Money talk is confusing, but the environment that surrounds it is even more so. Explore my mental state as I ricochet from one brain fart to another while setting up my PPF. Plus, the most basic and simple guide to setting up your PPF.
An exercise in my mid-20s has been to become more intimately involved with my own finances. Understand how they work, what I have, what I need, what I should and should not be doing.
But for a woman with little mathematical interest, and frankly, very little financial interest as well, this has been… a journey.
I recently went to the bank to complete a KYC process, and it was a pretty strange experience because of how little I know about everything.
So here are 5 thoughts I had while setting up my Public Provident Fund (PPF) account. Join me in all my confused glory as I show you the less serious side of money from the point of view of someone who has always relied on others to guide her financial decisions.
Want to know how to set up your PPF account? Click here.
I Should Have Brought A Jacket
The bank was running at Arctic temperatures. Okay, maybe not-so-Arctic, but it really was freezing!
I dressed for the onset of summer, as one does; but as soon as I entered the building I knew that mistakes had been made. Bank ACs are almost always cranked up on high!
So I sat with my advisor for the better part of an hour, absolutely FREEZING in my seat. My advisor actually asked if I was alright and whether I needed a hot beverage because of how visibly I was shivering!
Pro Tip: Carry a light jacket. Do not hesitate, even if you feel silly. It will be a lifesaver!
I Wish That Man Shouting At The Teller Would Stuff It
Along with the freezing cold, what adds to the ambiance of a bank is the people. This is me being sarcastic, because it’s honestly wild how rude people can get while dealing with bank employees.
I was witness to a man attempting to intimidate an employee who was trying to help him, and that was not a good look on him.
Banks, sadly, are slow institutions and it is rarely an employee’s fault. It’s just easier and (less aggressive!) to understand where they are coming from, and help them to help you.
Pro Tip: Don’t yell. Ask politely, and be kind to people who have to deal with customers all day.
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My Signature Is Different Literally Every Time
Okay, this is not an exclusively PPF-related thing, but my signature and I have beef. I can never get the darn thing to come out looking the same ever.
My hands just refuse to cooperate and it was honestly really funny to see sign after sign come out slightly wonky in one way or another as I put my initials on document after document.
Why was my P so bulbous? How did I manage to mangle my surname like that? Who gave me permission to sign my own sign so wrong so many times?!
Pro Tip: Practice your sign before going to the bank. It will put your fingers in signature mode.
Why Have I Never Seen My Passbook Before?
Ladies, be honest: How many of you are actually in the know about your financial documents? I was definitely not, and therefore it was a pleasant experience to make its acquaintance.
When we hand over our money matters to other parties – whether family or partners – we allow ourselves to stay in the dark about the nitty-gritty of where our money goes and how.
Going to the bank, looking at my passbook, and actually participating in the processes of KYC verification and submitting a cheque from my own savings into my PPF was a big step towards being more in tune with my financial security.
Pro Tip: Don’t hesitate to get down and dirty with your own money matters.
I Really Need To Get More Invested In My Investments
Real talk: I (and you) need to stop taking our money lightly.
Many of us have grown up distant from conversations beyond income. Everyone has inputs on savings and investments, but rarely are we encouraged to deep dive into how we can stabilise our financial situation.
Sitting in the bank, jargon swirling around me, I became very aware of the self-imposed divide between me and my investments. But I realised that going into my late 20s, I need to know all this stuff better.
Pro Tip: Learn where your money comes from and where it goes, and what you need to know to stay on top of it.
And now, making one teeny tiny thing simpler for you: Learn how to set up your PPF!
How To Set Up Your Public Provident Fund (PPF) Account
A Public Provident Fund is an investment scheme that offers two things:
- A decent return based on interest rate
- Non-taxable earning of interest
You simply have to open an account under the scheme, and your earnings from it can be claimed as deductions under section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
But how to set up PPF, you ask?
You can open a PPF account at one of these:
- Post Office
- National Banks (such as SBI)
- Private Banks (such as HDFC)
You will have to submit the following documents to open a PPF account:
- Fully completed application form
- Required Know-Your-Customer (KYC) documents:
- Identity proof (Aadhar card, PAN card)
- Address proof
- Signature proof
Once you submit these, you will be prescribed an amount to transfer to open the account. Thereafter, you will be given an upper limit of how much you can put into the account annually.
How much interest do you earn from your PPF account?
Currently, the interest rate is 7.10%. The Ministry of Finance reviews the interest rate and time it will take to mature on a quarterly basis.
How soon can you withdraw from your PPF account?
There is a lock-in period to allow for maturity. A partial withdrawal can be made after completing 6 years, and a complete withdrawal is allowed only at the time of maturity.
So there you are! Now you know how to set up your PPF, and you know that everyone gets nervous around money. But you are all set to think and delve into your finances: take it light but not lightly, and become the master of your finances.
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