Why you should choose your tax saving options wisely

Some tax saving instruments may not be suitable for young professionals. Here's why.

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Tax planning is an integral part of financial planning, but should not be the key driver of investment decisions.
Kavish has just started his career and he is already being approached by sellers and agents pushing products that come with tax benefits. The list includes PPF, Ulips, life insurance, ELSS, pension funds and NPS, which adds up to around Rs 2 lakh in tax deductions. Kavish typically struggles to meet the annual savings target given his limited income, but the lure of tax saving is high. How should he deal with this recurring annual problem?

One’s personal finance situation changes with age. As a young earner, Kavish needs to save and invest, but it is likely that his shortterm needs would eat more into his income. By locking his money into longterm tax saving products, he might be making a mistake. He may find it difficult to keep up the investment required, or draw on it when needed. This common mismatch, especially for young investors results in dormant PPF accounts, discontinued subscriptions and missed premium payments. If Kavish tries to access the money during times of need, he is likely to face penalties, lower realisation values or high costs. What he does to save taxes should, therefore, fit within his overall personal financial situation and needs.

Tax planning is an integral part of financial planning, but should not be the key driver of one's investment decisions. Once Kavish figures out his financial plan, putting aside money to make the most of the available tax breaks would be easier.

For investors like Kavish, liquidity needs may be higher due to unexpected expenses at the early stage of his life. Tax-saving products come with lock-ins during which time they cannot even be pledged to raise money. He may need a term insurance much more than a Ulip; health insurance coverage more than retirement planning. Tax saving alone should not determine what he chooses to do. It might be a wiser thing to actually pay the taxes and retain the flexibility.

(The content is courtesy Centre for Investment Education and Learning (CIEL). Contributions by Girija Gadre, Arti Bhargava and Labdhi Mehta.)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)




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