COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown has drastically impacted the economy, not only in India but the global economy itself. We’re going through a sluggish phase with companies firing employees and cutting down on expenditure. This has gotten everyone worried, leaving most of us confused about what to do. We got in touch with Vikram Sapparad, a self-made wealth coach who helps people manage their money in accordance with their goals and finances. The interview with him has given us a better idea of what the present scenario is and how the future looks like.
Excerpts from the interview with Vikram Sapparad:
Sapne (S): Can you tell us what exactly do you do?
Vikram Sapparad (VS): I prepare people to be ready for such emergencies. As a wealth coach, I not only help people manage their money, investments, and other finance-related queries but also help them to be prepared to face any unprecedented situations.
S: How is the economy right down?
VS: We’re currently in a slowdown phase and our economy is going through a recession. Three months of lockdown has resulted in shutting down businesses, making the economy slow-moving now. I understand a lot of people and businesses have been impacted; and it’s quite alarming for many.
S: Can you tell us the new changes that have sprouted during the lockdown? Are there any new trends?
VS: It’s going to take another two years for the economy to revive, but the important thing is, the economy will boost once again. We have the resources to revive the economy. And yes, the trend will change to more need-based purchases. People are going to stick to essentials for everyday life rather than spending on other luxuries. Speaking of trends, a lot of multinational companies are now preferring India to China to set up their production units. That’s again a positive trend for India’s economy.
S: Let’s talk about investments, mutual funds. How will mutual fund investment be once the pandemic recedes?
VS: Those who are educated about mutual funds and investments will continue investing, no doubt. For instance, people who come to me are already well-informed and prepared for the risks of investments. However, there are many who are withdrawing their investments due to the fear of the bearish economy. On the other hand, we advise people to invest more now.
S: I have a personal question. What do you feel about neo banks like Paytm, Google Pay? Do you think they will replace the traditional way of banking?
VS: The banking system will always be there. Your Google Pay will not work if it’s not linked to a bank account. You can use these apps for small transactions, but not big businesses with large transactions. You can use your Paytm for your smartphone recharge and bill payments, but not for business deals. Plus, neo banks require people to be tech-savvy. In India, we still need to go a long way before everyone can operate with smartphones, let alone transfer money.
S: What advice would you give an ordinary taxpayer about managing his money in this scenario?
VS: Firstly, we’re talking only about the salaried people here and not the daily wagers. So those who have regular income are advised to build a contingency fund with a backup of at least six months. In fact, the time is perfect right now for savings as spending is limited- people aren’t travelling or shopping, reducing lifestyle expenses. I would advise saving this contingency fund in times of emergencies like getting out of a job or business unexpectedly.
Vikram Sapparad is a wealth coach and founder of Aarthika Swatantra, a financial startup to manage your money. He can be contacted on LinkedIn here.
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