An addition of about 9.74 lakh Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) accounts recorded each month on an average last financial year and an average SIP size of about Rs.3,200 (data according to Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) ), has shown the ease with which people can understand, invest and earn returns with Mutual Funds, thus making it a popular investment option. Also, the fact that investors can choose between Equity, Debt and Balanced funds (which invest in both Equity and Debt), they can invest in funds that suit their investment needs, risk appetite and financial goals. Investments in Mutual Funds help you earn higher returns than Fixed Deposits or your Savings account, provided you avoid these six common mistakes while investing in Mutual Funds:
1. Not Considering Risk
A typical behavior we see amongst investors is “The herd mentality”. Investors do not want to miss on returns, hence come under peer pressure and invest in Mutual Funds that do not suit their risk appetite. It’s very important to do a financial check of your situation and evaluate your investment horizon. If you are a risk-averse investor with an investment goal less than five years, then do not choose Equity Funds instead go for Debt funds. However, if you have longer investment goals (> 5 years) then choose Equity Funds. Remember, only the right Fund would yield the proper Benefit.
2. Investing without a Financial Goal
Have a Financial Goal. It could be saving money for your Child’s marriage or education, or you might want to save for your retirement, or it could be as simple as buying yourself a vehicle. No matter what the purpose is, every Goal has a fixed Tenure. So plan. Any allocation to equity or debt mutual funds must go hand-in-hand with your financial plan and to your inflows. And remember, once you have invested, you must not think about withdrawal until you are nearing your investment goal.
3. Over Diversification
Yes, Diversification is crucial, because Mutual Funds are subjected to market risks and putting all the eggs in the same basket could be tricky. However, at the same time, putting your money into different schemes is not the right solution; instead, you might be investing in several underperforming funds, and it could be a hassle to manage your SIPs. Alternatively, you should invest in a few schemes (4-5 schemes) which provide overall market exposure, and you can easily track your investments.
4.Timing the Market
We are not traders, we are investors. Traders/ Speculators are the ones who need to inspect the market minute to minute. On the other end we as investors, most of us are salaried people and do afford to set aside savings every month. So the best approach to invest in Mutual Funds is through a regular plan, meaning Systematic Investment Plan (SIPs). This practice will let the money grow over the investment tenure and helps you invest in a disciplined manner. Remember, with Mutual Funds, it’s the time in the market that matters and not timing the market.
5. Stopping SIPs when the market is down
It’s common amongst investors to panic and stop their SIPs when the markets are down due to fear of loss. However, investors forget the fact that it is in the bearish phase that you can buy more units at a lower price, and this will help you to achieve your long-term goals. It is important to stay invested with SIPs to reap benefits rather than changing it with the market sentiments. Remember! Every bear trend is followed by the bull, resulting in the recovery of the market.
It is after all your money at stake. Investors must track the performance of their investments, and it is best that you do it at a regular interval. Failing to do so can cost you a fortune. Make it a habit to conduct a periodical review of all your Mutual Fund schemes; this not only helps you to track the funds in your portfolio but also helps to get rid of the ones that are underperforming.
“Successful investment is about managing risk, not avoiding it. “