing failure in future. 
- During our performance assessments, we are told about our strengths and areas of improvement and we are told more to focus on areas of improvements rather than working harder on our strengths. 
- and there is an endless list like this.

Some of you may argue that this is how one learns from our past. We need to plan. 
I agree. Of course, we need to plan, but plan for what?

Failure, Death, Disaster are a few words which are always lingering in our sub conscious mind, because that's the vocabulary we use every day.

As the saying goes.."You will get what you think the most". "The nature will conspire to give you what you really keep thinking about". 
The natural laws do not understand the negative connotation, but only understands what you are thinking about. e.g. if you keep thinking that "I don't want to fail.", the nature only understands "failure"...and that's what it gives back to you, unless you start thinking in another way like "I want to succeed." rather than "I don't want to fail."

What about the thought of  preparing to live? Sounds strange? Why is this so strange to you? Is life only a struggle? Is life only about making your ends meet? Is life only about celebrating your family's events and sharing the snaps on Facebook? Is life only about getting prepared to die? Can we not prepare ourselves to live our life's?

Can we not have goals in life which encourage us to live, and then act as a source of encouragement for others, when we are not alive anymore? Life can be fun, excitement, sharing, happiness and everything else that you thought of as "difficult" to achieve. Life can be helping the needy, life can be visiting around the world, life can be exciting and full of adventures. Life can be chasing your passion rather than just earning money. It can all happen, provided you are prepared to live your life. 

Do you have a "life plan" with you? Do you have a plan which tells you the 100 things that you must do before you die? Do you have a plan to live life before you die? Sounds strange? This is what you came here for..to live life..not just to prepare yourself well to die, and keep preparing for your death for your entire life span.

If you still do not have your life plan with you, it does not matter. Start now. Prepare your life plan, document your goals and  dreams, print it out, have specific dates, paste it in front of your desk, execute it....take life as a large project, similar to the one that you execute everyday in your office. How do you manage project at your office? Do you do it without a documented plan?

As i approach my financial freedom and start working on my first NGO, i am living my life and feeling the bliss that comes with it, as per the plan i have created for it. Sure, I am prepared to die...but more importantly, i am more prepared to live my life.

Oscar Wilde once said : “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What is a paid up life insurance policy?


I have seen many people who buy life insurance policies and start paying premiums only to realize after a few years that they need to continue to pay the premium for another 20 years or in some cases, even throughout their lifetimes. After 3-4 years, they seem to be running out of finances to continue to pay regular premiums for the policy to stay in effect. Do not lose heart. Insurance industry provides a provision in such cases.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tax benefits for NGO donations under Sec 35AC and Sec 80GGA





As i am working on my goal of setting up my first NGO this year, there came the realization that i would also need some funds to run this NGO :). Well, do not worry, i will not bore you with my NGO details on this post. The purpose of this post is to help me collect funds :) just kidding..it is actually for you to know the tax benefits you can avail when you donate money to any NGO. There are different IT Act sections that apply if you are salaried class or if you are running a business.




Introduction
An NGO can avail income tax exemption by getting itself registered and complying with certain other formalities. The Income Tax Act has certain provisions which offer tax benefits to the "donors". All NGOs should avail the advantage of these provisions to attract potential donors. Section 35AC is one of such sections.

Registration under Sec 35AC
The Central Government approves certain NGOs and notifies them as eligible for project or schemes for the purposes of section 35AC. If an NGO succeeds in getting such an approval for its projects then it stands a very good chance of mobilizing funds from the corporate and the business sector. Business houses making contribution to such approved projects are allowed the benefits of deducting such contribution as expenditure.

National Committee
- The Central Government has constituted a National Committee to identify projects and schemes to be notified under section 35AC, such committee normally consists of eminent persons. 
- All NGOs are entitled to apply to the National Committee to get its projects or schemes approved. 
- The National Committee may recommend or reject the project but when the approval is recommended then it is for a period of maximum 3 years and it could be further extended if the National Committee is satisfied with the performance during the period. 
- Since the approval under section 35(AC) is not permanent in nature, business houses making donations for the purpose of section 35AC, should be careful that the donee organization continues to enjoy approval u/s 35AC

How to apply to National Committee in India?
The application for approval by the National Committee should be made to the Secretary, National Committee for Promotion of Social & Economic Welfare, Dept. of Revenue, Govt. of India, North Block, New Delhi - 110001, India.

Certificate to be issued to the Donor
1. All approved NGOs are required to issue a certificate to the donor for all contributions & receipts under section 35AC. The certificate is to be issued in Form 58A.
2. This certificate will enable the donor to claim exemption from its taxable income.
3. Further, the NGOs should also send an Annual Report to the National Committee indicating the progress of the work relating to the project/scheme.
4. It should also send the details on the contributions as well as the contributors & their addresses.
5. Such Annual Report should reach the National Committee by 30th June, following the financial year in which the amount is received.

Contribution under section 80GGA
Section 35AC is available to assessees who have income from the head ‘business’ or ‘profession’. Therefore, for the assessees who do do not have income from business or profession(e.g. earn income only from salary), section 80GGA provides for deduction on donations made to eligible projects under section 35AC.

100 per cent deduction is available under section 80GGA

Section 80GGA covers any sum paid by the assessee in the previous year to:
(a) a university, college or other institution which undertakes scientific research. The university/college/institution should be in the list notified by the Income Tax department.
(b) an association or institution, which runs programmes for rural development.
(c) a public sector company or a local authority or to an association or institution approved by the National Committee, for carrying out any eligible project or scheme.
(d) a rural development fund set up and notified by the Central Government.
(e) the National Urban Poverty Eradication Fund set up and notified by the Central Government.

So, get ready to donate....and save money on taxes.

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Friday, January 18, 2013

Can multiple insurance policies cover the same risk?

Background
Insurance policies are designed to ensure that the recipient of the policy benefits do not collect more than the claim is worth (risk coverage), regardless of how many insurance policies may be in force. 
Insurance is designed to protect against financial losses from damage. It is not meant to be used as a way to gamble and make money off damage to your business or personal assets. If you own multiple policies that cover the exact same risk, the payout result depends on the type of insurance coverage.


Kind of Insurance Contracts
Policies will typically build in wording to address how they will respond in the event of a claim and other insurance is available. There are a few ways that policies can interact with each other and there is no one standard provision that can be applied to all policies. When you buy insurance, you are given a policy that explains the terms of your agreement. Your policy states what your insurance company will do if you own another policy for the same risk. 
Some policies pay on a pro-rata sharing basis, meaning they divide the payments with the other companies. 
Other policies designate themselves as primary or excess policies. Primary policies always pay claims first, whereas excess policies wait until the other contract has paid before making payments. 
Some contracts offer no coverage at all in the event you own a duplicate policy, making your extra coverage worthless.
Let us look at it on a case to case basis for various types of insurance that we do.

Auto Insurance

If you own duplicate auto policies, it is crucial that you review the terms of your contracts. Auto insurance does not pay more than the limits of your insurance. If your vehicles are insured for the same amount by each company, it is possible that the two companies will argue over who should pay. This could delay the payment of your claim, forcing you to pay for your bills out of pocket. You should never use two auto policies to cover the same risk.

Health Insurance

 Owning two types of health insurance is more common and can have some benefit. This often happens when a person enters Medicare while he is still working. Health insurance policies follow the "coordination of benefits provision" created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. If you or your employees own two policies, the provision designates one policy as primary and the other as excess. The primary policy covers the health claim up to its benefit limits. If you or your employee still owes money for a medical claim, the excess policy picks up the difference. The insured needs to pay the deductible and co-pays for the primary policy first. If the excess policy needs to be used afterward, its deductible and co-pays also need to be paid.

Life Insurance
Life insurance policies follow different rules for duplicate coverage. While someone may destroy property to earn a profit, few would end their lives to make a profit on life insurance. As a result, owning duplicate life insurance policies will not reduce your future payment. Both policies will pay their face value in full after your death. While an insurance company may refuse to sell you excess life insurance coverage due to existing coverage, it will not refuse a death benefit for an outstanding contract.

 

In the worst case scenario, some policies state they will not pay any claims in the event any other insurance is available for the same loss and achieve this denial of coverage in a few ways. Some policies simply include policy language to exclude any coverage in the event another policy covers the same loss. Other policies will reduce the amount of insurance by any other insurance available. If the other available insurance is in an amount equal to or greater than the policy's limits, essentially no coverage will be available from this policy.

Knowledge of such overlapping policies and the provisions in your insurance contracts can go a long way in saving your money and giving you surprises at the end of the day.

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No Claim Bonus (NCB) for your Car Insurance

Vehicle insurance is mandatory. But make sure that you are not losing out on the No Claim Bonus especially when you are buying a vehicle (new or 2nd hand).

What is a No Claim Bonus (NCB)
No claim bonus is a discount given by the insurer to the policyholder on his / her vehicle insurance policy premium for making no claims. NCB can be accumulated over years and the discount ranges from 20% to 50% on own damage premium. No claims bonus (NCB) is crucial to reducing car insurance premiums.


What is Own Damage (OD) premium?
Before you understand NCB premium calculation, you must understand what is an Own Damage (OD) premium. Own Damage (OD) premium is the amount of premium that you pay to the insurance company over and above the mandatory third-party cover. If you have paid OD premium you are entitled to claim compensation in the case of damage to your vehicle due to flood, fire, earthquake, etc. In case you have only got 3rd party insurance (mandatory) done, then NCB will not be applicable on your premium since that is applicable only on the OD part of the premium of your total premium.


How does NCB work?
No claim bonus increases every year as per the following table. NCB rewards you for being a good driver and helps you save on your motor insurance.
The chart here illustrates the discount on Own Damage Premium on account of no claims for the consecutive years.

All Types of Vehicles % of Discount on OD* premium
No claim made or pending during the preceding full year of insurance 20%
No claim made or pending during the preceding 2 consecutive years of insurance 25%
No claim made or pending during the preceding 3 consecutive years of insurance 35%
No claim made or pending during the preceding 4 consecutive years of insurance 45%
No claim made or pending during the preceding 5 consecutive years of insurance 50%
*OD= Own Damage

Illustration
 
On first renewal, a car with IDV (Sum Assured) of Rs 4 lacs has own damage premium of Rs 12000. If no claim has been made, the policyholder is entitled to 20% discount so his premium would be Rs 9,600. He clearly saves Rs 2,400 by not making a claim.
The money saved on OD premium keeps on increasing every year with the discount increasing every year.

When is NCB terminated?
NCB can be terminated in the following 2 scenarios:
a) If a claim is made during the policy year, no NCB will be given in the corresponding next year. Reasons are obvious based on the NCB definition itself.
b) If the policy is not renewed within 90 days from date of expiry on your existing policy, then NCB is forfeited or terminated.

Important Notes :
a) NCB becomes Nil in case of a claim
b) NCB follows the fortune of the customer and not the vehicle. It stays with the initial owner of the car even when the ownership changes. In fact not many dealers update the buyers of this, and when someone with few years worth of NCB buys a new car, most of the people end up paying the full insurance amount, without claiming the NCB they have accumulated over the years.
c) NCB can be transferred to the new vehicle (actually the new owner) in case of substitution of vehicle of the same class
d) Validity of NCB is 90 days from the date of expiry of the policy
e) NCB can be utilized within 3 years (where the existing vehicle is sold and a new vehicle is purchased)
f) NCB recovery can be done in case of a name transfer.
g) NCB is also transferable from one insurer to another.

Save money wherever you can and you should. Money saved is money earned.

Cheers

Manoj Arora

Friday, January 11, 2013

Health Insurance (Mediclaim) Tax Exemptions under Section 80D

After Life Insurance, Health Insurance is probably one of the most critical risk mitigation actions that you would under take. While life insurance would cover the risk related to your life and some optional top ups like critical illnesses or accident cover, health insurance is more related to covering risks wrt the expense you may have to incur on account of hospitalization for small, medium or critical illnesses....You can save tax on an amount upto Rs. 40,000/- under Section 80D Mediclaim deductions.... 
Read on..

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Healthy Breakfast for your mind.


However fond you may be of junk food, morning is a time when everyone prefers to have something relatively healthy. This is what our body craves for. Surely, a good start to the day is half the battle won. But wait...What do you feed your mind for the morning breakfast?...Who cares...Read on...

Friday, January 04, 2013

Life Insurance Policy Tax Exemptions - Section 80C and Section 10(D)

[Last Update : 14-Oct-2017]
There is a general perception among the taxpayers that all premiums paid for Life Insurance is eligible for deduction under Section 80C subject to overall limit of Rs.1.50 Lacs. Further, it is also a misconception that all sums received from the insurance company against your life insurance policy is exempted under section 10(10D). You may be in for a shock if you are not careful with the sum assured and the premium you have been paying for these policies...Read on...

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Income from House Property Part-3 (Sec 22 and 24 IT Act)

In this series of posts, we have been covering the tax awareness on Income from House property (Sec-22 and Sec-24 of IT Act). We have covered 2 parts till now and we are covering the 3rd and final part today. So, lets read on the Computation of Income from a self-occupied Property.