Showing posts with label mutual fund. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mutual fund. Show all posts

Monday, February 3, 2020

Loan vs Redemption of Mutual Funds

In our lives, we will occasionally face the question, “Loan vs Redemption of Mutual Funds”. Suppose I want to buy a home the question arises, “should I take a home loan or redeem a mutual fund investment”? This question is quite deep, complex and serious. We need to discuss it carefully and in detail.

loan vs redemption of mutual funds

Loan is Bad

Undoubtedly debt, in general, is bad and you should avoid it. Value Investing exhorts to shun commercial borrowing as you would plague. The careless habit of borrowing and use of credit cards will create an unbearable debt burden. I feel sad seeing a number of bright youngsters working in wonderful companies and drawing handsome salaries but borrowing beyond their means through multiple loans and credit cards. They struggle to pay monthly EMIs and manage them by juggling through various cards.

Can we totally avoid taking loans? 

No, we can't always avoid a loan. Any useful and long-term expenditure that involves huge upfront cash outflow and which is beyond one's means may need taking a loan. Following are a few examples relevant for India:

  1. Purchase or construction of a home - Avail a home loan
  2. Buying an automobile - please note carefully my advice about cars later in this post
  3. Child's higher education
Daughter's marriage is expensive and a big responsibility in India. Son's marriage is no less but compared to the former it is lighter. Please don't think I have gender biases - I have none. On the other hand, I have great respect for and confidence in girls. Still marrying off a daughter in India is a big responsibility.

I don't recommend borrowing for marriage. It is better to do the marriage function from savings. Like breaking fixed deposits created for this purpose. In the extreme instance, you may take interest-free loans from the organisation where you work or relatives and friends. You may ask me why this distinction even though the daughter's marriage is a huge, long-term and one-time cost. The reason is while the other situations I described above have some material utility daughter's marriage is a pure personal responsibility and expense

How to decide between loan vs redemption of mutual funds?

Don't Redeem Mutual Funds for Short-term Needs

Mutual fund investments are long-term investments. History shows that over very long periods of time mutual funds create unimaginable wealth. So to redeem mutual funds to meet short-term needs is squandering a valuable opportunity to create wealth.

So what are short-term needs? Here are a few examples:
  1. Paying a child's monthly school fees
  2. Going on a vacation
  3. Paying the monthly loan EMI
  4. Paying credit card dues
  5. Paying personal Income Tax
I have listed only a few examples. I urge you to make a more exhaustive list for yourself. 

You should meet short-term needs only through your regular earnings. You should never redeem mutual funds for them.

In order to easily meet short-term liabilities, you have to learn to live a simple life. You should avoid the urge to splurge. My guru Warren Buffett says, "If you buy things you don't need, soon you will have to sell the things you need".

Redeem Only for Purchasing an Equally Long-term and Appreciating Asset

You should never redeem your mutual fund in your lifetime. This is my firm view. However, if you ever have to redeem, it should be for an equally long-term asset with the same attractive capital appreciation. For example, purchasing a home or a high rent yielding immovable property.

Even for buying immovable property like land and buildings, I don't recommend redeeming mutual fund. But if there is no other way we can at best pardon it. Let me narrate experience in a similar situation.

I was buying a piece of land in Uttarakhand for constructing our retirement home. The price was eight lakhs. I broke down fixed deposits lying in banks and mobilized from other sources. There was a final gap of one and a half lakh rupees. My wife was having a mutual fund a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) actually, valued three lakh rupees. With a heavy heart, I asked her to redeem half of it. We purchased the piece of land. I have taken a home loan to build the house. So if we look at it we redeemed a mutual fund but only a small part of the project cost.

Don't redeem mutual fund to buy a useless, depreciable asset like a car

Buying a car is a bad idea. But in India where public transport is not ideal, an automobile is essential. However, don't buy expensive and luxury cars. Further, keep the car for at least 10 to 15 years. Don't keep changing cars or models often say in three to five years. 

The car is a highly depreciating asset. The moment it comes out of the showroom it will lose 10 per cent of its value. The value further depreciates ten per cent every year of use. I have not counted the expenses of petrol, repairs and insurance yet. 

Finally, it is not an asset but actually a liability.

Don't redeem your valuable mutual fund to buy an actual liability like the car.


The 'Loan vs Redemption of Mutual Fund' is a tricky question. Both loans and redeeming mutual fund shall be avoided. Under certain circumstances, they may be sparingly used as described above.  

Friday, November 9, 2018

Which is Better SIP or SWP?

Investors frequently ask me, "Which is Better SIP or SWP?". In short, mutual funds create the two products for entirely different situations. A SIP creates wealth. Whereas an SWP breaks down an existing corpus into small, regular payments.

Which is Better SIP or SWP - Feature Image

The dilemma is similar to, "What is the difference between Dividend and Growth Fund? Which is Better"? The answer is also the same. Dividend or regular income plans suit a person who has a big initial corpus and wants to live out of it. Regular income plans invest in interest paying investments like bonds. On the other hand, a growth fund is meant for creating a corpus or wealth.

Before we go deep into the differences between the two let me first explain what is a SIP and an SWP briefly.

Which is Better SIP or SWP? - Meanings

The word SIP stands for 'Systematic Investment Plan'. A SIP is a plan for making small investments in a mutual fund scheme at regular intervals. Usually, the interval period is a month. Therefore a SIP is only a commitment to make a regular and periodic investment into a particular mutual fund scheme. However, it is not a type of mutual fund or investment instrument.

SWP stands for 'Systematic Withdrawal Plan'. It is a scheme for converting a certain lump sum fund or money into a stream of small payments over a certain period of time. Again it is only a scheme designed by a mutual fund and not a separate type of mutual fund or investment instrument.

I tabulate the differences below:

I list below links to a few interesting articles relating to mutual funds you may like to read:


I conclude that a SIP and SWP are antonyms. While a SIP is an attempt to create wealth, an SWP is a scheme to distribute a lump sum of money into an annuity. I hope I was able to set at rest the dilemma, "Which is Better SIP or SWP"?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why Mutual Fund Returns Dip?

mutual fund return

Investors are often alarmed to see that their mutual fund nav (net assets value) has fallen, some times even to the extent of 25%, in a year. The question, “Why Mutual Fund Returns Dip?” begins to torment them. They wonder whether they have invested with the right fund house that ensures best mutual fund performance. But the truth is that most of the times these doubts that nag investors are unfounded.

How can we say that these genuine suspicions are unfounded?

In reality the fault most often lies in our understanding of how investments work and very high mutual fund performance expectations.

As far as the flaws in our understanding as to how investments work, there are two fundamental issues as follows:
  1. Wrong definition of the term mutual fund return
  2. Assessment of the mutual fund performance within a very short time

Let us examine both the points in a little more detail.

Correct Measure of Return:

The whole investment world, including the mutual fund industry is doing a disservice to the investors as well as to itself by measuring return purely in terms of short-term price fluctuations caused by market forces, of the underlying assets, that is stocks.
Whereas the actual return comprises of:
  • Copious regular dividends distributed by excellent companies over long periods of time – for example a company like NMDC Ltd.’s dividend amounts to over 10% of its price. This means the investment pays back the investment in less than 10 years. If you hold the share of NMDC for 30-40 years dividend itself pays back three to four times the original investment.
  • Occasional special dividends distributed by good companies – for example Hindustan Zinc Ltd. rewarded investors with a special dividend of 1,375% which translates into Rs.27.50 per equity share with a face value of Rs.2. The total amount of dividend paid out by the company was Rs.13,895 Crores or US$ 2.08 billions.
  • Bonus Shares issued again by wonderful companies, not only significantly enhance the return on investment but also yield additional regular and special dividends on these bonus shares.
  • Long-term Capital Appreciation: The final component of the return is the capital appreciation or price increase attained not on account of market fluctuations but on the basis of economic growth of the world, country and finally the company – for example BSE Sensex which stood at 100 on 1st April 1979 has grown to 30,857 today (29th June 2017), a whopping 308 times growth over the past 38 years, on the back of growth of economy and consequently the companies that constitute the Sensex and not due to short-term market fluctuations.

A person who invests in shares for long-term, say two to three decades and reaps the above benefits directly. Mutual fund investors too can enjoy the same benefits provided they hold on to the investments for such long periods. However they are misled by so-called mutual fund returns or mutual fund nav, calculated based on short-term price fluctuations, and sell their holdings, and end up missing the huge wealth creating opportunity.

Assessment over short time spans

Short-term market fluctuations could be steep. Sometimes market can loose up to 60-70% or more in a year. Again after correcting sharply, market could remain depressed for two, three or even five years. Such depressed prices get reflected in the mutual fund return or mutual fund nav.

Investor should not be bothered by such conditions. In fact higher negative return, investors should feel merrier, for this means valuable mutual fund units are available at steep discounts – they should lap up the opportunity and pump cash in. But, alas many investors, having misunderstood how to measure returns, either stay away from investing or worse still sell of their investments at a loss.

Suggested Further Reading


Mutual fund return or mutual fund nav dips owing to short-term market fluctuations in the prices of the underlying stocks comprising the funds. Measuring the so-called returns and assessing mutual fund performance purely based on such dip in returns is a great folly and deters investors from enjoying phenomenal real returns by buying into mutual funds when the returns are negative and holding onto the investments for two to three decades unmindful of such dips on the way.