Choose wisely – Annuity options for retirement

ideal retirement image

The hard-earned retirement corpus secured in accounts such as the NPS, PPF, and/or the EPF is the final nest egg for public or private sector individuals who retire after a few decades of continuous service. While certain central government retirees are eligible for pension and lumpsum fund benefits, almost all the private sector employees are not entitled to a pension from their employers and have to fall back on lumpsum (defined contribution plan) corpuses.

As a result, the post-retirement monthly expenditures of the family, most often, depends on corpus inwards from such accounts. There are two important considerations for such corpus inward for individuals – Safety and return on such corpus since this impacts the amount of derived pension on the same for the rest of the life.

Upon retirement, most individuals rely on traditional plans such as a combination of fixed deposits, Sr Citizen savings Schemes and/or plain vanilla Savings accounts to create cash flows for longer duration and this raises several risks of the safety of corpus, interest rate risk and thereby risk of variability of periodic cash flows and the possibility of hardships during retirement years.

Annuities – Should be the first choice for retirement corpus

Annuities should be the preferred choice for retired individuals; however, this product is not very popular due to lack of awareness, perceived lower rate of returns and liquidity issues. Annuities offer the best hedge against the variability of cash flows, against interest rate risks and consistent cash flows for most of the living life.

Today annuities offer a wide range of choices which were not available 5-10 years ago. Flexibility, market comparable rate of return, and wide range of options are available from over half dozen annuity service providers. Besides this, regulations and oversight of annuity providers make this product extremely safe as compared to other market-linked products.

A quick glance of the variety of options from annuity service providers is summarized as below.

Table 1: Choose the option wisely
Annuity for life Annuity for life with return of purchase price on death Annuity payable for life with 100% annuity payable to spouse on death of annuitant Annuity for life with a provision for 100% of the annuity payable to the spouse of the annuitant for life on death of the annuitant, with return of purchase price on the death of last survivor Annuity payments would be made to the annuitant and his/ her spouse throughout their lifetime. Thereafter, these pay-outs would be made to the subscriber’s mother and after her, to the father. On death of the father, the purchase price would be refunded to the annuitant’s child/ nominee.
Source: NPSTRUST.org.in

 

Which option makes sense?

This depends upon a variety of factor and the retired individual’s objective, dependents, and other personal factors. For instance, for couples with no dependents the easiest choice would be to choose option 1: Annuity for life. Here, they are likely to enjoy higher cash flows or put in lower corpus to enjoy required cash flows. The standard of living could be higher for such couples since this option pays the highest pension as compared with other plans across annuity service providers. Options #2 and #3 might suit retired couple with legal heir (children / grandchildren) where they might want to gift such corpus earned.

Option #4 & #5 could severely impact the current cash flow for the retired individual since the objective is to return the corpus. Unless there is adequate liquidity and other assets these options defeat the very purpose of buying an annuity and therefore can be avoided.

Lessons from the CoVID 19 Lockdown

The CoVID19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown has brought in a humbling experience to many of us, including individuals and/or businesses thought to be foolproof of themselves given their indispensable nature of product or services. Barring food and dailies (groceries) none of the presumed basic services needed to mankind have become affected adversely. Alas, none has been spared. The neighborhood barber/salon or the cobbler who mends shoes right up to liquor barons (barring regulatory risk) and would have thought to be proof from any eventuality have faced different levels of threat during this pandemic. India’s service economy which is almost 2/3rd of the GDP has taken a massive hit. At the business and at individual levels, the lessons the current crisis has have been of very basic nature. On the principles of “risk management” most of the lessons that this crisis offers are rudimentary. A quick look at basic lessons from this crisis.
Cash is King
We need to write this title in large and bold font in our minds and actions. Cash if the blood of any business and a key element of an individual’s personal financial wellbeing. Without enough cash businesses freeze or worse, go bankrupt. Without cash, an individual’s household can face immense hardship and probably make or break the family and household. The current crisis has brought out this basic element of money management to the fore. Many businesses (large and small) and individuals all are strapped for cash during these times, however, people who had planned for crisis level reserve for cash would emerge out of this crisis stronger and would be able to grab opportunities crisis’ bring after they pass. So, what is the lesson from this crisis to us all? Keeping reserve or emergency cash/liquidity, always, is as basic as it should be. For a business, 3-4 months of cash burn should be available to tide over during such unforeseen times, and similarly for individuals, 4-6 months cash for expenses should always be kept at call. People who followed this golden rule will find it easier to tide over the current situation without much hassle.
Health is Wealth
This again is as basic as one can understand. Health is not acquired without effort. To remain healthy – physically and mentally, individuals must put effort into eating good food, resting enough, and working out physically. Similarly, for mental health, individuals require attainment of inner peace, sound conscience, and a positive attitude. All the above is easy to attain if the practice of working towards it is regular and not when the crisis is on the horizon. The second aspect of health is a risk. The first part was risk mitigation by doing many things as explained earlier, the second and the most important part is risk transfer. Despite all the care and work on your health, it could be possible that your health is compromised due to reasons beyond your control; risk transfer helps you to cover health failure without any financial damage. The best form of risk transfer is “health insurance”. And to plan for the same when there is time is again a basic thing to do. Individuals should be prepared to pay a small cost to cover himself/herself and family from any health eventuality. The health risk is real. Recognize and prepare for the same without delay.
Multi-tasking is underrated
The CoVID19 crisis has taught this one thing – one more time. Specialists are overrated and generalists are underrated. The crisis has been easy for generalists. Everyone who depended on a specialist for everything from household chores, outsourcings kitchen (and cooking), and technical staff and many more things, have been rendered faced with a big handicap. People who could easily mold and become a self-service oriented person are having a relatively easier life during this crisis. Multi-tasking on the home front or office front should be the way forward. Cooking, housekeeping, fixing the small things, doing office duties with minimal help and above all ability to learn quickly – technical as well as basic stuff is the key to ever remain relevant. The faster one learns this the better prepared he/she is for the current and future crisis.
Upskilling has no age bar
Why is it that suddenly everyone is rushing to get enrolled for the online course? That is because nobody knows what kind of skills the world would demand, in 2021. People are rushing to upskill/upgrade their knowledge for the fear of being left out once the world re-opens. While that might sound a good thing to do, upskilling and staying relevant is a continuous process. It does not start during the crisis and ends when the world is normal. Leaning a new skill does not have an age bar. To stay productive and relevant an individual must repeatedly upskill and upgrade continuously. This way, the person would be the sought-after individual when the normalcy returns. Corporate / businesses are looking at human talent that is ready and easy to plug/play during difficult times. Upskilling/upgrading requires time and an individual should set the same aside regularly and not just when crisis hits the horizon.

FAQs on EMI Moratorium – Most questions answered

The EMI Holiday package announced by RBI on account of CoVID19 has raised many questions with respect to applicability, coverage, eligibility, and impact.   We answer the basic questions through the FAQs that are put together which cover most of the doubts regarding these. 

  • Is moratorium compulsory or optional; what loans are it applicable to?

The moratorium is optional both for the borrower and the financial institution(lender).  ie The lender can choose to offer this option to its clients. The borrower can also choose to avail of the option if it is offered by the lender from whom the loan is taken.  

This is applicable for all kinds of credit facilities such as retail loans, Home Loans, Business Loans, Cards and Farmer Loans, term loans, and working capital loans of any size and duration and applicable both for individuals and businesses.

  • What is meant by moratorium?

A moratorium is temporary postponement of payment of interest/ principal/installments (and is not a waiver) for the period from Mar 01, 2020, to May 31, 2020. Interest will continue to be payable on all amount(s) for which payment is being postponed pursuant to the Moratorium.

  • For what period can the moratorium be granted?

A moratorium may be granted up to a period of three months for all amounts falling due between Mar 01 and May 31, 2020.

  • Is the moratorium on principal or interest or both?

The moratorium can be offered for below payments due during the moratorium period:

  1. Principal and/or interest component
  2. Bullet repayment
  3. Equated Monthly Instalments ( EMIs)
  4. Credit Card dues
  • Will the interest accrue during the moratorium period?

Yes, lenders will charge interest during the moratorium period as per the relevant terms and conditions of the loan agreement between the lender and borrower/s.   

  • How can you opt for the moratorium?

For most PSU lenders, there is blanket access to the moratorium, and it applies to all loans irrespective of size/category/sector. For private lenders, it would be prudent to get in touch with the respective client relationship manager/branch/phone banking/mobile banking/internet banking etc. and communicate your preference since this is NOT a default option and needs to be availed categorically. Failing which, there is a chance that the deduction of EMI would go through on the scheduled date set.

  • What is the interest charging mechanism for retail term loans such as Home Loans, Personal Loans, Consumer Durable Loans, Two-Wheeler Loans, Auto Loans?

The accrued interest would be added to the principal amount which will increase the residual tenure of the loan except in cases where extension of tenure is not possible in which case the EMI amount will increase. Please refer to the terms and conditions in the loan agreement for further details.

Illustration: Mr Ravi availed of a home mortgage on Mar 01, 2020 amounting to Rs one crore with a loan tenure of 240 months at an interest rate of 7.5%. If Mr. Ravi wants to avail of a moratorium of installment of Rs 89,972 which is due on Apr 01, 2020, then the interest for the month of March amounting to Rs 75,000 will be added to the principal amount and the outstanding principal amount on Apr 01, 2020, will become Rs 10,075,000. The interest will be computed on an outstanding principal. Similarly, the interest for the month of April which is payable on May 01, 2020, of Rs 75,562 will be added to the opening principal on May 01, 2020, which will be Rs 10,150,562. The interest will again be computed on the outstanding principal. In this case Mr Ravi’s tenure will increase from 240 months to 250 months considering the unchanged rate of interest and installment amount during this period.  To reduce this, Mr Ravi can choose to prepay part of the loan when normalcy returns to his cash flows, based on the prepayment clauses in his agreement.

  • How will interest be charged and recovered for SME / MSME / Businesses which use cash credit/ overdraft facilities? 

The accrued interest will be due and payable immediately after the end of the moratorium, and interest keeps accruing for this moratorium period.

  • Will there be late payment charges/ default interest/ additional interest for the deferred installments during the moratorium period?

No late payment charges/ default interest/ additional interest shall be levied during the moratorium period has to be charged during this period as specified by RBI.

  • Can the borrower make payments in between the Moratorium period?

This option to defer payments on loans is a relief granted to borrowers due to disruption caused due to the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19. However, the borrower has the option to continue scheduled payments during this moratorium; or avail of the benefit of the Moratorium.

  • Will the seeking of Moratorium by the borrower have an impact on their credit/bureau score?

The moratorium on payments will not qualify as a default for the purposes of supervisory reporting and reporting to Credit Information Companies (CICs)/credit bureau by the Bank. Hence, there will be no adverse impact on the credit history of the borrowers. This is specifically for this moratorium period only.

  • If the borrowers have enough balance in the accounts and installment is due, will the lender debit the EMI during this period?

Yes, if you have NOT opted in for the moratorium, then the normal EMI dates would apply and the deduction would occur as per the loan schedule.  It may be noted that some banks are offering moratorium as a default, hence, it is advisable to check with the communication from the bank. However, if one has opted for the moratorium, then the EMI would not be deducted even if there is sufficient balance for the EMI. 

  • Does the borrower need to submit any documents for availing this Moratorium? 

For PSU lenders the default option is the borrowers would get this moratorium irrespective of which category he belongs to. For borrowers of private lenders, the borrowers would get instructions from his/her respective lender on what needs to be done. Currently, the paperwork is limited to communicating the choice of option to the lender via – email /phone banking/internet banking or branch banking.

  • Does it make sense to continue to pay the EMIs rather than availing of the moratorium? 

Yes, if there is NO pressing need or shortage of cash flow then it makes sense to continue to pay as per schedule. This way you save on the additional interest that would be charged on the amount outstanding.

  • What happens to payments due and made or defaulted in March 2020 

If the payment has been made during the 1st March 2020 – 31st March 2020 period, then the borrower will effectively get two months of the moratorium period. If there has been a default due to cash flow issues or any other reason, then you would now get protection against any penalty/charges that might be due or have been deducted. And effectively such borrower would get the 3-month moratorium period. 

  • What happens to loans/credit facility started in March or April 2020?

The borrowers of all classes, old and new are eligible to avail of this moratorium; however, different lenders might have different rules, so it might be good to check with your lender on their policy with respect to the same.

  • If the borrower has multiple borrowing facilities within the same lender of different lenders, can he/she get a blanket moratorium? 

The borrower needs to specifically select and mention every facility that he/she has availed from the lender or in case of multiple lenders, then the borrower will need to communicate/opt with all such lenders.

EMI Loan Calculator and Impact Assessment

STOP – Should you use the EMI Holiday?

RBI Announcement for CoVID19; Impact for borrowers 

A 3-month moratorium for borrowers of all kinds.

  • Lending institutions are “permitted” to grant a moratorium on installments between March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020.
  • All banks/lending institutions are covered in this scheme and all types are payments are covered – unsecured / Agri loans/retail/ working capital loans include credit cards.
  • This is ONLY a postponement of EMIs/Interest and NOT waiving of EMIs/interest. 
  • Interest would get accumulated for the period and added to the principal outstanding.  This means you need to pay additional interest during the course of the loan. There is no penal interest or adverse impact on credit rating/score.
  • You can check the applicability and procedures with your financial institution.

While the above decision from the RBI has been a welcome relief to people with temporary cash flow issues faced by many borrowers, this article helps you evaluate whether to avail of the moratorium. 

Who is it meant for?

This is meant primarily for individuals and businesses impacted by the economic fallouts from COVID-19.  The lending institution may need to be satisfied that the deferral is necessitated on account of the fallout from COVID-19.  This would be useful for affected businesses and salaried employees working in Aviation, Retail, F&B, Contracting, Travel/Leisure, and other high adverse impact sectors. However, it is not restricted to any sector.  One can opt for this measure if one would like to create a small buffer to tide over what might be a slightly long draw battle for these sectors to get back to normalcy. Those unaffected need not avail of this option since interest continues to be charged during the moratorium period. This will only extend the tenure of your loan.

Use early repayment if possible

A practical approach for you-

  1. Must Avoid: If your interest rate is very high (eg. Credit Card outstanding), one should avoid availing of the deferral of payment.
  2. Those whose salaries/business cash flows are impacted and are extremely stressed on their finances should avail of this benefit in toto. Take this break to put things in order, rack up some liquidity to tide over the current situation; and work out a plan on how you will service these loans from June 2020. The opportunity is God sent for this category and should be availed.
  3. Those who are tight on their finances and uncertain about their business recovery/ salary impact can also avail of this moratorium period. However, they can do two things
    • First, create a buffer of 2-3 months basis this savings in EMI paid out to help tide over the immediate liquidity situation. 
    • Payback part of the whole of deferred installments post the moratorium period, once favorable clarity emerges on the potential impact on one’s finances. 

Impact assessment for borrowers taking this moratorium over the medium term

If you have a current outstanding of Rs 50 lakh, with 10 years remaining on a home loan with an interest rate of 8.75% and you defer the full 3 months of your EMI, the following is the higher payment you would make on the full tenure of the loan based on when you pay back the deferred EMIs to the lending institution:

When repayment of deferred EMI is made Additional payment on loan(Rs) Closure of loan (months)
At end of the loan                                  263,456                                    123 
Repaid in full in 12 months (with interest) 14,169                                    120 
EMI repaid after 3 months 6,398                                    120 

 

In summary

  1. There would be additional interest on interest (since the amount of interest would be effectively added to your principal outstanding on the date of deferment). If you don’t make any prepayment during the tenure of the loan, the impact is significant.
  2. This would, therefore, mean that you should NOT utilize the total EMI holiday unless your cash flow position during the 3 months is stopped or disrupted.
  3. Do try and repay these installments at the earliest possible date to reduce the interest burden on your loan.
  4. Avoid deferring the payment of your credit card outstanding as the interest rates are high.

Further, Read FAQs on EMI Moratorium – Most questions answered

Your Checklist On Taxes For The Financial Year End!

We are just a few days to go before this financial year (2019-20) comes to a close. Though you have time till July 31st, 2020 to file your income tax returns, there are a number of activities that you need to do by March 31st, 2020 to claim the benefits in this assessment year (AY 2020 – 21). The finance minister came out with a series of extensions in dates till June 30th, 2020; but this is restricted mainly to tax saving investments.   Thus, you may have a bit of a breather on your tax saving investments.  Here is a checklist of items that you should go through to make sure that you have availed all the tax benefits available under different provisions of the Income Tax Act.

 

  • Set off your capital gains for the year with the losses:  If you do have capital gains for the year upto January 2020 when markets were relatively buoyant, you would have a number of stocks or even mutual funds that would be showing losses.  You can book some losses and set off the capital gains. You would want to optimise your capital gains in a difficult year. Do check if you have exit loads on your mutual funds before booking the losses.  This needs to be executed by March 31 for one to avail of the benefit.
  • Section 80C: You can claim deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakhs from your gross taxable income by investing in schemes eligible u/s 80C. These schemes are EPF, VPF, PPF, NSC, tax saver bank FDs, life insurance premiums, mutual fund ELSS etc. Tax payers who are not getting a salaried income and not having PF and other tax saving investments must make sure that they avail maximum benefits. Senior citizens and parents of girl children can claim deductions by investing in Senior Citizens Savings Scheme and Sukanya Samruddhi Yojana subject to the overall Rs 1.5 lakhs 80C limit. Investors paying home loan EMIs can claim deduction for principal payments made during the financial year. Benefit extended till June 30th.
  • Section 80D (Medical insurance): You can claim Rs 25,000 of additional deduction for medical insurance premiums for yourself and your family (seni or citizens can claim up to Rs 50,000). You can claim a further deduction of Rs 25,000 for medical insurance premiums of dependent parents (Rs 30,000 if your parents are senior citizens).  Benefit extended till June 30th.
  • Section 80CCD (NPS): You claim additional Rs 50,000 deduction, over and above Section 80C limit of Rs 1.5 lakhs, by investing in National Pension Scheme. You can claim total deduction of Rs 2 lakhs by investing Rs 1.5 lakhs u/s 80C and Rs 50,000 in NPS. Benefit extended till June 30th.
  • Section 24 (Interest payment on home loan): You can claim up to Rs 2 lakhs deduction for interest payments in your home loan EMI for self-occupied house. If you are paying home loan EMIs for a let out house, the loss is restricted to Rs 2 lakhs in a financial year.
  • Section 80E (Interest payment on higher education loan): If you have taken loan for your, spouse or children’s higher education, then the entire interest payment can be claimed as deduction from your gross taxable income.
  • Section 80G (donations to charities): Donation made to tax exempt charities is allowed to be claimed as deduction at the rate of 50% or 100% (of the contributed amount) depending on the charity and as per approval granted by prescribed income tax authorities.

 

  • Check your surcharge bracket:  You maybe able to claim exemptions/deductions and set off your losses to reduce your net income to below the surcharge brackets (Rs 50 lakh / 1 Cr / 2 Cr / 5 Cr) if your income is on the border.  Plan before March 31st, because only tax saving investments are extended till June 30th.

 

  • Pay Advance Tax by March 31st: Tax payers who have income from other sources (e.g. rent, FD interest, capital gains etc) should make sure that they pay advance tax by March 31st, 2020. If you have worked in two different companies, you are likely to have to pay additional taxes for the year when you consolidate the two form 16s. If do not pay Advance Tax on time, you will have to pay interest @ of 0.75% per month of delayed tax payment (reduced from 1% per month for the period upto June 30th), even if you file your IT returns on time. For example, if your tax obligation over and above tax deducted at source (TDS) on March 31st is Rs 5 lakhs, you will have to pay Rs 16,250 as interest if you are filing your ITR and paying tax on July 31st

Summary

You can save a lot of money in taxes by availing the benefits available under different provisions of Income Tax Act. In this article, we have shared with you a checklist of items that you should review and make sure that you get maximum benefits. In addition to the tax savings avenues shared in this article, there may be other depending on your specific situations. If you need help with your tax planning feel free to email us at contactus@righthorizons.com .

What facts should I consider before Investing in debt funds?


Debt Funds have a whole range of options to choose from FRF to Liquid to Income to GSec

Talk to our certified “Senior financial planning advisors and Investment Advisory ”.

* – Firstly, one needs to decide on the duration. When Interest rates go down, long duration is better whereas when interest rates go up, short duration is better.
* – Secondly, one needs to understand that a credit quality investor tends to go for a high return fund not realizing that they invest in poorer quality bonds.
* – At the current time, when the economy is not in the best shape, it is important to look at credit quality.

Talk to our certified “Senior financial planning advisors and wealth managers”.

Call us +91 98453 99780

Email : contactus@righthorizons.com

Whatsapp : +91 9148096684

Stop Paying Money to Hospitals

Stop paying money to hospitals

Shekar was extremely upset with the hospital bill. He did not know what to do. A small mistake had cost him a lot.

Shekar's son falls sick. Shekar rushes him to the hospital.

His 5 year old son was admitted in the hospital. Doctors had to conduct multiple tests to determine the cause of the illness. After 5 days, his son was discharged from the hospital with a big bill.

Big Bill

X rays, MRIs, medicines, consultation with multiple doctors, GST, recovery cost – the total bill came up to Rs.1,35,000/-

Shekar comes from a lower middle class family and had just paid the fees for both his sons. He had very little money in his bank.

He took loan and paid the bill.

He did not have enough to pay the hospital bill and had to borrow from relatives, take advance loan and pay off the bill. 

One small mistake of not buying health insurance cost him a lot.

BUY INSURANCE

His brother, Ganesh instructed him to “STOP PAYING MONEY TO HOSPITALS”.

He should have bought HEALTH INSURANCE

Ganesh told him that health insurance can ensure a cashless, secure future and a better experience with hospitals. Individual and family coverage can secure their future.

Ganesh recommended Right Horizons Financial Services PVT. Ltd to buy insurance and secure his family’s future.

So instead of Paying Hospital bills, take a wise step and choose the right insurance to focus on future Plans

Right Horizons’ core expertise includes Financial Planning, Mutual Funds, SIP, Insurance, Portfolio Management Services, Estate Planning, Retirement Plans, Child Education, Family Office, etc.,

Kindly visit our website for more details

Health is wealth. Get Insurance.

Call: + 91 9845399780

Visit: https://www.righthorizons.com/insurance-services/

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.

Mutual Funds Better Than FD?

Mahesh is 31 years and works as a lecturer in a top private college. He is well paid and earns Rs 13 Lakhs a year. Mahesh has always invested in FDs and the reason is simple. FDs are safe and offer decent interest. Mahesh stays far away from mutual funds as he believes they invest in stocks making them extremely risky. Is Mahesh Right? Do mutual funds only invest in stocks?

When you say mutual fund, the first thing that come to mind is the equity mutual fund. Mutual funds are not all about stocks. They do invest in fixed income instruments. Let’s take a close look at fixed maturity plans also called FMPs, a type of mutual fund and how they are better than fixed deposits.

FMPs are closed-ended debt funds with a fixed maturity period normally just over 3 years to take advantage of the long term taxation. You can invest in FMPs through a New Fund Offer or NFO. Closed-ended means the FMP has an opening date and a closing date and you must invest within this time. FMPs invest your money in money market instruments like certificates of deposits, commercial paper, corporate bonds, treasury bills among others. They invest in debt instruments and you can check the credit rating before investing.

Mahesh doesn’t like risk in investment. Mahesh asks only this question? Are FMPs safe like FDs? In FDs you already know the maturity value of the invested amount at the time of investment itself, as interest rate is fixed. FMPs offer only indicative yields, but the Yield to Maturity of the portfolio is disclosed regularly. FMPs also invest in safe debt products.  Infact, some of them invest into PSU and Bank deposits/bonds only. You can also choose an FMP with a high credit rating.  Though the NAV is reported daily and may vary in line with movements in interest rates, if you hold to maturity, the returns are largely fixed.

If you want higher returns than FDs and are willing to bear a slightly higher risk, then invest in FMPs. FMPs are low risk investments compared to equity mutual funds. FMPs are listed on the stock exchange, but liquidity may not be available at all times on the exchange and hence are less liquid than FDs.

Mutual Funds vs FDs

When it comes to taxes, FMPs score over FDs, especially if you fall in the highest tax slab. The interest earned in FDs is added to taxable salary and you are taxed as per your tax bracket. Mahesh falls in the 30% tax bracket and FD interest income is taxed at the highest rate or marginal rate of tax.

In FMPs, taxation depends on the type of fund. Choosing the dividend option means you bear the dividend distribution tax, DDT of 28.84%, which is slightly lesser than the marginal rate of tax on FDs. It’s in the growth option of FMPs where tax is saved.

If you quit the FMP before 36 months, gains called short term capital gains are added to taxable income and taxed asper tax bracket. If you stay invested for 3 years or more, gains are called long term capital gains which attract 20% tax with the indexation benefit. Indexation inflates the purchase price of the FMP, saving tax.

If Mahesh invests Rs 10 Lakhs in FDs of 3 year tenure, the interest earned is taxed at the highest tax rate of 30%. If the FD offers 7% interest, this translates to a post-tax yield of 5%, which isn’t much. Lets say Mahesh invests Rs 10 Lakhs in an FMP of same tenure. FMPs can give returns of around 7.25-7.5% a year, though returns aren’t guaranteed. With the indexation benefit, post tax returns are nearly 1.25-1.75% higher than FDs. This makes FMPs a better investment than FDs on a post tax return basis.

Will Mahesh invest in FMPs over FDs for higher returns?  Investing in FDs largely erode your wealth if you consider impact of taxes and inflation. (ie. if you are in the higher tax brackets.)  FMPs are quite safe, especially if you chose a fund that invests in quality debt. FMPs are a smarter option, and may just help you beat inflation on a post tax basis.  That’s a call that Mahesh can take if liquidity is not a requirement for him.