60 per cent of Indians have continued to stay invested during the pandemic despite market volatility
The Covid-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call for Indians, spurring them to take action in financial planning and seek professional financial advice, says the findings of Scripbox’s Financial Freedom Survey.
Now in its third year, the annual survey conducted ahead of Independence Day revealed that there has been a growing maturity in investing habits among Indians as 60 per cent have continued to stay invested during Covid-19 despite market volatility. The survey seeks to measure the financial outlook in general and personal financial preparedness of Indians in being able to achieve ‘independence’ from financial worries.
According to the survey, one in three Indians say that they will seek professional financial advice, and prioritise building a financial plan that helps to achieve long term life goals. One in every two say they will do so by going to a digital platform to achieve better results with personal wealth management.
“The pandemic has impacted people very differently, depending on their personal circumstances. That said, the common lesson has been that circumstances can change very rapidly with little warning. It has spurred people to make the quantum leap from ‘the thing I want to do or should be doing’ and ‘actually doing it’, especially when it comes to taking charge of their financial future,” said Atul Shinghal, Founder and CEO of Scripbox.
The all-India survey, that polled over 1000 adults across the country, showed that the most important financial goal of 41 percent of respondents is to build a financial plan with 31 percent saying they will prioritise saving for retirement. The top financial goal last year was to build an emergency corpus.
The importance of having a financial plan in place to meet long-term life goals emerges both as a priority and a regret. More than 30 per cent survey respondents cited this to be their top most investment mistake followed by not saving enough (25 percent).
51 per cent of all survey respondents say they would turn to a digital investment platform while 41 per cent say that they will also consult a personal financial advisor to help them take effective control of their finances and build discipline in financial matters. Compared to last year’s survey, only 37 per cent respondents said they would prioritise growing their wealth by using a digital investment platform. 47 per cent of survey respondents had said that they would prefer to do this on their own or consult their friends and family.
Survey respondents through their actions during the pandemic exhibit a higher degree of maturity in investing habits. 60 per cent respondents say they continued to stay invested while 38 per cent of these said they also increased their investments irrespective of market volatility during the pandemic. Mutual funds continue to be the most preferred financial instrument to invest in, followed by stocks and fixed deposits.
Conceptually, Indians understand the concept of financial freedom and this has been evident since the first survey conducted by Scripbox in 2019. Compared to the last two years where the confidence to achieve this was low, this year the confidence is palpably higher. 25 per cent say that they are confident about achieving financial freedom while 48 per cent mention that they are unsure and 26 per cent say they simply do not know how. In last year’s survey, nearly 70 per cent of respondents said they were unsure of their plan to manage their personal finances effectively. The pandemic has spurred the urgency to learn and take appropriate action which is a key determinant of confidence.
This confidence permeates other aspects too. 62 per cent of Indians exhibit confidence in the recovery of the economy post Covid-19 compared to 44 per cent respondents last year. Further to overcoming the initial shock and fear of a systemic meltdown that has remained largely unfulfilled, explains the confidence in the economic recovery, just as having lived through the pandemic for 15+ months now, explains why Indians have fast tracked their investments and financial actions, to be better prepared in the future.
“There are three key tenets to growing wealth. The first is to save regularly, then to invest that saving with a purpose on the basis of a plan, and monitor progress against that plan systematically. This journey is best navigated with the help of an expert by your side. This year’s survey clearly indicates that this is what Indians are seeking, someone to help them with their financial planning. Scripbox’s mission is to help investors do more with their money so that they can truly achieve independence from financial worries. With our personalised approach and curated solutions - a blend of ‘high tech’ with ‘high touch’, we are ideally placed to help people meet their financial goals at different life stages,” said Atul Shinghal.