A Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is the best investment option for many investors - especially if you’re a young person, just beginning your investment journey. A SIP is a low-risk move, ideal for those who are in it for the long haul because else, the returns tend to be low. A steady investment of even Rs.500 per month has the potential to generate decent returns in the long run without putting a major dent in your pocket. But like all other investment options, it’s never wise to put in your money unless you’re well informed. Here are some things you must keep in mind when investing in Mutual Funds via SIPs.
- What exactly is a SIP?
A SIP lets you invest small amounts regularly in equities, debts and other kinds of mutual funds. It involves you buying units of any (or many) Mutual Funds of your choosing by investing a minimum of Rs. 500 per month. It is then up to you to redeem your units at any point in time. A SIP is ideal for younger investors since it practically guarantees good returns with a lower risk of capital loss. It bridges the gap between high-risk options like equities and low-risk options which may not produce returns.
- The Power of Compounding
There is a thumb rule talking about investments. The truth is that the longer you keep your money in a fund, the more money is likely to be generated over time. This is where young investors have an edge over older ones. If you’re 40 and want to begin investing in a retirement fund, you’re 18 years behind those who began at 22. The 22-year olds are likely to generate higher returnsprimarily because of the compounding effect. Start as early as possible.
- Be Informed
No investment option is completely risk-free and investing in the wrong fund may end up being a grave error. You can never be too careful with where to put your money. It’s always better to look at the past performance of any mutual fund you decide to put your money into. Of course, this is not possible if it’s a new mutual fund. Try to ensure that the mutual fund you pick has been around for a few years at the very least before investing your money. You don’t want to be risking letting it all go to waste, do you?
Your fundsare distributed into a set of pre-decided companies from numerous sectors. These companies are usually mentioned in the prospectus, and you’re free to check up on them. In the interest of staying informed, it is advisable to check out all the companies mentioned.After all, it’s your money that will help fund its future endeavors, and you have every right to know what it’s being used for. Read up on the companies, the industries and the sectors that your mutual fund is investing in, and analyze whether they are ones you’re comfortable with, or if they’re ones you’d like your money to be invested into.
- Your Own Goals
Don’t just start investing because it’s the “in” thing and everyone around you is doing it. If you really want to gain from your investment, align it with your goals. Whether that goal is to buy your dream car after 10 years or to generate enough capital to start your own business in 15 years, or even go to the vacation you always wanted - your end goal and the money it’ll require should be fixed in your mind as early as possible. Once that’s settled, you can go about looking at what exactly to invest in and how much to put into it every month. For example, if your goal is to buy a car costing ?30 lakhs in 15 years, you can’t invest in something that’ll give you any less than that at the given time.
- Market Risks
Mutual Funds Schemes can be considered low-risk and safe to the extent that they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the fact that companies must have a minimum net worth to be eligible for mutual fund investments. However, fraud is a very real possibility and the less informed can easily be ensnared. Technicalities are everything here, so always read the terms and conditions thoroughly. Only pick a SEBI registered investment adviser.
- Choosing the Right Scheme
Mutual fund selection depends on the kind of an investor you as an individual, are. If your goals are long-term and you can handle risk, you could invest in equity schemes. If you’re more of a moderate investor with a lower of appetite for risk, you should consider investing in large cap or multi-cap mutual funds (that is, large companies or multiple companies) which tend to have lower exposure to risks. This is because such funds are channeled into companies which are comparatively stable. If you’re more aggressive and don’t mind the risk, invest in small cap or mid cap funds instead.
- Choosing the Right Bank and Date
This may not look very significant, but it’s actually pretty important. The general practice is for the plan to directly take money from your bank account monthly (or at whatever regular interval you have fixed). So, the date you fix should be keeping in mind that the account isn’t low on funds when the money is cut. Keep your balance at a minimum of at least the investment amount, and make sure you set the date of investment as one which is placed after you get your income (salary, rental income, etc.).
Be careful not to use an account that you hardly use otherwise, sincethere’s a higher chance of it running into issues of insufficient funds around the time your SIP debit is due.
Get Started Now
Once you’ve understood these essentials of mutual fund investments, it gets fairly easy to take a plunge as an investor and start crafting your investment goals. Get started now. The sooner you do, the more the returns! Remember the power of compounding?
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