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Should you buy Gold from Banks ??
The dream run up in Gold prices in last few years has enticed all and sundry as an attractive investment asset class. It has not only proved to be an excellent hedge against inflation a, reputation it holds with elan since time immemorial, but also, has delivered returns in excess of debt, equity etc as an asset class. Thus , it has emerged as the Best Investment Option in last few years. However, skeptics believe that gold has had its share of dream run and may not be possible for investors who are entering into now, to expect the same kind returns in future .But, if you are on of those who believe that best years of gold as an asset class is still ahead of us and want to invest in physical gold then you must be pondering where should you buy the gold from? These days we have seen most of the banks aggressively positioning them as place where one can buy physical gold bars/coins etc. The other option is offcourse our old Jeweller , both unorganized and large organised players like Titan, TBJ etc.Before deciding to buy Gold , ponder on these points:-1. Purity of the Gold:- The singlemost important factor that must guide your decision is the purity of the metal. Most of small Jewellers dont have the track record to write home about on thei account. Banks can give you complete assurance on quality. They give you 24 Carat Gold as against 22 Carat that Jewellers sell. Besides it is 999 Gold with Certificate of Purity. Some Large Jewellers also give the same.2. Premium Charged- Banks generally charge a premium on the price of Gold over what is the prevailing rate. Simply put, the Gold that you will buy from Bank will be costlier than  what you wil get in the market.3.Resale Option - Most of Banks DO NOT buy back the gold that they sell. However, Jewellers normally will take back the gold in case you were to sell it back to them.You must ,therefore, carefully weigh your options before rushing to buy Gold as an investment asset.

Does Pension Plans make sense ? - Should you invest in Pension Plans?
Recently IRDA has allowed Insurance companies in India to launch Pension plans after a gap of over 2 years . Earlier, the insurance companies did have pension plans in the market, but , the regulator viz IRDA had asked them to withdraw all such plans and as such we had a situation where there were no "Pension" plans available in India for some time. However, it has been allowed again . While doing so IRDA has mandated few changes in the product design/features which are aimed at safeguarding the investors interest like offering minimum guaranteed returns etc. So , as a person wanting to secure your post retirement years, should you be investing in them? The short answer to this question is NO . Let me elaborate on this. 1. High charges : Most of Pension Plans offered by Life Insurance companies today, have very high cost structure. Most of the Products have charges to the tune of 4-5% of the overall yearly premium/contribution that you make in the plan. This is against 1.5 to 2% charges on most of the well diversified Mutual Funds. Thus it is one of the most expensive ways of planning for your retirement.2. Lower guarnateed returns offered  : Most of these plans have guaranteed returns promise attached with it . While on the face of it, guaranteed returns gets people /investors excited and thats the reason why it is offered in first place. What companies dont tell you that while the guarantee is mostly of the premiums paid only ( or negligible returns over it) what they dont tell you i\with as much enthusiasm is that they charge you for providing you that guarantee too . Yes , they have something like guarantee charge in the cost structure.3. Lower than FD returns on annuities : The annuities offered ( pension ) in most of these plans range from 6-7% annually. This is even lower than what Bank FDs pay today . So there is no compelling reason why one shouldnt simply put money in FD ( the corpus if one has) and get superior returns from it.4. No Option to buy annuity from other company or pension provider. Another drawback of these plans is that most of them make it mandatory to buy annuities from them only . So if you invest with ABC company , then you are locked with them and will have to necessarily buy the annuity also from them irrespective of the rate they offer you. So , even if there is someone else in the market offering you better annuity rate, you will still not be able to move to that firm for your annuity. This is a serious drawback considering that Pension Sector is proposed to be reformed and opened up in India, which will drive competition among players thereby making it imperative on them to lure customers with better and superior products. So , short answer is that planning for retirement doesnt have to be done only by investing in Pension Plans offered by Life Insurance Companies . One would be better off investing in PPF , NPS etc for Pension Planning.What do you think?

Retired Recently? -Best investment option for Retired Person
Best investment option for Retired PersonThere are broadly 2 kinds of retirees viz 1. Those who draw pension from their employers 2. Those who dont have any pension from Employers . Now lets look at how each one of them should approach their investments for post retirement phase.1. Retired Persons having Pension from Employers  Since they already have some kind of pension income coming in they are better placed and have less daunting task to plan for this phase of their life.  They need to do following things :1. Buy a comprehensive Health Insurance Plan - There are lot of general insurance companies in India who are offering health covers upto 65-70 years . There are few options from Life Insurance Companies where one can have the health plan before 70 years and then can continue to renew it for their lifetime. Example is Health Assure Plan for HDFC Life. It is an absolute must that you cover yourself adequately against any untoward health shocks at this stage, since one such shock can wipe out your entire savings.2. Invest in Senior Citizens Savings Scheme -  At the time of retirement if you have received any lumpsum amount, then, invest teh same in Senior Citizen Savings Scheme. Its Govt of India Scheme meant for providing attractive returns to retired people. One can invest upto maximum Rs 15 lakhs and get 9% returns payable quarterly on it.3. Invest in Debt/Balanced Fund -Balance surplus investible amount may be invested in good debt or balanced mutual funds . This will ensure it gives better than FD returns with minimum risk. You may consider HDFC Prudence in this category.2. Retired Persons having  No Pension from Employers This set of people need to be very meticulous in planning their investments. They need to plan to ensure that they get regular monthly income but also guard against inflation. They must do the following things:-1. Buy a comprehensive Health Insurance Plan - They too are equally exposed to all the health risks and as such need to cover themselves adequately. Buy cover for both yourself and your spouse. 2. Invest in Senior Citizens Savings Scheme -  Invest upto Rs 15 lakhs in this scheme . This will give them 9% pa.3. Invest in Post office Monthly Scheme - This will ensure that they get decent returns monthly which will help them keep their basic household expenses going.4. Invest in good Balanced or Well diversified Equity Fund - Since they do not get any inflation adjusted pension income from their employers , they have to ensure that they invest their money in instruments which gives them superior inflation adjusted returns. I would suggest they can invest in good balanced fund or well diversified  large cap equity funds  like Reliance top 200 , BNP ParibasEquity, HDFC Equity etc.If you stick to this , I think you will have a comfortable retired life without worrying for paying your next electricity bill . What do you think? Pl comment.

How to File Income Tax Returns? - 5 Must Dos.
Filing Income Tax returns is one of the activities about which there is lot of anxiety among lot of people .  We need to understand that while filing ITR is important and necessary , it is also important that we do so correctly . So what are the things that you should keep in mind while filing ITR.1. File ITR within specified time - The first things that you must ensure is that you file the ITR within the specified period and not delay it. Any delay in filing ITR ( especially wehere you have to pay taxes ) may attract penalty from the Govt .  And  as such , sticking to the timeline is a great idea.2. Disclose all incomes - The most common mistake tax payers make is failing to report all the sources of their income. One type of income that is forgotten by many individuals is interest earned on a bank savings account and on Fixed Deposits (FDs). This income is taxable according to your respective tax slab. Usually banks deduct 10 percent as Tax Deductible at Source (TDS) on the interest income earned on FDs. However, if you fall under a higher tax slab of say, 30 percent, you are liable to pay tax accordingly. Not reporting these incomes might attract a notice from the income tax department.In addition, if you have changed your job recently, make sure that you report the income earned through your previous employer as well. Also, any income earned by a minor through investments is taxable according to the tax slab of the parent with higher income. The income of the minor is clubbed with that parent’s income while computing net taxable amount. In case you have made investments in your children’s name, keep this in mind while filing your taxes.3.Paying tax on House Property - Lot of people assume that there is no tax to be paid on house property . While the truth is all house property owned by the person attracts tax and one needs to pay the same.4.Filing details of income which is tax exempt -Some people assume that we have to file details of income where there is tax liability and as such do not disclose incomes which are tax free. For example, Long Term capital gains out of equity invetsments , dividends received etc are tax free but still need to be disclosed in your tax returns. This reflects your total income accurately and removes any chances of receiving any notice from Income Tax Dept since most of the AMCs, brokerages  etc from where you receive this income will anyway report this to the authorities.5. Give Correct email Id and Postal Address: Since all the necessary information is communicated by the income tax department via email or post, it is extremely important to enter these details correctly before filing your taxes. A minor mistake in filling these details means that you may miss important notifications. So check and re-check your postal and email address when you file your income tax.

Best Tax Savings Mutual Funds (ELSS) - FY 12-13
Its that time of the year again when all of us scramble to do tax planning. We have lot of options under Sec 80 C of the IT act to invest upto Rs 1,00,000 and save taxes on it. Some of the options under Sec 80C are as under:-1. ELSS2. Insurance Plans - ULIPs3.PPF4.PF and VPF( Voluntary Provident Fund)5. Tax Saving FDsThere are quite a few other options as well like deduction on account of paying tuition fees for kids, housing loan deductions etc.Out of the 5 options listed above, ELSS is my own favourite for following reasons:-1. It has lock in period of just 3 years . This is lowest among all the options available.2. It gives you equity exposure while PPF and FDs give only debt exposure.3. Is more likely to give inflation adjusted positive returns .So , if you are looking to invest in ELSS, following are the top ELSS schemes that you may consider.Happy Investing!!

CTS Compliant Bank Cheque - What is it?
What are CTS  Compliant Cheques ? CTS is an acronym for Cheque Truncation System . CTS is a new clearing system proposed by RBI wherein the need for physical movement of cheques between drawer bank and drawee bank will be eliminated. In place of physical cheques , only the image of the cheque having relevant information like MICR code , date of presentation, bank details etc will be sent for clearing. The cheques used for such clearing are called CTS complaint cheques.What are the advantages of CTS based clearing system ? Following are the advantages of CTS based clearing system:1. Since the need for physical movement of cheques is removed, the whole process of clearing will be faster . One will be able to get credits ion their account faster than is possible today.2. This will result in lower cost in clearing since banks will save money which is currently spent in physically moving cheques from one place to another during the clearing process.3. Lower scope of issues arising out of loss of cheques in transit etc.4. Lower frauds related to cheque clearing  since it is much more safe and secure than physical clearing system currently practised.5. Superior customer service .When will it be applicable?CTS based clearing is proposed to go live from 1st April 2013 and as such CTS compliant cheques alone will be valid from that day onwards.How to find out if the cheque you have is CTS complaint ?The new cheque leaves which are CTS compliant will have  following features:-1. " Please sign above this line" notation will be marked on the right hand bottom side of the cheque.2. "Payable at par at all branches " will also be written on the cheque at the bottom.Will alterations on the cheque be accepted post launch of CTS based clearing?Any kind of ccorrections in payee's name , amount in figures /words etc will NOT be accepted on CTS complaint cheques and as such one needs to be very clear both while writing cheques and also while accepting it.Do not accept any cheque which has over-writing or corrections done on it since banks will not be able to honor such cheques and will be returned back.  Similarly , while issuing cheques , take care to ensure that you write the cheque correctly the first time itself so that there is no need for alterations.What happens to non CTS complaint cheques /PDCs etc post 31st March 31?All post dated cheques given for EMI payments  should be replaced by new CTS 2010 compliant cheques . The non complaint cheques given as PDCs etc wont be accepted/valid post 31st March 13.Thus , its amply clear that non CTS cheques needs to be replaced if you already havent. Apply for new cheques immediately so that there is no last moment rush for you on this account.Happy Banking !!

RGESS - Is it Good One for Tax Planning?
Rajiv Gandhi Equity Saving Scheme ( RGESS) is s a new equity tax advantage savings scheme for equity investors in India. The scheme got it's approval on September 21, 2012. It is exclusively for the first time retail investors.The investors who invest up to Rs.50,000 in 'Eligible Securities and MFs' and have gross total annual income less than or equal to Rs.12 Lakhs will benefit from a new section 80CCG under the Income Tax Act, 1961 on 'Deduction in respect of investment under an equity savings scheme' has been introduced to give tax benefits.Example:Let us say, you invest Rs.50,000 under RGESS, the amount eligible for tax deduction from your income will be Rs.25,000. Alternatively, if you invest Rs.40,000 under RGESS, the amount eligible for tax deduction will be Rs.20,000. So you may save about Rs.2,575, Rs.5,150 for income tax slabs 10% and 20% respectively under this scheme.Who can invest in it ? Individuals who have never invested in equity markets are eligible . Definition of such individuals is as under:-- Person who hasnt opened a Demat Account.If Demat is opened , then there should be no transactions.- Person who hasnt invested ever in equity -cash and FnO.-Resident individual having annual income of less than 12 lakhs.- The second or third holder of the demat account would not be considered as investor having equity exposure . Its only the first holder who shall be considered that way. hence all such people can open a new demat account and take advantage of this scheme.Is it worth it?  It is worth it because of following reasons:- Helps you save taxes over and above Sec 80 C to the extent of Rs 25000 as direct deduction from taxable income , if your annual income is less than 12 lacs pa.- It allows you to take advantage of tax saving even while investing in well diversified Mutual Funds. Of all the tax saving instruments available in India today, ELSS is the best one owing to its low cost and low lockin period besies high return potential. RGESS is just like ELSS only and as such makes sense to invest in it and save extra taxes.

What is an HUF? Down the ages, the Hindu community has largely believed in the concept of joint families, joint income and joint property that is shared and enjoyed by all the members of the family. This concept is now recognized as a legal expression in the form of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)– a rather efficient tax-planning tool under the Income Tax Act. How do you form HUF? As the name suggests, an HUF is a family of Hindus. However, under the tax laws, even Jain and Sikh families can set up HUFs. Typically, an HUF will consist of a person who have lineally descended from a common ancestor, and includes their wives and unmarried daughters. Do note: in Maharashtra, even married daughters are recognised as HUF members. While the senior most member is called the karta (manager), the male members are known as coparceners, and the females are referred to as members. In the ordinary sense, an HUF should consist of at least two male members. However, in case the HUF is partitioned, the smaller family that receives the property can constitute an HUF even if it has only one male member. What income is regarded as HUF income? All the income that arises on the utilisation of the HUF’s assets and on the investment of its funds is regarded as the HUF’s income that is assessed separately and chargeable to tax. Importantly, the income should have been earned using HUF property or funds or property only; if it arises on account of the personal investments of any member, it will generally be regarded as the individual income of the member.  If an HUF contributes funds to the capital of a partnership firm in which it is represented by the karta or any other member who represents the HUF, then the profits and interest received from the firm will be treated as HUF income. This is because the income arises on the investment of HUF funds, and so the income belongs to the family. If, however, the partnership firm also pays the karta (or the member who represents the HUF) a salary for efforts put in by him, the remuneration will be regarded as the individual income of the karta/member. It’s important to remember that the same person can be taxed separately as an individual, as well as for and on behalf of the HUF. The two capacities are totally different. And so, the individual and the HUF are totally different units for tax purposes–they are two different assessees. Since an HUF is a separately entity, it can earn income from house property, income from business and capital gains, and income from other sources. However, since emoluments are given for personal skills, an HUF cannot earn income from salaries. An HUF can also carry on a business that is managed on its behalf by the karta. It can also hold shares, securities, jewellery and any other valuable articles or articles, apart from movable and immovable property. What are the assets of an HUF? Any gift that is given specifically to an HUF can be treated as HUF property. The assets received on the partition of a larger HUF of which the coparcener was a member is also perceived as HUF property is also treated as the property of the HUF. Assets can also be bequeathed to an HUF by way of a will that specifically favours the HUF. A point to be noted: in the absence of a will, the assets received on the death of a benefactor after 1956 (when the Hindu Succession Act came into force) will not be regarded as HUF property, but as individual property, even though such assets have been inherited. 

For those who travel abroad frequently either due to personal or professional reason have to carry foreign exchange with them for using it during their stay outside the country. Most of the people carry currency notes with them which is fraught with various risks. But if you want to avoid the risk of travelling while carrying currency notes , you may seriously consider taking forex cards given by the banks for this purpose. What is Forex Card? Forex card is a plastic based card like a debit card or credit card, which is prepaid in nature. The person taking the card can get the desired amount in the desired currency loaded on the card which can be subsequently utilised while on tour. The person needs to approach the bank and pay in Indian rupees for the equivalent amount in foreign currency which needs to be loaded on the card.Who issues Forex Card? Most of the to league banks in India do offer forex cards to their customers. One can approach bank like ICICI, SBI, HDFC etc for forex cards.What are the charges? You may have to pay issuance fee of Rs 100-300 for every forex card that you take. Other than this , you may have to pay RS 50-200 as loading fee while loading the card with the desired foreign currency. You may have to pay 1.5% - 3% on ATM cash withdrawal too.How much forex can you load on your card? As per current RBI regulations, one can load upto maximum of USD 10000 across all forex cards in a year.Can I have multiple forex cards? Yes. You can have multiple cards for loading cash in different currencies viz USD, Pound,, Euro etc. Whats the exchange rate applicable on my spend? You will be charged the exchanged rate of the day when you got the card loaded with the desired currency. The conversion rate is applicable on the day when the rupee is converted in foreign currency which in this case is the day of loading the card in India.Documents Required ? You will have to give PAN Card copy, Passport,Visa and tickets .Benefits of the card? Following are the benefits of the card1. This card will provide you immunity against the risk of physical loss of cash while travelling.2. It allows you to control the exchange rate applicable . You can choose when to load the card depending on the exchange rate movement. Once loaded, you are not exposed to any adverse movement in currency exchange rate. 3. Accepted  across all major stores and ATM abroad.4. Add on benefits like travel insurance and accident insurance being offered by some Banks.

For those of us who have Demat Accounts and want to change from one Demat account to another for any reason will have to first get the holdings transferred to the new Demat Account before the account can be closed and you can fully migrate to the new account. So, if you are wondering how can you get the share holdings transferred from your current Demat account to the new one, then read on.1.Transfer from one Demat Act to another Demat Act of the sole owner :- In case , the transfer of shares is from one Demat account to another Demat account held by the same person in his sole capacity, then he/she needs to fill delivery instruction slip giving the details of the shares to be transferred and the same shall be submitted with the depository. These delivery instruction slips are available with the depository and are like cheque leaves which we use to tranfer money from our account.2.Transfer from Joint Demat Account :- In this case too, the delivery instruction slip will have to filled and submitted to the depository. Only difference is that here both the owners need to sign the slip.3.From Sole Demat Account after account holders death:- In such cases the holding is transferred to the demat account of the nominee where there is nominee mentioned in the account. For cases where the holding is less than 1 lakh and there is no nomination in the account, the holdings may be transferred to the legal heir without any court order or will. For cases above Rs 1 lakhs holding without nomination, one will have to give court order or will from the deceased alongwith the death certificate for effecting the transfer.4. From Joint Demat Account after death of one owner- In this case, the shares will be transferred to the new Demat Account of the surviving holder. The surviving holder will have to submit an application form alongwith death certificate for effecting the transfer.5.Transfer of Lock in securities:- If the Demat has ELSS etc which has lockin then the transfer can be done only post getting them rematerialised . After rematerialisation, the same can be dematerialised in new Demat account.6. Transfer of Holding where there is Lien :- For all holdings where there is lien marked , before transferring the same one will need NOC from the party in whose benefit the holding/stock etc is pledged.Hope this has helped get you some clarity on the issue.

Till not very long ago, gold or gold jewellery was considered to be most sacred of family possessions in India, and a family would do its all to avoid selling it or  mortgaging gold for taking a loan on it. But, slowly but steadily things are indeed changing in India with many gold loan companies setting up shop and driving home the point that there is nothing wrong in taking loan over gold. One of the gold loan Finance company asks" Jab Ghar me pada hai sona toh phir kyun hai rona?". This has resulted in huge off take in gold loan sales in the country . But does it make sense for you? Do you really understand what it is ? How can you take benefit from it ? Lets try and understand each of these in the following paragraphs.GOLD LOAN - What is it?Gold Loan is a loan given against the security of the gold bar/coin or jewellery . The loan seeker needs to mortgage his/her gold with the bank/NBFCs against which they get loans upto 75% to 95% of the gold value. These are like Personal Loans where the end use of the loan amount is not defined and the amount may be used in any manner as deemed fit by the borrower.Since these loans are backed by security of gold , the banks/NBFCs charge much lower rate of interest on these loans as compared to lets say a Personal Loan which is unsecured.Who Offers These Loans? Most of the banks in India like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis,SBI etc offer Gold Loans. Other than banks there are dedicated gold loan companies like Mannapuram Finance, Muthoot Finance which exclusively deal in Gold Loan.Most of the gold loan companies have very wide network and are open on Sundays too,thus making it eminently easy for the borrower to seek loan at his/her convenience.Loan Amount? Most of the gold loan financers(NBFCS) provide upto 95% of the gold value as loan to the borrower. But if you approach a bank, they are likely to be conservative in their financing and may be willing to offer only upto 75% of the gold value as loan.But to balance that there rate of interest is lower.So you must decide basis that.If you dont want very high loan amount,it may be prudent to approach banks which will give you gold loans at atleast 2-3% lesser than Muthoot Finance, Mannapuram Finance etc.Benefits of taking Gold Loan? There are quite a number of compelling benefits which make gold loan a very good option for lot of borrowers. Some of the major ones are1.Quick Loan Disbursal - Gold Loans are probably the loans with smallest TAT(turn around time). You can walkin with your gold coin/bar/jewellery and walk out with loan , all in the smae day in matter of couple of  hours. 2.Safety and Security of your Jewellery- Since the gold jewellery that the borrower mortgages with the financier is kept in safe custody of the bank/NBFCs , it ensures that the same is in safe and secure custody .This also reduces the cost that the person might be bearing on account of keeping that jewellery in a bank locker on his own. bank Locker rent is thus saved while the jewellery still stays in bank locker only.3.Lower interest rates - Since these are secured loans, the rate of interest is much lower than a plain vanilla Personal Loan.4.OD Facility- Some banks also provide overdraft facility on your gold jewellery. This helps those who dont want to take EMI based loans and want to just have facility of overdraft where they pay interest for only usage period .So next time when you are in urgent need of money , then rather than going for Personal Loan, you may want to consider unlocking the value of gold jewellery in your home .

Its not uncommon to find people among us who have suffered at the hands of the mediclaim insurers during claim settlement. There are numerous instances where claim is rejected by the health insurance company on technical/material grounds.  This defeats the basis purpose of getting help when needed. So, what can you do to avoid this? Try these steps :- 1. Check Fine Print for Expense Coverage - The mediclaim polices generally list down the limit of expenditure that is allowed to reimbursed under room rent/ambulance hire charges etc. This  limit varies between policies of various companies and hence before you get yourself admitted to any hospital , it is always advisable to check the expense limit allowed as per your mediclaim .Any extra expenditure done on account of thee heads is generally borne by the patient himself/herself. 2. Check for exclusion in Diseases - You must also check the number and nature of diseases covered under your mediclaim before you buy it. For example, lot of policies in India dont cover Diabetes at all . This is a major exclusion since Diabetes is very common among Indians and by excluding it the insurer is playing safe. You must select the policy which provides coverage for maximum number of diseases especially the  critical one like Diabetes, Heart related, Kidney Related, cancer related etc. 3. Time Period Before Coverage of Preexisting Disease- Most of the mediclaim policies in India, have a waiting period of anywhere between 1 to 4 years before they cover preexisting diseases.Any claim made for the preexisting disease during the waiting period is likely to be rejected.Hence go for the plan which has least waiting period. 4. Plastic Surgery , Cataract, Dental Care and Piles Not Covered - Most of the mediclaim policies in India DONOT cover Dental Care, Piles, Cataract etc . Even Plastic Surgery is considered to be part of cosmetic surgery and as such is seldom covered under mediclaim. . 5. OPD Not Covered - Any claim that you may have on account of expenses towards medicines /Doctor consultancy Charges etc during OPD care is not covered by most of the mediclaim plan in India. 6. Disclose all Material Info - To avoid rejection of any claim made by you which is normally covered under the plan, it is also important for you to have disclosed all material information to the insurer while applying/buying the cover. If the firm finds out that you have willingly suppressed an information which is material in nature, then they are well withing their rights to reject the claim. So be truthful and disclose all the relevant (good and bad) information. It might increase your premium but will ensure that your claim is not rejected when you need the assistance the most. 7. 24 Hr Hospitalization -  One needs to be hospitalised for a minimum of 24 hours before your claim is eligible for reimbursement/payment by the insurer. Only exception is Chemotherapy,radiation treatment done in Cancer where 24 hr hospitalisation isnt mandatory. 8. Submit your Claim ASAP - Any claim submitted beyond the stipulated timeframe by the insurer might lead to its rejection . It is advisable to submit claims within 7 days of getting discharged from the hospital.   

After stupendous success of mobile number portability introduced by TRAI , IRDA too has taken a cue and introduced health insurance portability in India from 1st October 2011. This is a huge step in the right direction considering there was lot of discontentment among the consumers about the manner in which they were being treated by their health insurers. Some of the common grouses were:1. The health insurance companies mandated on a waiting period for covering pre existing diseases to each and every customer once he comes in their fold, irrespective of whether or not the person had any other policy where he had served out the waiting period. So in effect , every time you changed the company , you would have had to start the waiting period all over again.2. The insurers generally were resorting to increasing the renewal premium by a steep margin for those policyholders who have had a claim in the year. This was mostly done to discourage the policyholders from renewing the policy with them. Thus they wanted to get rid of policyholders who they thought could be "claim prone".3.In lot of cases, policyholder's request for renewal after a claim was rejected without any material reason from the insurer. This meant a great nuisance for the policyholder since he had to start his waiting period for preexisting disease all over again with the new insurer.To address some of these issues , IRDA has mandated health insurance portability now. What exactly does it mean?Health Insurance Portability means that a health insurance policyholder can now choose to change his insurance provider without foregoing any of the benefits covered in his/her current policy. For instance, if you have a health insurance/mediclaim plan from ICICI Lombard and if for any reason you are not happy with the company , then you can change over to any other insurance provider without foregoing any benefit that you may be enjoying under your current plan. What are the benefits of Health Insurance Portability? Following are the few of the benefits:1. CHOICE - Now as a policyholder , you will have a choice which till now you didn't have. You can now switch over to any health insurance provider . 2. COVERAGE OF PREEXISTING DISEASES - Once you move from one general insurance company to another for their health insurance or mediclaim plan, you will continue to get the same benefit that you got in your old plan.For example , if you were covered for Diabetes in Plan A and then you  migrated to Plan B , then in the Plan B too , you will have that covered. 3. NO FRESH WAITING PERIOD - Once you change over to new insurance provider, you need not start your waiting period for getting preexisting diseases covered all over again. You will have the benefit of counting the number of years you waited in your earlier plan .For example, if the waiting period for covering Diabetes under the Plan A is 4 years and after 2 years you migrated to Plan B from another company where also the waiting period for covering Diabetes is 4 years, then you will have to serve waiting period of only 2 years with Plan B since you have already served 2 years under Plan A. This is a big change for all the policyholders.4. NO CLAIM BONUS TOO TO BE PAID - If you had claim free year in your first policy , then on switching over to new policy , you will be entitled to no claim bonus too from the new insurance provider .How to Change the Policy or Insurance Provider in India?You will have to do following :-1. Apply with the insurance company you wish to change to , at least 45 days prior to your current policy getting over.2. Inform the IRDA too about the insurance firm you wish to change to.What else should you consider before switching over?Consider the following before you finally sign on the switch application a. Check for the new premium rates being charged by the other insurance companies for similar coverage in terms of Sum assured and diseases covered.b. Check for the network of hospitals that they have under cashless scheme.The more the merrier.c.Also check claim settlement ratio of the firms. The company which doesn't have good record in settling the claims does not merit a chance. You should go with the firm which has good claim settlement ration, great hospital network and reasonable premium.So its time to pull out your mediclaim policy documents and check if it needs to be from another company .Stay wise and happy investing!!

Tax saving FDs offered by banks in India are good option for someone looking to save tax under Sec 80 C without taking any risk that is inherent in equity exposure that ELSS offers. So, if you are one of those conservative investors who want to save tax via FDs , then it would be pertinent to know which banks are offering you the best deal currently. Following are the 5 best Tax saving FDs that are being currently on offer ( as on Sept 11). Rank   Bank                                Rate On Int.(p.a.)  Rs 10000 will grow  1.   Tamilnad Mercantile Bank    10%                             Rs16386. 2.    City Union Bank                   9.75%                           Rs 16186 3.    IDBI Bank                            9.50%                           Rs 15991 4.    Punjab And Sind Bank         9.50%                           Rs 15991 5.    State Bank of Travancore   9.50%                           Rs 15991Happy investing!!   

There have been times , when we have been faced with situation of transferring money from bank account to another account without visiting bank branch. One can do cash transactions via netbanking if one doesnt want to visit the branch or the branch timings are over. But what if we in a place where internet isnt available and we need to transfer cash immediately . Relax, we have a solution now. Resereve Bank Of India has now allowed cash transaction upto Rs 50000 from mobile phones . To do so , we need to follow the following steps:- 1. Register with the bank for interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS). 2. Download the application on the mobile phone. 3. Log in to the application 4. Select bank account from which funds are to be transferred. 5. Select mobile money transfer service. 6. Enter 10 digit mobile number, 7 digit MMID and desired amount to be transferred. 7. Confirm all the details. 8. Done. You will recieve sms confirming the same. PROS OF THE FACILITY 1. Another platform to do non branch based cash transaction besides netbanking . 2. Ease of operation is huge since we are all with our mobuile phones virtually at all times. 3. Increased penetration of banking services in underbanked areas where bank branches arent available. CONS OF THE FACILITY1. Cash transactions of upto Rs 50000 only can be done via this platform as of now. 2. Traning could be an issue for rural folk who are very tech savvy.

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