Monday, 1 June 2009

Money ,money- my money

I had a frustrating time over the phone with Bajaj Allianz customer care. hence this post. 3 years ago i was sold a ULIP- a bajaj allianz ULIP. And the stock market tanked !
When i bought the policy - it was bought from a friend. I was informed about the charges but nothing about returns and risk and surrender charges.
So now i'm stuck with paying 3 year premium -locked in and the agent who is unreachable through phone or in person -absconding.
Over the period of 3 years this is what i learnt and hopefully still learning:
1. Don't buy a ULIP or mutual funds just because a smooth talking agent promises returns.The returns are NOT gauranteed. In India, even gauranteed returns are NOT guaranteed. So life rule no.1 is applicable here as well,- There are no gaurantees ! .....Yep, don't even trust 'friends' !

2. Read up as much as you can on ULIPs [ it seems in India, 90% of the people are invested in ULIPs and insurance companies are flourishing because people know next to zero about ULIPs].
Its your hard earned money and not the agents'.

3. The agent/financial planner'advisor is going to abscond,disappear, turn a deaf ear etc because that's how business is largely done in India. So be prepared mentally, to keep tab of your investments.

4. Even if the agent doesn't abscond, you still need to periodically keep checking NAVs,make switches in funds in ULIP.You'll need to give more Time to it than your wife/husband/job, i guess.

5. ULIPs have poor returns especially after you include the hefty charges they take from your premium. Yes, buddy, you are probably stuck in a sinking ship just like me.
6.They have a hefty surrender charge even after 3 year lock in period.
7. Its a long long term investment.
8. The customer service of Bajaj allianz is appalling . So i figure, it'll be same with other insurance providers too. So,get very very persistent,assertive and rude if need be to get your work done. That's how it goes in India !
9. Stick to FDs especially if you are stock market,share market or bull /bear challenged !

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