Review Your Portfolio Before Investment Decisions In A Bear Market

Vinay’s portfolio has taken quite a beating. He had purchased YES Bank at a price of around Rs. 450 per share about 8-9 months back. Today the share is hovering around Rs. 168. Sintex Plastics, which he had purchased in December 2017, has lost about 60% of its value. His portfolios largely comprised of midcap stocks, have lost 40-60% value from their peak. His stock portfolio was doing very well at one point, based on which he significantly increased his investments into stocks. Now, he is unsure as to what to do. Should he buy more of the stocks that he has so that his costs can be averaged?

The stock market has seen quite a few crashes this year. It is highly volatile these days and in a bear phase. The mid and small cap indices lost between 25-35% in a short period. In a bear market, confidence is low and stock prices are not rangebound. They can swing wildly.

In case you are in such a dilemma, here are some action points to bear in mind before making a random or emotional decision –

Review and Adjust Your Portfolio

Its ideal to book profits on your portfolio and hold some cash for deployment on market falls.  You may still want to review the stocks and equity mutual funds in your portfolio so as to remove the duds. You might want to let go of the duds in your portfolio by taking advantage of bear market rallies.

If you have stocks that were bought because of tips, recommendations or just to make quick profits, review them and sell off those that do not seem to have the potential for giving good returns in the long run.  Look to buy good stocks that can gain strongly on a market recovery.

Avoid Panic Selling

Some of us panic and sell off stocks the moment we see that they are losing value. That may not be the best course of action for all stocks. It is not a good idea to exit quality stocks with a good long-term record and good cash flow, , especially at points when they have fallen sharply and their valuations become attractive again.

Don’t Miss Out On Buying Low

Averaging is a smart investment strategy, especially for diversified mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Systematic Transfer Plans are good to supplement your SIPs when markets have fallen; and you are unable to predict the bottom of markets, but you know it is somewhere around the corner.

Most investors become too fearful on large market falls and miss out the opportunity of buying stocks at their best prices.  Keep in mind that the news flow is likely to very negative at such points.  At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of getting in too early. You can add more of blue chip stocks, high quality funds and ETFs when the prices are down.

Be Practical

If you don’t have the time or find it difficult to track individual stock and the market environment, stick to mutual funds. Seek professional advice if required.  Understand your portfolio, risk tolerance and risk capacity, so that you do not make any hasty decisions that you might regret later on. Work on a disciplined investment style that suits you.

It is difficult to time the market. So investors have to be patient and keep the right investment perspective before making decisions.

In the current market scenario, the prices have fallen quite a bit. It may be time to take some positions slowly. For example, one can invest in blue chip equity funds such as Mirae India Equity and Aditya Birla Sunlife Frontline funds in a phased manner, especially on corrections. One can use a combination of lump sum investment and SIPs to average the costs. When the markets move upward, they can sell off some positions and use that money to invest in debt instruments.

Key Takeaways

    • Understand your risk tolerance; Use an investment style that suits you
    • When markets are volatile, review your portfolio and sell off the bad quality stocks
    • Don’t Panic . Take advantage of market volatility
    • Stay Invested for the long term in fundamentally good stocks, mutual funds and ETFs. Increase allocations on lareger market falls.

Tax Rebate upto Rs 5 lakh: The real story

 

 

Ever since Interim Budget 2019, there is some confusion on whether there is income tax relief given to all citizens or not. Some people are convinced there is an income tax relief for all. Others say they have read or heard news reports about tax rebate relief.

For a common man with limited financial knowledge, all this can be very confusing. So, let us clear that confusion once and for all. The Budget has allowed individuals with taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh to get full tax rebate and so they pay zero tax. Read on to know more.

Tax slabs unchanged

There is no change in the income tax slabs. You must understand what is the difference between taxable income and total/gross income. Gross income includes all of the income a person has received during a financial year. This amount is not explicitly exempt from taxation. On the other hand, taxable income is the amount of income that is actually subject to taxation, after all deductions or exemptions. So, typically taxable income will be lower than gross/total income.

For a person aged below 60 years, up to Rs 2.5 lakh of their taxable income is not taxed.

Income between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh is taxed at 5% of total income exceeding Rs 2.5 lakh. This tax comes to a maximum of Rs 12,500.

Income between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh is taxed as at 20% of total income exceeding Rs 5 lakh.

Income above Rs 10 lakh is taxed at 30% of total income over Rs 10 lakh.

In the Interim Budget, these tax slabs remain the same. However, the Budget has allowed individuals with taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh to get full tax rebate under section 87A of the Income Tax Act.

Do remember for senior citizens aged 60 years and above but below 80 years, income up to Rs 3 lakh is exempt from tax. Income up to Rs 5 lakh is exempt from tax for super senior citizens (ie. aged 80 years and above).

Tax rebate is not tax cut for all

What does full tax rebate for those with taxable income of Rs 5 lakh mean? Read the example below.

Let us assume you, a person below 60 years, has a taxable income of Rs 5 lakh. As per income tax slabs, you fall in two slabs.

First, your income up to Rs 2.5 lakh is not taxed.

Second, the excess amount above Rs 2.5 lakh is taxed at 5% of the exceeding amount. Since your taxable income is Rs 5 lakh, this means you have Rs 2.5 lakh extra over the zero tax-slab.

At 5% income tax rate, the tax liability comes to Rs 12,500. However, the full tax rebate of up to Rs 12,500 given in the latest budget means you will also pay no tax!

But what if your taxable income is Rs 5.5 lakh or Rs 6 lakh or more? The moment your taxable income crosses Rs 5 lakh, then the rebate is not applicable for you.

If your taxable income is Rs 5.5 lakh, for example, your gross tax liability shoots up to Rs 23,400. For somebody with taxable income of Rs 6 lakh, the tax rises further to Rs 33,800.

In essence, all this means your tax liability rises sharply once you cross Rs 5 lakh taxable income zone. For earning just Rs 50,000 more than Rs 5 lakh (taxable income of Rs 5.5 lakh), your tax liability is nearly 47% on the extra Rs 50,000 income.

Importance of tax-planning

Under the new income tax rules, it becomes highly important to plan taxes properly and carefully. A small mistake can cost a lot as you can understand.

Not just the pay structure, full focus and attention needs to be given to tax planning.

Those in the marginal area (just above Rs 5 lakh taxable income) should use all the tax deductions available. This is so that such individuals are not taxed more just because they forgot to claim exemptions, or were not aware of how to lower tax dues.

So, try to consult a good financial planner and prepare your tax blue-print for this year and beyond.

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