19 May 2020

Hacking Kuvera “family account” for goal separation

tl;dr: Create “fake” family member profiles to keep short-term and long-term goals separate or to keep your debt/equity investment ratio intact.

Let’s say you’re investing for some long-term goals (10 or more years away). Simultaneously, you also want to save for some short-term goals (1 or 2 years away). Or you just want to park some money in some debt funds (such as ultra short term funds). Kuvera’s default setup doesn’t support these needs very well. (Maybe for a good reason? They have SaveSmart which is probably what one should be using?)

Cash in a sack bag
Photo courtesy: PickPik.com
Mixing of short- and long-term goals
Kuvera uses unified goal planning, which takes advantage of the fact that as years pass, you’ll be earning more but your needs will reduce (because, say 2 of your 6 goals are already accomplished). But what it also means is that you cannot use Kuvera as a “recurring deposit” for saving (not investing) for a short-term goal. When you add a short-term goal, Kuvera will ask you to add just a tiny bit to your existing (long-term) SIPs because unified goal planning is inherently like that. If you kept adding many such short-term goals—I don’t pretend to know what really will happen—but intuitively it feels like you won’t have sufficient time for the money to grow for your long-term goals. It feels safer to keep the long-term SIPs and short-terms SIPs separate.

Parking surplus money for a few months/years
Let’s say you have some extra money lying around. You cannot quite invest it because you know you’ll have to spend that money in a few months. Or you may want to put a portion of your emergency funds in ultra short term debt funds that give higher return than liquid funds. (Also something wise people advise you to not do. Debt funds are for giving stability to your portfolio; don’t chase returns without understanding the risk.)

Basically, you want to park some money in debt funds. The moment you do that, your goal-based investments’ debt/equity ratio gets out of whack. This can be confusing and if you aren’t careful, would make your portfolio less than optimal.

In search of a solution…
Making Kuvera ignore your short-term or parked funds is easy: go to the folio management page and hide the folios that have the short-term funds. But now you cannot keep an eye on those funds.

I looked for alternate apps to track these funds. I tried ET Money and MoneyControl. They had the main feature that I wanted: I can enter when I bought what funds for how much; they’ll show me the current value, daily change in valuation, etc. But their user interfaces were a mess compared to Kuvera’s clean and beautiful UI. I tried Goalwise, but they only support defining and tracking goals, not the “I just want to track these external investments” use case. Their UI was so cluttered I didn’t even have the desire to learn if I can use their app somehow.

After struggling through this for a few weeks, I suddenly thought of a solution: just add a new “fake profile” to my account. I have enabled Family Account feature on my account so I can track my wife’s and brother’s investments. Now I have added a fake profile (i.e. a nonexistent family member) to the family for tracking short-term goals and parked funds. Now that I have learned this trick, all my recurring deposits will be going to Kuvera. I hope I’m not making a dumb mistake here 😬

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