Frequently asked Questions about Mutual Funds

When should I start investing in Mutual Funds?

There is a beautiful Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

There is no reason why one should delay one’s investments, except, of course, when there is no money to invest. Within that, it is always better to use Mutual Funds than to do-it-oneself.

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Do Mutual Funds invest only in stocks?

Do you visualize roller-coasters or toy trains first when you think of an amusement park? Probably the former. These rides are usually the biggest attractions in such parks which create a certain perception about amusement parks. ‘Mutual funds’ too carry a similar perception that they invest only in stocks and hence are risky.

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How do Mutual Funds help manage risk?

Risks appear in many forms. For example, if you own a share of a company, there is a Price Risk or a Market Risk or a Company Specific Risk. The share of just that company may dip or even crash due to any of the above reasons or even a combination of these reasons.

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What is the co-relation between risk and return?

In Mutual Funds, one often hears, ‘more the risk, more the return’. Is there truth in this?

If ‘risk’ is measured as either, probability of loss of capital or as swings and fluctuations in investment value, then asset classes like equity are undoubtedly the riskiest, and money in a savings bank account or in a government bond is of course least risky.

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Are Mutual Funds offered by Banks?

Banks are in the business of savings and loans while Mutual Funds are for investments. When you put your money in a savings account or in a fixed deposit, you are making savings whereas when you put your money in Mutual Funds, you are making investments. Banking and Mutual Funds are two completely different businesses, requiring specific domain and organizational expertise.

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Is there some external help I can get to plan my financial goals?

“My son is in the 9th grade. I am not sure what his interests are or what stream in education he should pursue. Should he go for Science, Commerce or Arts? Can someone help?” Many parents have such concerns. That is where one may approach an education, or a career, counselor, who has evaluated various options available for youngsters.

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What happens when you miss SIP payments in-between?

Many investors worry about loss in Mutual Funds if they are unable to make SIP payments during its tenure. Such situations can arise due to many reasons like you are undergoing some financial difficulty or uncertainty about job or business income. It’s natural that under such situations you may not be able to continue with your regular SIP payments.

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Are fund managers necessary?

The answer is a huge, resounding YES! It is important to note that experience in managing money/making investments plays a vital role in generating good performance. The more the experience, the better is the probability of making profitable investment decisions.

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What are the benefits of investing in Mutual Funds?

Many of us dread the thought of managing our own investments. With a professional fund management company, people are put in charge of various functions based on their education, experience and skills.

As an investor, you can either manage your finances yourself, or hire a professional firm. You opt for the latter when:

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What is a Mutual Fund?

To many people, Mutual Funds can seem complicated or intimidating. We are going to try and simplify it for you at its very basic level. Essentially, the money pooled in by a large number of people (or investors) is what makes up a Mutual Fund. This fund is managed by a professional fund manager.

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How will I evaluate my risk profile?

Every individual investor is unique. Not only with regards to investment objectives but even in approach and view of risk. This is what makes Risk Profiling absolutely crucial before investing.

A Risk Profiler is essentially a questionnaire that seeks an investor’s answers to questions about both “ability” and “willingness”.

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Who keeps a record of my investments?

All Mutual Funds in India are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Mutual Fund regulations clearly define the roles and responsibilities of Asset Management Companies (AMC) and Custodians. It’s vital to remember that every investor has to complete an effective KYC process before investing.

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What is KYC Process?

KYC is an acronym for "Know Your Customer" and is a term used for Customer Identification Process as a part of Account Opening process with any financial entity. KYC establishes an investor’s identity & address through relevant supporting documents such as prescribed photo id (e.g., PAN card, Aadhar card) and address proof and In-Person Verification (IPV).

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How much of my investment can I withdraw?

Majority of Mutual Fund schemes are open end schemes, which allow an investor to redeem the entire invested amount without any time restrictions.

Only under few instances  schemes impose a restriction on redemption, under extraordinary circumstances, as decided by the Board of Trustees.

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What kind of returns should one expect from Mutual Funds?

Imagine asking: At what speed do vehicles run?

Can you generalize the answer for the whole category? Different vehicles run at different speeds – even within one category, e.g. cars, while a car made for city roads may run at a certain maximum speed, the one made for racing can run much faster.

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How often can I remove my money?

An investor has no restriction on redeeming money from an open ended scheme. While there may be an exit load in certain cases, which impacts final amount realised, all open end schemes offer liquidity as a great benefit.

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Does long term mean less risk?

Investments in Mutual Funds require the appropriate time horizon. Having the right time horizon, not only provides a better chance of getting expected, investment returns, but also lowers the risk in the investment.

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How do I get my returns in Mutual Funds?

Like other asset classes, Mutual Funds returns are calculated by computing appreciation in the value of your investment over a period as compared to the initial investment made. Net Asset Value of Mutual Fund indicates its price and is used in calculating returns from your Mutual Fund investments.

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How soon can I withdraw my money from Mutual Funds?

Mutual Funds are one of the most liquid assets, i.e. it is one of the easiest to convert into cash. In order to redeem funds through offline mode, the unit holder needs to submit a signed Redemption Request form to the AMC's or the Registrar’s designated office. The form requires details like unit holder’s name, folio number, scheme name, and number of units to redeem.

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When can I withdraw my investment?

An investment in an open end scheme can be redeemed at any time. Unless it is an investment in an Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS), wherein there is a lock-in of 3 years from date of investment, there are no restrictions on investment redemption.

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What are loads?

On a long-distance road journey, sometimes a toll is charged when you enter the road or the bridge, and sometimes when you exit. In many cases, the toll bridge company is allowed to charge the toll only for a certain number of years to recover the building costs. After that period is over, the company is not allowed to charge the passengers any toll.

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Is there an advantage in investing in funds with an exit load?

Let’s consider a Balanced Fund, which aims to provide growth and capital appreciation from the equity portion, and income and stability from the debt portion. This scheme still carries considerable risk, as the portion of equity could be as high as 75%. This is recommended only for investors with a healthy risk appetite and long term time horizon.

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How do I choose a Mutual Fund?

Imagine asking a travel agent, “How should I choose my mode of transport?” The first thing he/she will say is, “Depends on where you want to go.” If I were to travel to a distance of 5 kms, an auto rickshaw might be the best option, while for a journey from New Delhi to Kochi, a flight might be the best.

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What is Net Asset value (NAV)?

The performance of a particular scheme of a Mutual Fund is denoted by Net Asset Value (NAV). In simple words, NAV is the market value of the securities held by the scheme. Mutual Funds invest the money collected from investors in securities markets. Since market value of securities changes every day, NAV of a scheme also varies on day to day basis.

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Can I remove money on all days or only on particular days?

An open end fund permits redemptions on all business days. If a redemption request is handed over at an Investor Service Centre on a non-business day, or after a specified cut-off time, say 3:00 p.m., then it is processed on the next business day. Redemptions are processed at that particular day’s Net Asset Value (NAV).

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Can Mutual Funds help create wealth?

Business and commerce allows us to create wealth by investing our money with those who are on the path to creating wealth. We can be investors in businesses of entrepreneurs, by investing in stocks of various companies. As the entrepreneurs and the managers run their businesses efficiently and profitably, the shareholders get the benefits.

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What is inflation?

Simply put, inflation is the rise in prices over time, relative to the money available. In relatable terms, a certain amount of money buys you much less today, than it did years ago.

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Should goals be for the long term only or short term?

Narendra aims to accumulate enough to make the down payment for his dream house. He started an SIP in some Mutual Fund schemes. Though he was falling a tad short, he was comfortable with what he had accrued.

He got a pleasant surprise when his company announced a big cash reward for some star employees, and he was one of them.

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What are Mid Cap Funds?

Market capitalisation is the average of full market capitalisation of the stock on all recognised stock exchanges where it’s listed, or the full market capitalisation of the stock on the single exchange where it’s listed. Fund managers invest in companies as per the fund’s investment objective and investors know what they are investing in.

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How can one track a Mutual Fund performance?

In this digital and information age, it has become relatively easy to keep track of investment and portfolio performance. While advisors are irreplaceable partners in your financial journey, it is best for investors to have a little knowledge about their own investments. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sit with mind-boggling spread-sheets and graphs.

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Mutual Funds vs Shares: What’s the difference?

From where do you get the vegetables for dinner? Do you grow them in your backyard, or purchase it from the nearest mandi/supermarket depending on what you need? Growing your own veggies is a great way of eating healthy food, but effort is spent on seed selection, manuring, watering, pest control, etc.

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A plan for every goal

Yes, Mutual Funds are ideal to help you plan your life goals!

·   Mr. Rajput eventually wants to move away from the city, into a farmhouse on a hill station when he plans to retire after 15-20 years.

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Aren’t safe investments enough to meet financial goals?

One must keep in mind that the regular expenses as well as the cost for various financial goals rise over a period. If the inflation is at 6% per year, the cost of a goal doubles over approximately 12 years. However, if the inflation is at 7%, the doubling happens roughly in ten years.

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Can minors invest in Mutual Funds?

Anyone under the age of 18 (minor) can invest in Mutual Funds, with the help of parents/legal guardians until the age of 18. The minor must be the sole account holder represented by the parent/guardian. Joint holding is not allowed in a minor’s Mutual Fund folio.

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Which Mutual Fund should I choose for long-term investments?

Long-term investments aim to finance distant future goals, like college education, home, retirement, etc. Hence, choose a fund suitable for wealth creation. Long-term goals have a horizon beyond 10 years and equity-oriented schemes(>=65% equity allocation) are the one of the best long-term investment option.

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Are there different funds for different types of goals?

With so many Mutual Funds schemes in the market, often one may wonder which scheme may be the best. But, understanding the meaning of “best” is more important.

Often, people tend to select the “best” performers of a recent past period – schemes that have delivered highest returns in the recent past.

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How do I fulfill my financial goals?

To begin with, it is important to select the right scheme for your investment need. Look at it this way.

How do you decide what mode of transport you should take when you travel? Whether you want to walk it up, take an auto rickshaw, a train or a flight, it all depends on your destination, on your budget and travel time available.

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How is ULIP different from Mutual Fund?

A ULIP is Unit-Linked Insurance Plan. It is a life insurance policy with an investment component that is invested in various financial markets. The returns generated by the investment component determine the value of the policy. However, the sum assured on the death of the policy holder may not be a function of the market – the minimum sum assured may remain unaffected.

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Do Mutual Funds issue a passbook?

While banks and certain small savings schemes issue a passbook, Mutual Funds do not issue a passbook, they issue an Account Statement instead. The main purpose of a passbook is to keep track of all transactions with a bank: deposit, withdrawals, credit of interest etc.

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ELSS Fund – Tax Saving Mutual Fund

An ELSS is an Equity Linked Savings Scheme, that allows an individual or HUF a deduction from total income of up to Rs. 1.5 lacs under Sec 80C of Income Tax Act 1961.

Thus if an investor was to invest Rs. 50,000 in an ELSS, then this amount would be deducted from the total taxable income, thus reducing her tax burden.

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Is it possible to change SIP amount every month?

SIP in Mutual Fund is like running a marathon. Marathon runners practice throughout the year but keep stepping-up their targets every year starting from dream run, moving to half marathon and finally a full marathon. The same goes with SIPs.

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Should retired people invest in Mutual Funds?

Retired people usually have their savings and investments locked up in bank FDs, PPFs, gold, real estate, insurance, pension plans etc. Most of these options are difficult to convert to cash immediately. This may lead to undue stress in case of medical or other emergencies.

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₹ 500 se toh sirf shuruwaat hai

You can start investing in Mutual Funds with just ₹ 500 a month!

People feel that to earn meaningful returns, large sums must be invested in Mutual Funds. Well, you can start by investing as little as 500 per month and gradually increase your investment as your income rises.

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Can I start with ₹ 500, and keep adding?

The popular investment concept for creating wealth is ‘Start Early. Invest Regularly. Stay invested for Long Term’. Even if the investment is as low as ₹ 500, it is important as it marks the beginning of a journey.

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Have Mutual Funds been around for a long time?

Collective and pooled investments have existed in various traditional formats across the world for some time. Mutual Fund as we know it came into existence in 1924, with creation of Massachusetts Investors Trust.

The Mutual Fund industry growth was accompanied by three broad trends:

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How should I choose whether to go for SIP or Lumpsum?

Invest in SIP or a one-time investment (lumpsum)? Choosing one depends on your familiarity with Mutual Funds, the fund you want to invest in and your goal. If you want to invest regularly to accumulate sufficient capital for a goal, invest in a suitable equity scheme through SIP.

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Long Term and Short Term Investment Plans for Your choice

Are Mutual Funds ideal for short term or long term Investment?

“Mutual Funds could be a good saving tool for short term.”

“You must be patient with your Mutual Fund investments. It takes time to deliver results.”

People regularly come across both the above statements, which are clearly contradictory.

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What are the best Mutual Fund schemes for a five-year period?

Let us understand what could be a proper answer to the above question.

Through numerous interactions with investors, we feel that in most cases the hidden, oft-unexpressed need is to find out the scheme that would deliver outstanding returns over the period that the investor plans to invest.

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Can I change the tenure of my investment after I’ve started investing?

Investing in Mutual Funds through SIP offers a lot of flexibility. Investors can control the amount they want to invest, tenure for which they want to invest, frequency with which they want to invest (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). 

But once you start a SIP, are you bound by the initial choices made until the end of your SIP tenure? 

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What are Liquid Funds?

On watching the video on the left, you will notice that in all the situations, the money is lying idle for a short period of time. In certain cases, the exact time when the money needs to be taken out may not be known. What does the investor do? Where should the money be parked?

One must consider a few things here:

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What are Debt Funds?

A debt fund is a Mutual Fund scheme that invests in fixed income instruments, such as Corporate and Government Bonds, corporate debt securities, and money market instruments etc. that offer capital appreciation. Debt funds are also referred to as Fixed Income Funds or Bond Funds.

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What is a Hybrid Fund?

Our choice of meals when we dine depend largely on the time at hand, the occasion and of course, our mood. If we’re in a hurry, say during an office lunch or eating before boarding a bus/train, we may opt for a combo meal. Or if we know a combo meal is famous, we may not bother to go through the menu. A leisurely meal would mean ordering individual items from the menu, as many as we’d like.

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What are interest rates in Mutual Funds?

There’s no free lunch in this world. We pay for every product or service we consume, either directly or indirectly. For instance, you pay a parking fee for the time you use the parking space. When you send a courier, you pay for the weight of the courier and the distance it needs to travel to reach the recipient.

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So can I invest now, for my vacation 8 months later?

Articles about Mutual Funds are usually written for planning to achieve certain long term specific goals, and investors assume that other goals, especially short term cannot be achieved.

Let us break this myth with an example.

Ramesh, a travel junkie got to satisfy his wanderlust, when the company he worked for achieved success and rewarded its employees with bonuses.

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Why should one invest in Mutual Funds?

One should never invest in Mutual Funds, but should invest through them.

To elaborate, we invest in various investment avenues based on our requirements, e.g. for capital growth - we invest in equity shares, for safety of capital and regular income - we buy fixed income products.

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How should one compare the performance of two schemes?

If two students pass class X board exam with 95% from two different boards (CBSE and ICSE), whom would you consider a better performer? The one who scored 95% from CBSE board or the one from ICSE? You obviously can’t compare their scores since they had different syllabus, question paper pattern and evaluation system.

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How are Mutual Funds different from Portfolio Management Schemes?

While both Mutual funds and Portfolio Management Services (PMS) allow investors to invest in stocks and bonds by investing their money in a pooled investment vehicle that is managed by professional fund managers, they both are two different investment options serving different objectives and are meant for two different kinds of investors.

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How does DDT impact my investments?

Currently dividends from Mutual Funds are tax-free in the hands of investors. Investors don’t have to pay income tax on the dividend income from their Mutual Fund investments. The fund house deducts a Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) from the distributable surplus (profit) of the fund to calculate net distributable surplus.

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What should investors consider while switching from Dividend to Growth option?

Imagine you’ve booked an 8 am flight from Bengaluru to Chennai on FlyIndia Airlines. You realise that the wrong flight was booked and needs rescheduling. What kind of charges do you think FlyIndia will charge you? You will have to pay a penalty for changing your mind even though it is the same airline, same date of travel, same destination and the same passenger!

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Why was KYC introduced in financial markets?

One of the main reasons for KYC to be introduced in financial markets was to limit/prevent cases of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. In order to do that, the source and destination in case of any financial transaction must be found out. This is where KYC was strengthened and in cases of investments and bank accounts, these processes were made mandatory and stringent.

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Which is a better option: Growth or Dividend Payout?

If someone asked you which car should I buy, an SUV or a premium hatchback, what would your advice be? You probably would ask, what is your main reason for buying this car? Do you need it for a long haul along with family or you need something convenient for yourself to suit the city roads for regular driving?

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What impacts the performance of Debt Funds?

Debt Funds invest our money in interest-bearing securities like bonds and money market instruments that promise to pay regular interest. These interest payments are received by the fund which in turn contributes to the total return we, as investors of the fund, earn.

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Is it safe to invest in Mutual Funds Online?

Remember the first time you boarded a flight? Did you have butterflies in your stomach or a queasy feeling? Finally, when the flight was air-borne, didn’t you feel reassured? Flying at 30,000 ft, seat belt fastened and a warm cabin crew along with an able pilot to take care of you.

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Understand Risk in Debt Mutual Funds

You’ve lent 5 lakhs to your friend who owns a start-up @8% interest (higher than current bank rate of 7%). Even though you’ve known him for years, you still run the risk that he may not return your money on time or may fail to pay back. Also, the bank rate may rise to 8.5% while you are stuck with 8%.

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Won’t I need a large amount to invest in Mutual Funds?

People think that Mutual Funds are elite investments made only for the wealthy. The fact is: one does not need large sum to invest in Mutual Funds, you can start with a sum as low as ₹ 500, or 5000 depending on the kind of fund you choose.

Why keep the minimum amounts as low as these?

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How diverse is the acceptance of Mutual Funds in India?

After its launch in 1964, Mutual Funds have grown to manage assets over 17.37 lakh  crores (as on Jan 31, 2017).

This impressive growth is because of a strong Indian economy, better regulation, entry of reputed Indian and Foreign Asset Managers, and increasing acceptance of Mutual Funds as a preferred asset class amongst Indian investors.

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At what age should one start investing?

Rahim and Suresh moved to Mumbai as opportunities to earn and spend were higher.

Suresh looked at the income opportunity and decided to enjoy life. Rahim, on the other hand, decided to save and invest his earning, in order to survive in the city.

Rahim was concerned when he learnt about Suresh’s lifestyle and tried explaining him the benefits of saving young with numbers.

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Are Debt Funds like Fixed Deposits?

When you park your money in a bank Fixed Deposit (FD), the bank promises to pay fixed interest in return. Here you’ve lent money to the bank, and the bank is a borrower of your money, owes you a fixed periodic interest. Debt Mutual Funds invest in debt securities like Government bonds, Company bonds, Money market securities.

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Know more about Debt Funds.

Equity Mutual Funds buy stocks while Debt funds buy debt fund securities like bonds for their portfolio. Securities like bonds aare issued by corporates such as power utilities, banks, housing finance and the Government. They issue bonds with fixed interest rate to raise money from the public (investors) instead of taking a loan for new projects.

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Where do Debt Funds invest our money?

Debt Funds invest the money pooled from investors in bonds issued by banks, PSUs, PFIs (Public Financial Institutions), corporates and the Government. These bonds are usually medium to long-term in nature. When a Mutual Fund invests in such bonds, it earns periodic interest from these bonds which contribute to the fund’s total return over time.

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Can Debt Funds provide regular income?

Debt Funds invest their investors’ money in interest-bearing securities like bonds, corporate deposits, G-secs, money market instruments, etc. These bonds are like certificates that carry an obligation on the part of the bond issuer to pay regular interests (coupons) to the bond investors.

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What are the different types of Debt Funds?

Debt Funds are categorized into different types based on the kind of securities they invest in and the maturity (time horizon) of these securities. Debt securities include bonds issued by corporates, banks and Government, debentures issued by big corporates, money market instruments like commercial papers and certificate of deposits (CDs) issued by banks.

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Are Debt Funds suitable for my Financial Goals?

Debt Funds provide lower but relatively stable returns as compared to equity funds. They provide stability to a portfolio as they trade in the fixed income market which is more stable in comparison to the stock market that impacts equity funds.

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How do interest rate changes affect my return from Debt Funds?

Debt Funds invest in fixed income securities like corporate or Government bonds and money market instruments. These securities are interest bearing instruments that pay a fixed interest (coupon rate) to investors at regular intervals and pay the invested amount (principal) at maturity. The prices of these securities are directly affected by interest rate changes.

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