Students have it toughest:
Students planning to go abroad for studies, especially to the US for the academic season starting in Fall (August and September) will find that they now need to shell out more for all types of fees: application, examination and tuition. The depreciating rupee
will also impact the cost of living abroad. Those already studying in foreign universities will also have to bear a higher outgo as many colleges take fee each semester.
There is little you can do in the short run. “The fees and even the living expenses are standard. Students will have to pay at the higher exchange rate,” says Ajay Sharma, president, Abhinav Outsourcings. Student working part-time should remit their savings now and pay off their education loans to benefit from exchange rate.
Bring down travel cost:
The falling rupee
will also hit travel budgets, depending on the country you are travelling to and how the rupee
has fared against the local currency. If the rupee
has depreciated, the significant impact will be on day-to-day expenses, which include eating out, shopping, entry fees, and so on.
One way you can save on costs is by opting for group travel, instead of customised packages or travelling on your own. “Group travel to any destination is cheaper by at least 30 per cent compared to customised individual travel. As a large operator, we buy in bulk and this enables us to bring down costs,” says Karan Anand, head–relationships, Cox & Kings.
Slight alterations to plans can help independent travellers cut costs significantly. “If the traveller feels that the overall cost is too high, he should choose countries whose local currencies have not appreciated much against the rupee.
Indonesia, Russia, and Turkey are examples,” says Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer (B2C) of travel portal Yatra.com. He adds that travellers should opt for connecting budget flights instead of direct full-fledged carriers, and use budget hotels and homestays via popular apps. “Cutting a day or two from a two-week vacation can also help bring down costs,” says Dhall.
Diversify with international funds:
A falling rupee
may not impact equity returns directly, but it does have an indirect impact. A weaker rupee
means businesses have to pay more for imports. This affects companies that rely on imported raw materials, such as oil marketing, aviation, fast moving consumer goods companies, and so on. At the same time, a weaker rupee
boosts the returns of export-oriented businesses such as information technology (IT) and pharma.
One way to benefit from the rupee's fall is to invest in pharma and IT stocks using the mutual fund route. “Opt for sector funds if you understand the risks or have an advisor who can guide you, or else, stay put in diversified equity funds as the fund managers of these funds also take bets based on such events. Don’t put more than 5 per cent of your equity portfolio in sector funds,” says Chitra Iyer, CEO, My Fianncial Advisor.
Over the past 10 years, the rupee
has depreciated at a compounded annual rate of 4.90 per cent against the dollar.
To cope with the long-term depreciation of the rupee, invest in international mutual funds, preferably those focussed on the US. Besides providing diversification, they will also help with long-term goals such as your child's higher education abroad. “These funds don’t hedge currencies and, hence, investors stand to gain from fund appreciation as well as rupee
depreciation,” says Suresh Sadagopan, founder, Ladder7 Financial Advisors. But he cautions that investors should restrict their investment in foreign assets to 20 per cent of the portfolio and stay invested for the long-term, instead of timing their exit and entry based on currency movements.