Product Review : Exide Life : My Money Book

For perhaps the first time in my writing career, I find myself at a complete loss for words; for a long, long time I could not find anything to write about this product that was sent to be reviewed. I was tongue tied, and up a creek without a paddle. For I have never seen a more useless product in my business career; useless not because it has not been well-designed; it has been exceptionally well-designed. Useless because it is obsolete in the modern digital and connected world and financially fluid and challenging world.

I cannot see the point in a book that is readily available; all you require is a diary, a pen, and you have a functional and excellent financial record-book, which is also more flexible, and can have added pages and sections, given the fluidity of financial instruments in the modern world. 

But first, the good points. Let me be fair : it has plenty of good points; my not liking it has nothing to do with positives. 

  1. It is well designed
  2. Logically laid out sections for various instruments, like Insurance, Loans, FDs, Mutual Funds, Bank Accounts, Lockers
  3. Superb and Luxurious Finish
  4. Pleasing and eye-catching design of the cover as well as the pages
  5. Most importantly, it is very compact, which is a definite plus, as it can be kept in your financial record files as a single overall record

Could it have been better? Decidedly so! For starters, in going after the compact design, they have gone overboard, leading to a book that is pretty much useless for anyone who has a fluid financial investment strategy, and keeps switching Mutual Funds, Loans, etc. 

Most Mutual Funds have a flexible plan, and the Fund Portfolio is a very fluid one, making the MF part of the book worthless. The Provident Fund section has no provision for recording withdrawals, as another example. Both can be easily incorporated, which will make the book useful, in my opinion. 

Another way to make it useful is redesigning the book to meet the biggest lacuna : the book is merely a record of financial documents, stating the investment made, maturity date etc; it has missed the biggest aspect. This record will tell you nothing of your Net Worth; it just completely misses that aspect financial planning. 

A third way to increase utility is to provide a section for planning the upcoming liabilities, and provide a tracker of the savings requirements for those liabilities – these can be as varied as College Education of your Child, or a Marriage, or whatever. These need to be planned for. 

A fourth way is the simple expedient of providing tools and tables for calculating Time Value Of Money – impact of inflation at 5%, 65, 7% and 8% {suggested slabbing} on savings over the long term. These are one-page tables, and can be easily provided. You can also add simple aids to calculation of these and other financial tools. This can be easily done in just a few pages – making this a truly first-class Financial Planner. As things stand, it is a quaint product, one that limited practical utility as per me. It is at best a document Financial Records to be kept for ready reference for your better half; it is no way a Financial Planner, which is a completely different concept altogether.

And to be completely fair, that is exactly what their Website claims it to be  : My Money Book, which quite clearly mentions it is a record for the Family. It meets those statements for the most part, but is now obsolete, with the tools now available. It does not fully keep your organised; for that, the points mentioned above need to be incorporated!  

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