Rs 90+ Lakh Anyone? A simple example of Wealth Creation from Indian Equities

Yesterday, I was talking to a young relative of mine about how Sensex had touched 39,000 for the first time and how it had created immense wealth for investors in past years.

But despite being young, this guy was somehow not too convinced about equity’s potential for wealth creation.

So I thought I will try to influence him with some simple data. And once I did that, his mind started working in ways that I liked. Mission accomplished. 😉

I thought of sharing that dataset here.

It’s fairly simple to understand:

Imagine you can invest Rs 1 lac every year. So over a period of 20 years, you would be investing a total Rs 20 lac.

Now, what would be the value of these investments over the years?

I took the Nifty50 returns data of the last 20 years (since 1997-98) and showed the below table to my relative:

Nifty invest 1 lac January

After investing Rs 20 lac over 20 years, the value of investments was about Rs 90 lac. This is when the investments were made in January every year.

A large figure of Rs 90 lac excited this relative of mine. But he had a valid question after that.

Since markets fluctuate, what would have happened if instead of investing in January, he invested in some other months?

So I showed him the data for months of April, July and October. Have a look.

By investing Rs 1 lac in April every year in Nifty50 for the past 20 years, the value of investments would have become Rs 87 lac. Not bad.

Nifty invest 1 lac April

By investing Rs 1 lac in July every year in Nifty50 for the past 20 years, the value of investments would have become Rs 92 lac. Not bad at all.

Nifty invest 1 lac JulyBy investing Rs 1 lac in October every year in Nifty50 for the past 20 years, the value of investments would have become Rs 94 lac. Not bad again.

Nifty invest 1 lac October

Ofcourse the figures differ depending on the months we invest in. But the final figure still is good enough to show how wealth is created over the years when investing in equity.

And just to drive home the point, I also compared this with Rs 1 lac investment in PPF for the last 20 years. Here is what I found:

PPF invest 1 lac every year

By investing Rs 1 lac every year in PPF for the past 20 years, the value of investments would have become approx. Rs 52 lac. Not bad but much lower than what was possible via equity.

(Source: PPF interest rate history)

Please don’t think that I am trying to portray PPF in a bad light. I personally like PPF and feel that PPF is a great debt product.

So if you understand the whole premise of asset allocation and also understand the need to have debt in the investment portfolio, then PPF is a great option. (Try this PPF excel calculator). But ignoring equities just because it can be volatile in short term is not wise.

Equity will go up as well as down. It is in its nature. It’s not a bank FD. But if you stick to it for long, the returns delivered are much higher than debt products.

And that is what I wanted to convince my relative about.

He seems to be convinced now. Whether he takes any action on this new found conviction is another matter.

I also shared with him the idea of investing on a monthly basis via SIP in equity funds if he (like most people) doesn’t have lumpsum amounts to invest. He got inspired by the several SIP success stories that one can easily find.

So if you too feel that someone needs a little push to consider equity for long term investments, then you can use the examples above to convince them.

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Strong Early Returns Vs Strong Late Returns

You already know that the markets don’t go up or down in straight lines. What this means is that if an investor gets an average return of 12% in 10 years, it doesn’t mean that he will get:

12%, 12%, 12%, 12%, 12%, 12%, 12%, 12%, 12%, 12%

It instead means that he will get something like this:

-5%, 22%, 4%, 13%, -17%, 57%, 10%, 19%, -12%, 29%

Or let’s put it this way:

Average Vs Actual Returns in Stock Markets

Related to the actual sequence of return an investor gets in real life, I came across an interesting post that talks about how the end-portfolio size differs depending on whether the investor gets strong early returns vs strong late returns.

What is the difference you may ask…

This simply means that in one case, you get good returns in early years while in other, you get good returns in later years.

Does it matter?

Yes indeed… as you will see soon in the remainder of this post.

Let’s consider a simple example.

Suppose you are 30-year old planning to save for retirement at 60.

You have decided to invest Rs 20,000 per month or let’s say Rs 2.4 lakh every year for the next 30 years.

Now consider 2 different cases:

  • Good Later Years – You earn 7% every year in the first 15 years and 14% every year during the next 15 years, on your investments.
  • Good Early Years – You earn 14% every year in the first 15 years and 7% every year during the next 15 years, on your investments.

What will be the value of your portfolio after 30 years in either case?

  • Rs 5.81 crore after 30 years (for sequence 7% followed by 14%)
  • Rs 3.95 crore after 30 years (for sequence 14% followed by 7%)

That’s a large difference of about Rs 1.86 crore!

And that too for the same ‘average return’ during the 30 year period. Isn’t it?

Many of you may have guessed the reason.

It is because of the Sequence of Returns you get. That is, the order of annual returns that your portfolio is subjected to.

Strong early vs Strong Late returns

In the first case (where portfolio grows to a larger Rs 5.81 crore), you get strong late returns – due to which, a bigger corpus earns better returns (14%) in the later years. Whereas in the second case (where portfolio grows to a comparatively smaller Rs 3.95 crore), you get strong early returns – due to which, a smaller corpus earns better returns (14%) early on while the bigger corpus earns lower returns (7%) in later years.

And how do these two cases compare with the actual average return (10.5%)?

Here is how different the 3 scenarios end up looking, even though all have the same exact average returns:

Strong early vs Strong Late vs Average returns

And this is exactly what I wanted to highlight.

The sequence of returns that investor gets has a big impact on the final overall portfolio size.

You may be hoping to get a portfolio size based on your average return assumption. But the actual size may vary even though average returns are same, due to a different sequence of returns your portfolio undergoes. Averages and Actual differ (River Depth example).

And let’s take this a step further.

Let’s see how the actual investment in Sensex in the last 20 years fared when compared to the reverse sequence of returns.

In this scenario analysis, Rs 2.4 lakh (or Rs 20,000 per month) is invested in Sensex every year during the last 20 years. The sequence of returns that are given in the second column in the image below are the actual Sensex returns in the last 20 years. The value of portfolio changes as depicted by the green line in graph below. Also, a portfolio that runs on the basis of the reverse Sensex returns (the returns have been reversed in the third column) is shown as the blue line in the graph. 

Sensex last 20 years actual vs reverse returns

As you can see, depending on the different sequence of returns considered (one real other reversed), the portfolio value varies every year and also, the final values are different.

So the sequence of returns does matter a lot.

All said and done, can anything be done for this?

To be honest, it’s difficult.

You don’t get to decide what sequence of market returns you get in future.

I repeat.

You don’t get to decide what sequence of market returns you get in future.

This simply but unfortunately means that we have no control over the sequence of returns in the markets.

It is possible that some of you may get better markets early in your investing career and worse ones later. Or if powers above favour you, then you may have not-so-great market returns during initial years but super returns in later ones. This is the very reason why young investors should pray for bad markets in initial years. It may be painful and may not be for everyone, but it’s a wonderful thing for real long-term investors.

But even though we cannot control the sequence of returns, we can manage the risk to some extent.

At times, using market valuations as an indicator can help you estimate the possibility of a weak or a strong market in the coming years and rebalance your portfolio accordingly. By doing this, only a part of the portfolio may be exposed to market returns when required tactically.

This is not exactly a perfect strategy but works often as is proven by this detailed analysis of Market Valuations Vs Future Returns.

So to more practically manage the Sequence of Return Risk, you should be slightly conservative in your return expectations. It’s better to have lower return expectations and save more than having higher return expectations and saving less but getting shocked later on when it is already late to do anything.

Tax Saving on Health Insurance (Section 80D) – Detailed Guide for FY 2018-19 AY 2019-20

Health insurance is like an umbrella – something that you don’t need every day; but once in a while when it rains, it really saves the day for you. On all other days, you won’t miss it. But when it rains and if you don’t have it, you will feel its need.

A good health insurance policy helps to protect your financial savings and makes you better prepared for medical emergencies and expenses.

And besides the obvious medical coverage, health insurance plans also provide tax benefits to you.

Luckily, under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, you get tax benefits for expenses towards health insurance premiums, preventive health checkup and other medical expenses.

Since most of you will not be hospitalized ever (I hope so!), you would be more interested in the tax benefits on the medical insurance premiums. And yes, indeed the premium paid towards health insurance is tax deductible under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Let’s move on and understand the tax benefits on health insurance in a bit more detail.

What is Section 80D that gives Tax Benefits on Health & Medical Insurance?

Even if tax benefits weren’t there, even then buying health insurance is a sensible decision.

Why would you want to pay big hospital bills when you can buy medical insurance by paying a small premium to cover that risk.

Imagine not buying health insurance and saving Rs 10,000 for 3-4 years and then getting hospitalized with a big bill of Rs 5 lakh. All small savings you made by ‘not buying’ health insurance is screwed up with a medical bill several times larger.

Unfortunately, most Indians still don’t see it like that.

They feel its an unnecessary expense and waste of money. Luckily, our governments have offered additional freebies in form of tax benefits to push people to buy health insurance.

And this benefit is offered via the Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which relates to the tax deductions on medical insurance.

Section 80D specifically provides deduction in taxable income to the extent of the premiums paid on the purchase of health insurance or medical insurance or mediclaim products.

It even includes the premiums paid for the health insurance of your parents, children and spouse (wife/ husband).

And it doesn’t matter whether you purchase health insurance through a person or go for an online health insurance cover which are gaining popularity these days. You will get tax benefits in either case.

Also, the tax benefits under Section 80D are over and above the benefits under other sections like Section 80C.

Who is eligible for Tax Benefits under Section 80D?

If you are paying premiums for health or medical insurance purchased for the following, you will get tax benefits under section 80D:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse
  • Dependent children
  • Parents

What about other family members?

Like, let’s say your brothers, sisters, father-in-law, mother-in-law, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.?

Health insurance premium paid for any other person is not eligible for tax deduction. But you can ofcourse include other family members in the health insurance coverage if you wish to. It is just that the premium paid for them cannot be considered for tax benefits.

Maximum Deduction Limit under Section 80D for FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20)

There are several different types of deductions that you can be claimed for tax benefits under Section 80D:

  • Tax deduction on health insurance premiums paid for yourself, spouse & children
  • Tax deduction on health insurance premiums paid for parents
  • Tax deduction on medical expenses of super senior citizens
  • Tax deduction on preventive health check-up expenses

Let’s have a look at each of these in detail:

Tax Deduction on Health Insurance Premiums Paid for Self, Spouse & Children (Family):

  • If you pay the premium for health insurance taken for you, spouse and children, then you can claim a total deduction of up to Rs 25,000 for FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20).
  • If you or spouse is a senior citizen, then you can claim a higher total deduction of up to Rs 50,000 for FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20). This limit for senior citizen was revised upwards in the past years. Earlier (in FY 2017-18 AY 2018-19), if you or spouse were a senior citizen, then the maximum deduction that could be claimed was up to Rs 30,000. This has now been revised to Rs 50,000.

In addition to the above deduction, you can also get tax deductions for premiums paid for parents.

Tax Deduction on Health Insurance Premium Paid for Parents: 

If you pay the premium for medical or health insurance of your parents’, then you can claim deductions as follows:

  • If both parents are not senior citizens (< 60 years), then you can claim a deduction of up to Rs 25,000 for FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20)
  • If even one parent is a senior citizen (>=60 years), then you can claim a deduction of up to Rs 50,000 for FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20). This limit for senior citizen was revised in the past year. Earlier (in FY 2017-18 AY 2018-19), if your parents were senior citizens, then the maximum deduction that could be claimed was up to Rs 30,000. This has now been revised to Rs 50,000.

It is worth noting that while claiming deductions under Section 80D, you cannot include premiums paid for children who are earning. But you can still claim the benefit for earning spouse and parents.

Tax Deduction on Preventive Health Checkup Expenses:

If you spend money on getting health checkups done during the financial year, then you can also claim a deduction of up to Rs 5000 for preventive health checkup for self, spouse and children under Section 80D.

But this is not an additional benefit but is inclusive within the overall limits discussed above. That is, the total tax benefit for health insurance premium and preventive health checkup is limited to Rs 25,000 (or Rs 50,000), as the case may be. Remember that the limit of Rs 5000 is the maximum total deduction allowed for preventive health check-ups.

Also, this deduction cannot be claimed on a per person basis but as an aggregate option available – so the total deduction allowed cannot be more than Rs 5000.

For example – Suppose you pay a health insurance premium of Rs 21,000 for self, wife and children. In addition, you also get yourself a preventive health checkup that costs Rs 6000. Now, how much tax deduction are you eligible for? You are allowed a maximum deduction of Rs 25,000 under Section 80D. So you get a deduction of Rs 21,000 towards insurance premiums paid; and Rs 4000 for expenses towards preventive health check-up. The deduction towards preventive health check-up has been restricted to Rs 4000 (against your actual expense of Rs 6000) as the overall deduction cannot exceed Rs 25,000 in this case (i.e. Rs 21,000 + Rs 4000).

Side Note – As you cross 35-40, it actually makes sense to get yourself evaluated medically atleast once a year so that any condition/disease in its early stages can be better handled and addressed appropriately. So this tax deduction on preventive health check-up expenses under section 80D also has positive health side effects!

Tax Deduction on Medical Expenses for Uninsured Senior Citizens (>= 60 years) (Section 80D) – You or Parents

If you or any of your parents are a senior citizen, i.e. above 60 years, and have not purchased any health or medical insurance, then you can avail a deduction for any medical expenditure incurred up to Rs 50,000 in FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20).

Remember, to claim this deduction for actual medical expense, the concerned person must be a senior citizen (you, spouse or parents) and also uninsured (i.e. no premium should have been paid for any health insurance).

Before FY2018-19 and till FY2017-18, this rule was applicable for uninsured ‘very senior’ citizen (above 80 years) and the limit was set at Rs 30,000 per financial year. Now, this benefit is available to younger(!) senior citizens (who are above 60 years) too.

So let me summarize the Income Tax deduction of Health Insurance Premiums in India.

Tax Deductions under Section 80D for Health Insurance (Financial Year 2018-19 or Assessment Year 2019-20)

The table below lists the tax deduction limits applicable to health insurance premiums (for the financial year 2018-2019 or assessment year 2019-2020):

Health Insurance tax benefits Sec 80D 2019 2020

So what will be combined limits on tax deductions for a family with self, spouse, children and parents?

  • If you, spouse, children and parents are all below 60 years of age, then the total limit is Rs 25,000 + Rs 25,000 = Rs 50,000 under Section 80D
  • If you, spouse, children are below 60 years; and if even one of your parents is above 60 years of age, then the total limit is Rs 25,000 + Rs 50,000 = Rs 75,000 under Section 80D
  • If any of you or spouse is above age 60; and if even one of your parents is also above 60 years of age, then the total limit is Rs 50,000 + Rs 50,000 = Rs 1,00,000 Rs 1 lakh under Section 80D

But please do remember that these are maximum limits specified under Section 80D. If the actual premium paid is less than the limits, then the benefit will be limited to the actual premiums paid only.

To further aid the understanding, allow me to share a few examples.

Examples of Medical Insurance Premiums & Section 80D Tax Benefits

Case 1: You (28), Spouse (27), Child (2), Father (58), Mother (56)

You are eligible for Rs 25,000 towards health insurance premium and checkup for self, spouse and child. In addition, you are also eligible for Rs 25,000 towards health insurance premium and checkup for parents. Since no one in the family has attained 60 years of age, the total deduction eligible under Section 80D is Rs 50,000 for the financial year.

Case 2: You (31), Spouse (29), Child (4), Father (63), Mother (58)

You are eligible for Rs 25,000 towards health insurance premium and checkup for self, spouse and child. In addition, you are also eligible for Rs 50,000 towards health insurance premium and checkup for parents (as one of the parent is above 60). Since one of the parents has attained the age of 60, the total deduction eligible under Section 80D is Rs 75,000 for the financial year.

Case 3: You (61), Spouse (55), Father (82), Mother (79)

You are eligible for Rs 50,000 towards health insurance premium and checkup for self and spouse as you are in senior citizen category yourself. In addition, you are also eligible for Rs 50,000 towards health insurance premium and checkup for parents (as one or both the parent are above 60). Since both you and your parents have crossed the age of 60, the total deduction eligible under Section 80D is Rs 1,00,000 or Rs 1 lakh for the financial year.

Sample Calculation of Tax Deductions under Section 80D

Suppose you are aged 38, your wife is 35, son is 8 and daughter is 5 years old.

You have taken a health insurance plan for all for of you that has an annual premium of Rs 23,000. In addition, you had to pay Rs 8000 for preventive health checkup during the financial year.

In addition, your parents aged 66 and 59 are also dependent on you. For insuring their health, you have taken a health cover for them separately for which the premium is Rs 57,000.

So what all tax deductions can be claimed by you for the financial year under Section 80D?

  • For Self (+ spouse + children) – All of you are under the age of 60. You are eligible for Rs 25,000 towards health insurance premium and checkup for self, spouse and child. Since the premium + health checkup costs exceed the limit (Rs 23,000 + Rs 8000 = Rs 31,000), the benefit available will be limited to Rs 25,000 only.
  • For Parents – One of the parents is above 60 and hence, senior citizen. Since you are paying medical insurance premium for them, you are eligible for Rs 50,000 towards health insurance premium. Since the premium exceeds the limit (Rs 57,000), the benefit available will be limited to Rs 50,000 only.
  • Therefore, the total deduction available in this case will be Rs 25,000 + Rs 50,000 = Rs 75,000 only.

I hope this fully explains everything there is about the tax savings that you can do with your health insurance under Section 80D.

So let’s move on…

Tax benefit on Multi-year Health Insurance policy under Section 80D

Many people pay health insurance premiums for several years in one go as there are discounts on offer for multi-year health insurance policies.

If that’s the case, then the tax deduction is allowed proportionately over the years for which the benefit of health insurance is available, subject obviously to the overall limit for each financial year).

So let’s say you are 35 years old (i.e. less than 60 years) and your health insurance policy for 1 year has a premium of Rs 15,000 and that for 2 years us Rs 27,000.

So if you go for the 2-year health insurance plan and pay the premium for two years in one financial year itself, then what will be the tax deductions eligible?

Since current rules state that an individual is allowed to claim a deduction of up to Rs 25,000 in a financial year, you will be allowed to claim the total premium paid, but proportionately, over the 2-year period. This means that you will get a tax deduction of Rs 13,500 each (Rs 27,000 divided by 2) in both the financial years.

More things to know about Section 80D tax benefits

  • It is not necessary to claim deduction using just one policy. You can claim deductions under multiple policies subject to overall limits of Rs 25,000 or Rs 50,000 as explained earlier.
  • The group health insurance premium paid by your employer is not eligible for deduction under Section 80D. However, if you pay an additional premium to increase the coverage of the existing group cover, then you can claim the deduction against this additional contribution.
  • The premiums paid for Critical Illness policies are also eligible for tax benefits under Section 80D.
  • The premiums paid for Top-Up or Super Top-Up health insurance plans are also eligible for tax benefits under Section 80D.
  • The premiums of term life insurance plans are not included in Section 80D. But in any case, term insurance premiums are eligible for tax benefits under Section 80C instead. (Related: How much life insurance to buy?)
  • If you have taken a Critical Illness rider as part of the life insurance policy, then the premium paid for the specific rider is eligible for tax deduction under Section 80D.
  • Whether you are paying a health insurance premium for the first time or you are paying the renewal premium for continuing your existing health insurance, you can claim deductions in either case.
  • As mentioned earlier, you cannot get benefits on health premiums paid for your brother or sister. You can also not claim benefits for premiums of your father-in-law and mother-in-law. But your spouse, if paying the premiums from her own taxable income, then the benefits can be claimed by your spouse.

A lot of people get confused between Section 80D and very popular Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Let’s briefly see what is the major difference between the two.

Difference between Section 80D and Section 80C

Section 80C of the Income Tax Act provides deductions of up to Rs 1.5 lakh per year on money spent on various options like life insurance premiums, EPF (& VPF) contributions, PPF savings, NPS, NSC, tax saving ELSS mutual funds, school fee of children, home loan repayment, etc.

(Read more here on how to save tax using Section 80C.)

On the other hand, Section 80D is, in addition, to limit of Section 80C and is meant exclusively for health insurance premiums paid and preventive health checkup, etc. The tax benefit available under Section 80D varies from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh subject to certain conditions.

I am sure that by now, you would have a clear idea about how to save taxes using health insurance in India.

But let me remind you that whether you get tax benefits or not, health insurance is extremely important.

It’s a must-have for everyone!

Why would anyone want to be penny-wise-pound-foolish and try their lucks? The medical costs are rising and just one visit to a hospital and hospital bill can set you back by a lot of money which will be much higher than the money you can save by avoiding health insurance.

If you are unlucky and end up in a hospital without health insurance, it can erode your hard-earned savings and plunge you in a financial crisis. So do not test your luck for saving just a few thousands.

Luckily in India, you are getting tax benefits on the health insurance premiums you pay.

So you have an added incentive there. You can maximize your tax savings by using health insurance for yourself, family and parents by paying the premiums.

The Section 80D of the Income Tax Act offers one of the best tax-saving benefits in India of up to Rs 1 lakh deduction specifically for premiums paid on the purchase of health insurance or medical insurance or mediclaim products. Do not ignore this tax benefit for your own good.

State of Indian Stock Markets – February 2019

This is the February 2018 update for the State of Indian Stock Markets and includes historical analysis and Heat Maps of Nifty50 as well as Nifty500‘s key ratios, namely P/E, P/BV ratios and Dividend Yield.

Please remember that these numbers are averages of P/E, P/BV and Dividend Yield in each month. Neither Nifty50 heat maps nor Nifty500 heat maps show the maximum or the minimum values for each month. Also, note that NSE publishes PE ratios based on standalone numbers and not consolidated numbers (Read why this may matter too).

Caution – Never make any investment decision based on just one or two ‘average’ indicators (Why?) At most, treat these heat maps as broad indicators of market sentiments and a reference of market’s historical mood swings.

So here are the Nifty 50 Heat Maps…

Historical P/E Ratios – Nifty 50 (Monthly Average)

 

Historical Nifty PE 2019 February

P/E Ratio (on the last day of February 2019): 26.32 P/E Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 26.26

The 12-month trend of P/E has been as follows:

 

Nifty 12 Month PE Trend February 2019 And here are the average figures of Nifty50’s PE for some recent periods:

Nifty Average PE Trends February 2019

 

Historical P/BV Ratios – Nifty 50

 

Historical Nifty Book Value 2019 February

P/BV Ratio (on the last day of February 2019): 3.41 P/BV Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 3.37

Historical Dividend Yield – Nifty 50

 

Historical Nifty Dividend Yield 2019 February

Dividend Yield (on the last day of February 2019): 1.25% Dividend Yield (on the last day of January 2019): 1.25%

Now, to the historical analysis of Nifty500 companies…

As the name suggests, Nifty500 is made up of top 500 companies which represent about 95% of the free float market capitalization of the stocks listed on NSE (March 2017).

Nifty50 on other hand is an index of 50 of the largest and most frequently traded stocks on NSE. These represent about 63% of the free float market capitalization of the NSE listed stocks (March 2017).

So obviously, Nifty500 is comparatively a much broader index than Nifty50.

Historical P/E Ratios – Nifty 500

 

Historical Nifty 500 PE 2019 February

P/E Ratio (on the last day of February 2019): 29.23 P/E Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 29.13

Historical P/BV Ratios – Nifty 500

 

Historical Nifty 500 Book Value 2019 February

P/BV Ratio (on the last day of February 2019): 3.17 P/BV Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 3.15

Historical Dividend Yield – Nifty 500

 

Historical Nifty 500 Dividend Yield 2019 February

Dividend Yield (on last day of February 2019): 1.17% Dividend Yield (on last day of January 2019): 1.16%

You can read the previous update here. The State of Markets section has also been updated with new Nifty heat maps (link).

For a detailed analysis of how much return you can expect depending on when the investments have been made (at various P/E, P/BV and Dividend Yield levels), please have a look at these 3 posts:

Real Cost of Free Financial Advice

Most Indians believe that financial advice should either be free or in most cases, is not needed at all!

In fact, it’s quite common to come across people who will tell you (if asked) that:

  • Why should I take financial advice from anyone? I already know it and isn’t that difficult.
  • My father (or other relatives) does this and that. They can’t be wrong.
  • And even if I do have to take advice from someone else, why should I pay for it? It is available freely.

Sometime back, I wrote an article for MoneyControl on this topic. If you wish to understand why Free Advice can be dangerous (and so can be not taking financial advice), then please do read the article by clicking the link below:

[Click to read] – Real Cost of FREE Financial Advice

Hope you find the article useful.

You may also like to read why taking Financial Advice from Banks is harmful.

SIP Vs Lump sum – Which is better in Mutual Funds Investing?

I don’t like such questions.

Is it better to invest lump sum or monthly SIP in mutual funds?

A lot of people ask me such questions – whether SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) is better than lump sum investing in mutual funds in India? Or whether lumpsum investing is better than mutual fund SIP?

Why I don’t like these questions (are SIPs better than lumpsum investments?) is because as usual, there is no one right answer here.

There are shades of grey and it isn’t exactly an ideal comparison.

People want to simply compare SIP vs one time investment in mutual funds or just want to find out which are top mutual funds for SIP in 2019 or best mutual funds for lump sum investment in 2019 and what not. But there are no perfect answers or ready lists that predict anything.

And let’s look at it from a common-sense perspective.

Before even getting into lump sum vs monthly investment debate, the decision to invest in lump sum or SIP depends on whether one actually has enough investible surplus that can be called as lumpsum!

Right?

If one doesn’t even have this ‘lump sum’ then this question of SIP or lump sum in itself is meaningless. It’s only when this ‘lumpsum’ is actually available that the question holds any relevance.

And once the lump sum is there, the next question should be whether investing in one go is better or whether it’s wiser to spread that lump sum over a short period of time, as there can be several best ways to invest a large sum of money in mutual funds. Just because the lump sum is available doesn’t mean that the money should be invested in one go. There are can various other tactics to deploy it more efficiently.

But nevertheless, there are those who prefer SIP (and have SIP success stories to tell) and there are those who prefer lump sum investing.

And to be honest, both methods work in different set of circumstances.

Let’s try to do this comparison as objectively as possible.

SIP vs Lumpsum in Rising (Bull) Markets

In a rising market, your lumpsum investments in mutual funds will produce higher returns than SIPs. That’s because the cost of purchase in a lumpsum investment in a rising market would always be lower than the average cost of purchase in SIP, which is spread out across higher and higher purchase prices for each SIP installment.

Let’s take a very simple hypothetical example to show this.

Suppose one investor invests Rs 5000 per month in a rising market for 12 months. While the other invests Rs 60,000 as lumpsum at the start itself. Both invest in mutual funds a total of Rs 60,000. Here is how it pans out over the next 12 months:

As can be seen above, the average cost (average NAV) for the SIP investor in a rising market is higher. And hence, the future hypothetical profit when sold later, will be lower for the SIP than that of the lumpsum investor.

Now let’s look at a falling market scenario.

SIP vs Lumpsum in Falling (Bear) Markets

In a falling market, the SIP investing would result in comparatively lower losses than that in lump sum. And that is because the cost of purchase in a lumpsum investment in a falling market would always be higher than the average cost of purchase in SIP.

Here is how it looks:

As can be seen, the average cost for the SIP investor in a falling market is lower. And hence, the future hypothetical profit when sold later, will be higher for the SIP investor than it is for the lumpsum investor.

So basically what is happening is that if the market grows continuously, then lump sum investing gives higher returns whereas if it falls continuously, then SIP investing is better (lesser losses than that of lumpsum investing in such scenario).

Ofcourse in practice, the markets neither go up nor go down continuously for very long. So the actual reality may be somewhere in between the two above discussed scenarios of sip vs one time investment in mutual funds.

In some cases, SIP may give better returns than lumpsum investing. While in other cases, lumpsum will give better return than SIP investing. And in many other cases, the result of both will be pretty similar.

It all depends on the future sequence of returns that the investor gets. If you want to know how much wealth your SIP will create, try using this SIP maturity value calculator.

But let me circle back to the original point I made – whether you invest lumpsum or otherwise first depends on whether you have a lumpsum or not.

Right?

And if you have, then obviously it would be wiser to just invest lumpsum when the market is low. Remember Buy-low-sell-high?

But problem is that you will never know when the market is really low. You can be wrong about your assessment and enter at precisely wrong times.

And that said, what about our ‘real’ nature and how we behave?

Most investors are unable to use common sense when their portfolios are down.

We know that the best returns come after markets have crashed.

But very few people have the guts to go out and invest more money (assuming they have more). Fear plays a major role in investing and unfortunately, you can neither back-test emotions nor fear. And you will only know in hindsight whether is it best time to invest in mutual funds or not.

Imagine investing lumpsum in December 2007 when markets were peaking and then helplessly witnessing the fall down till March 2009. On the other hand, if you invested a lump sum in March 2009 instead (at the bottom), you would have been called the next Warren Buffett!

Both are extreme examples but show how lumpsum investors potentially expose their portfolios to the vagaries of the market. There is always the risk of being completely wrong and mistiming. And that is the problem. To be fair, one can also get the timing right and if willing to spend sleepless nights in the short term, can go on to make much higher returns than usual in medium to longer term. But that’s how the dynamics of lumpsum investments are.

Due to their structural nature, SIPs reduce this risk of being completely wrong as the investments are spread out. So asking whether is this the right time to invest in SIP is immaterial as SIP spreads out your investments. Ofcourse your returns will depend on how the markets play out during the spreading-out period. But that is how it is.

For small investors, SIP is also suitable from their cashflow perspective. They rarely have access to large lumpsum that is ‘surplus enough’ to be available for long term investing.

By putting away small amounts periodically, there isn’t a large pressure on their resources and no doubt is convenient. This is the reason that for small investors, SIP is their best bet even if not a perfect strategy.

Remember that SIP is a tool to optimize returns and match your investment needs to your cashflows. It is not a magician’s magic to generate superior returns to lumpsum investing. Read that again.

And it is for this reason that SIP is better suited when investing for long term goals like retirement planning, children’s future planning, etc.

One can use the SIP investing to slowly build up a large corpus over the years without straining the finances in present or worrying about timing the markets perfectly. You can try to use this sort of yearly SIP calculator to understand how much money you need to save for various financial goals.

I know that many of you are more focused on saving taxes.

And one popular way to save taxes these days is to go for best tax saving ELSS funds vs PPF. But there also, people tend to get confused whether to go for SIP or lump sum for ELSS when investing in top ELSS mutual funds. Nevertheless, the logic that we have been discussing till now remains the same irrespective of whether it’s an ELSS fund or a normal mutual fund.

Now let’s take a step further…

What if you have a lump sum that can be invested. Should you go ahead and invest it in one go or do something else?

Should you Invest Lump Sum In One Shot Or Systematically & Gradually?

A smart investor would recognize the market bottoming out and invest in one go. But we all aren’t smart. So if you aren’t sure if it’s the right time to invest in one go, you can even deploy your lump sum gradually.

There is no one single answer to which is the best method to invest a lump sum in mutual funds?

So depending on the market conditions, investor’s investment horizon and risk (and volatility) appetite, a deployment strategy may have to be worked out. This strategy may either aim for lowering risk or maximizing returns or a combination of the two.

One way is to put lump sum investment in debt mutual fund and gradually deploy the money using STP or Systematic Transfer Plan into an equity fund.

Different investor needs would demand different lumpsum deployment strategies.

Also, it’s important to invest in the right funds and build a solid mutual fund portfolio.

Even after the recent SEBI’s mutual fund cleanup exercise, there are still several categories and hundreds of funds out there.

Being a small investor, it can be daunting to find out which are the best SIP plans that can be considered for long term investments. Or for that matter to find out which are the best mutual funds for lumpsum investment or the best tax saving mutual funds in India or whether to do ELSS SIP or lump sum.

If you don’t know how to find good funds or need help with planning your investments, do get in touch with a capable advisor to help you. It is worth it.

Finally…

I am sorry if you did not find the one specific answer to your question of SIP or Lumpsum which is better for investing.

A direct comparison between SIP and lumpsum investing is neither fair nor accurately possible. And unless we know everything about the investor in question, one cannot say confidently which is better suited for whom.

You may feel that there is a secret to find the best time to invest in mutual funds India but there is no secret. Different investors need to follow different investment strategies for SIP and lump sum investing. And ofcourse an awareness of market conditions and how market history plays out is absolutely necessary. You can’t be blind to that.

All said and done, SIP is a comparatively safer option but we cannot deny that at times, lump sum investing will provide better returns if done correctly.

Which is better SIP or lump sum investment in top best mutual funds in 2019?

This may sound repetitive but the truth is the superiority of SIP over lump sum or of lumpsum investments over SIP varies under different conditions.

Is SIP better than one time investment? Or lump sum is better than SIP? Systematic Investment Plan vs Lump sum Investment? It is all a matter of probability and what is the sequence of returns that comes in future and how investor behaves during the period in consideration. That’s all there is to it.

Insurance requirements change with Age & Tax Benefits on Life Insurance

You already know why life insurance is important. Atleast for common people like us who still aren’t rich enough to ignore it. After all, being underinsured and dying can be tragic for the dependents.

But one of the major problems that many insurance buyers face is finding out how much life insurance to buy.

There is a simple and methodical way to easily calculate how much life insurance to buy. But most people aren’t interested in putting in the required effort. They want easier answers. They just want someone to come and tell them what to do.

If that wasn’t enough, there are tons of insurance products ranging from term plans, endowment plans, moneyback plans, Ulips and what not. So people don’t know how to actually choose the right insurance product. Among the various options to save taxes, life insurance is also one of the most popular tax saving investments options in India. But still people don’t see insurance in the right perspective.

So let’s try to change the perspective a bit – let’s see how people’s life insurance requirements change with age.

This approach will hopefully provide a different and more relatable perspective on how to decide what the right life insurance cover is.

And no, picking a random figure like Rs 1 crore life insurance is not the right way to buy life insurance. J

So let’s move on… and begin when our hypothetical insurance buyer is a young man beginning his career.

Aged 20 to 25 – Unmarried

Assuming parents aren’t financially dependent on him, there aren’t any financial liabilities or responsibilities as such on the person. It’s possible that there might be an education loan. Insurance is needed only if there is a loan or possibility of parents becoming financially dependent in near future.

How much life insurance is needed?

Buying a small insurance plan (even if it isn’t needed immediately) can be a good idea as the premiums at a young age are very low. If the income is good enough, taking a larger cover is fine too as sooner or later (after marriage), responsibilities will increase and there would be a need to increase the cover anyhow.

Aged 25 to 30 – Married

Since the person is now married, there is a need to protect spouse’s financial interests. And if still not bought, this is the right and urgent time to take life insurance. The dependency logic of parents discussed above still stands. If a car or a home loan are also there, then that should also be accounted for when purchasing insurance.

How much life insurance is needed?

A term plan of up to atleast 10-15 times of annual income + outstanding loans might be a good idea if spouse working too. Being somewhat over-insured at this stage is fine too.

Aged 30 to mid 40s – Married with Kids

Life moves on and now with spouse and kids, there is a real need to protect their financial futures. An insurance cover should be such that it takes care of outstanding loans, regular expenses of the family for atleast 15-20 years, children’s higher education costs, etc. If there is an existing life cover, then it should be topped up or additional life insurance policy should be purchased. 

How much life insurance is needed?

No shortcuts here. To correctly find out how much life cover is needed now, best to do it methodically using the method discussed here.

Aged late 40s to mid 50s: Earning Well + Kids in college

By now, the asset base would have grown substantially. Children would also be more or less on their way to become independent in a few years. Depending on how much existing savings are, it’s possible that there may not even be a need for insurance coverage as the existing assets will be more than sufficient to take care of just one risk – regular expenses of spouse in case of death of the insured person.

But since the insurance premiums won’t be too large when compared to the then income, it might make sense to continue with the existing cover for some more time. If there are any loans, then atleast that amount should be covered. It might also be a good idea to include a buffer amount for future medical expenses (for spouse) in insurance calculations too.

Aged 60 & Beyond

Mostly, the insurance need would not be there as the savings corpus would be much larger than what might be required to fund regular family (spouse’s) expenses in remaining years. Children it is assumed will be independent and not require any financial security.

So ideally, life insurance won’t be required anymore unless there is a need to leave a legacy behind.

As you can see, the life insurance needs of a person vary across different life stages.

Initially, it increases with increase in responsibilities and liabilities. But then eventually, it goes down and reaches a stage where it is not required at all.

Mostly, life insurance is not needed much beyond retirement. This is assuming enough money is saved up.

To summarize, the insurance amount should be big enough, at any given moment, to take care of the present and future financial needs of the dependents. That ways, a big insurance claim would help sort out the financial life of the dependents.

And since it’s possible to purchase a large life insurance cover at a very low premium using term plans, it also makes sense to purchase a large cover (even if it doesn’t seem to be required) early on as premiums would be low. Ofcourse there is the angle of insurance premium affordability. But if income is decent, taking a slightly larger cover is fine too.

Now there are several types of insurance products – or let’s say financial products that provide various levels of insurances. For example – term plans, endowment plans, moneyback plans, Ulips, etc.

And once you have decided the right life insurance cover amount, you have to choose a product that provides insurance. When it comes to high coverage and low premium, nothing beats a term plan. But still, a lot of people feel that they are better served by traditional insurance plans like moneyback, endowment plans, etc.

I have already written about how these products are structured and provide a mix of insurance and investment. You cannot expect to get a very big life cover at a very low premium.

Nevertheless, for a section of the savers’ community, who are conservative and aren’t too clear about the idea of ‘not mixing insurance and investments’, these products have been extremely popular.

Apart from these traditional insurance plans, the unit-linked insurance plans or Ulips are also available. Here again, one single product provides insurance with investments. So naturally, getting a very big cover without paying a large premium is next to impossible.

In Ulips, the sum assured is generally a multiple of annual premium paid and more importantly, you pay much more for the same life cover as compared to a Term plan. For example, a term plan of Rs 1 crore would cost you a few thousands every year, whereas a Ulip providing a cover of Rs 1 crore would cost you several lakhs! Yes…several lakhs!

So if you wish to go with the Ulips but cannot afford very high premiums, chances are that you will end up being under-insured. Which is extremely risky and can be disastrous for the family if you die in between.

Unfortunately, most Indians still buy life insurance to save taxes!

They are normally not concerned about ‘how much sum assured is actually needed’ and instead focus on premiums and taxes they can save.

How much income tax benefit can I get on life insurance premiums? – is the main question for many insurance buyers! J

The premiums that are paid for life insurance policy qualify for a tax deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh under Section 80C of the Income tax Act.

But if the sum assured of the policy is less than 10 times the annual premium, then the buyer will get a deduction on the premium of only up to 10% of the sum assured.

So if let’s say you buy an insurance policy of sum assured Rs 5 lakh at an annual premium of Rs 63,000, then only the 10% of the sum assured, i.e. Rs 50,000 will be tax deductible and not full Rs 63,000. So any premium that is in excess of the limit of 10% of Sum Assured) won’t qualify for the tax deduction under section 80C.

This is important because a lot of traditional plans like endowment, moneyback policies or Ulips have high premiums in comparison to sum assured. So one must be careful in this regard.

This was about tax saving while paying the premiums. But what about taxes on maturity or amount paid on death?

This is an important aspect that people forget about as they are blinded by their short-term thinking and the need to immediately gratify their urge to save some quick taxes.

Most people feel that the money they (or nominees) get in later years, on maturity or death from insurance policies is tax-free. This is true to an extent. But there is a small possibility that it might not be tax-free. Yes. It’s possible.

The death benefit, i.e. money paid to the nominee on death of policyholder is exempt from taxes.

But in case of survival of the policy holder, the maturity amount may not necessarily be tax-free. As per Section 10(10D) of the Income tax Act, if the premium paid is greater than 10% of the Sum Assured, then the maturity amount is taxable. So if the premium you pay is not more than 10% of the sum assured, then you are safe. Else the amount will be taxed on maturity.

This is why when you are buying life insurance, make sure you understand and more importantly, don’t ignore the taxation of the policy on maturity (as per exemption condition stated in Section 10(10D) of the IT Act.

The actual income tax benefit available to you under Section 80C or Section 10(10D) will vary for different policies. So it makes sense to spend some time to understand the income tax benefits on insurance plans, income tax benefits on term plans, income tax benefits on endowment plans, income tax benefits on single premium plans, income tax benefits on money back policies before you sign on the dotted line.

If you wish to really know how to buy the right life insurance policy, then first you need to clear your head about what life insurance’s real purpose is.

It is not there for tax saving. It is there to provide sufficient money to dependents to live their life comfortably and achieve their real life goals in your absence.

And there are several varieties of life insurance products that people can choose from ranging from simple term plans to endowment policies to Ulips. The ideal life insurance strategy for a person will depend on what stage they are in life, their financial goals, outstanding liabilities and responsibilities.

So make sure that you don’t pick random numbers to find the life insurance amount you need and chose the right insurance policy as soon as possible.

Remember, planning your insurance portfolio (both life and health) properly is very important if you don’t want to be at the mercy of luck in your life.

State of Indian Stock Markets – January 2019

This is the January 2018 update for the State of Indian Stock Markets and includes historical analysis and Heat Maps of Nifty50 as well as Nifty500‘s key ratios, namely P/EP/BV ratios and Dividend Yield.

Please remember that these numbers are averages of P/E, P/BV and Dividend Yield in each month. Neither Nifty50 heat maps nor Nifty500 heat maps show the maximum or the minimum values for each month. Also, note that NSE publishes PE ratios based on standalone numbers and not consolidated numbers (Read why this may matter too).

Caution – Never make any investment decision based on just one or two ‘average’ indicators (Why?) At most, treat these heat maps as broad indicators of market sentiments and a reference of market’s historical mood swings.

So here are the Nifty 50 Heat Maps…

Historical P/E Ratios – Nifty 50 (Monthly Average)

P/E Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 26.28
P/E Ratio (on the last day of December 2018): 26.26

The 12-month trend of P/E has been as follows:

And here are the average figures of Nifty50’s PE for some recent periods:

Historical P/BV Ratios – Nifty 50

P/BV Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 3.37
P/BV Ratio (on the last day of December 2018): 3.40

Historical Dividend Yield â€“ Nifty 50

Dividend Yield (on the last day of January 2019): 1.25%
Dividend Yield (on the last day of December 2018): 1.24%

Now, to the historical analysis of Nifty500 companies…

As the name suggests, Nifty500 is made up of top 500 companies which represent about 95% of the free float market capitalization of the stocks listed on NSE (March 2017).

Nifty50 on other hand is an index of 50 of the largest and most frequently traded stocks on NSE. These represent about 63% of the free float market capitalization of the NSE listed stocks (March 2017).

So obviously, Nifty500 is comparatively a much broader index than Nifty50.

Historical P/E Ratios – Nifty 500

P/E Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 29.13
P/E Ratio (on the last day of December 2018): 29.61

Historical P/BV Ratios – Nifty 500

P/BV Ratio (on the last day of January 2019): 3.15
P/BV Ratio (on the last day of December 2018): 3.20

Historical Dividend Yield â€“ Nifty 500

Dividend Yield (on last day of January 2019): 1.16%
Dividend Yield (on last day of December 2018): 1.14%

You can read the previous update here. The State of Markets section has also been updated with new Nifty heat maps (link).

For a detailed analysis of how much return you can expect depending on when the investments have been made (at various P/E, P/BV and Dividend Yield levels), please have a look at these 3 posts: