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July 21, 2023

How you can protect your savings from inflation?

tips to protect savings from inflation

Inflation affects the cost of everything, from basic goods like edible oil, crude oil, and vegetables to big events like education, foreign trips, or property rates.   

This year, inflation reached its all-time high at 7% and has maintained that record over the past 3 months.

This means your savings need to beat the rising inflation rate before inflation beats your savings.  

To protect your savings from inflation, you need to consider multiple investment instruments. Relying on fixed deposits, land or gold alone is not enough.

Beating inflation requires a financial plan that distributes your money wisely across different saving and investing options. It allows your money to work in different areas – like mutual funds, bonds, PPF, Digital Gold, ETFs, and much more.  

How can the average Indian investor beat inflation? 

By gaining financial knowledge and opening up to investment, risk, and newer opportunities, the average Indian can beat inflation.

If you are a young adult in your 20s, then saving in FDs or stashing your money in a savings account is not enough.

You need to start exploring different alternatives that can benefit from the power of compounding and help you create a corpus for future needs.  

Savings accounts in most banks offer a 2% annual rate while 5-6% interest rates on fixed deposits. These interest rates fail to compete with the growing inflation rate of 7%.

Thus, by saving on these instruments, you are likely to reduce your purchasing power and lose money rather than gain from them! 

Ways to protect your savings from inflation  

1. Manage your expenses 

Budgeting is the only way to ensure you don’t overspend or live paycheck to paycheck. Your cost of living should be less than your monthly income so that you can invest or save a part of your income.

By budgeting, you may be able to spare a bigger portion for this cause. Tips to manage your expenses-  

  • Follow your expenses carefully  
  • Pay bills and EMIs on time to avoid penalties 
  • Go for cheaper alternatives for food, clothes, and gadgets 
  • Cutback on eating out, unnecessary subscriptions  
  • Develop productive habits  

2. Look for long-term investing options 

Domestic and international stocks, bonds, and equity funds offer great returns on your initial investment. Sometimes double the returns as opposed to FDs, gold, and even property.

These investments are great for those who wish to remain invested for 10-15 years, maximize their gains, and allow the market to average out the risk and loss.

The beauty of the share market is that in the long run, it corrects itself and rewards its oldest members. 

3. Go beyond PPFs and FDs  

Beating inflation means looking past PPFs and FDs, stocks, gold, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds can help you diversify your investment and savings.

This does not mean that you need to break your FD or PPF plan, it means starting a small SIP for Rs. 1000 or more for mutual funds or ETF can help you save better and reap the benefits of compounding.  

4. Invest in gold and real estate 

Gold is a natural deterrent against inflation; the rise of gold rises with inflation which means gold will remain an ever-green investment as long as inflation is here. But don’t restrict yourself to physical gold, invest in digital gold, gold ETFs, and sovereign gold bonds. 

Similarly, in real estate, the cost of the property rises as well as rent with inflation Thus, invest in property or through real estate investment trust (REITs)

5. Mutual funds and ETFs 

A SIP as low as INR 500 can help you stay financially secure in the near future. There is a good reason behind the popularity of mutual funds and ETFs, these are great instruments for beginners as well as professionals.

Mutual funds are managed by a fund manager who invests on your behalf. This means you get to protect your savings from inflation without any effort.  

Don’t let inflation eat at your savings. Invest wisely and remember that the cost of commodities is only going to increase so should your savings.


How do you stay ahead of inflation?  

To stay ahead of inflation, consider investing in assets with returns that outpace inflation, such as stocks, real estate, or commodities. Diversify your portfolio to spread risk. Focus on long-term investments, maintain a budget, and periodically reassess your financial strategy to adapt to changing economic conditions. 

How do you manage inflation times? 

During inflation times, manage by diversifying investments, focusing on assets with historically inflation-resistant returns, and avoiding excessive cash holdings. 

Where do I put my money during inflation?  

During inflation, consider allocating your money to assets that historically perform well in such conditions, like equities, real estate, commodities, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). Diversify your investments to spread risk and preserve purchasing power. Avoid keeping excessive cash, as it may lose value during inflationary periods. 

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Check all your accounts and add up your liabilities (all types) to know how much you owe and to whom. Calculate your net worth by subtracting your liabilities from your assets. This will help you know your worth on paper.   Know where you spent your money: It is important to categorize your expenses into housing, transport, food, travel, miscellaneous, and debt. An example of a bad monthly budget is where the debt is almost equivalent to income. You need to get your basics of spending right as your first step.   Improve your budget: When you don't follow the rule “Spend less than you earn” that's how your debt problem arises. Living below your means is a very important thing that one should take care of to avoid getting into a debt cycle or when trying to get out of it. Unless you manage to spend less than you earn, you will always be in debt and never be able to come out of it.   Pay off your high-interest debt in full every month: Your credit card bills keep on mounting because you do not pay them in full every month. It happens because you take on more interest-bearing debt than you can manage. Paying off your credit card bills and other debts very religiously every month will do good for your credit score and will be a good step to lighten your debt burden.   Source: Pexels Some effective ways to reduce your debt  Use the snowball effect: Start paying off your small debts and then tackle the bigger ones. Put as much money towards paying that one small debt, and once it is done with, the free money from that shall go to the next big one. As you proceed with wiping out debt, the amount going to the current payment will increase. Another way is to tackle the highest interest debts first (to save on interest payments) and proceed.   Pay more than the minimum amount: You pay both the principal and the interest when paying down debt. So, paying more than the minimum for a particular month means cutting the principal for the next month and thus, saving money on interest payments.   Increase your income: An increase in your income will solve half your debt problems if you know how to channel your money. An increased income from the same work or a new income from a different income source will leave more money in your hands to get out of that unwanted debt you are in. You have to help yourself in this regard. FAQs What are 3 ways to eliminate debt? The 3 ways to eliminate debt are: Budgeting, increasing your income, and paying your debt on time without accruing more interest. What are the 5 ways to get out of debt? The 5 simple ways to get out of debt are: Listing your debt obligations, creating a budget for repayment, increasing your income and paying your debt on time without accruing more interest and finally reducing your daily/miscellaneous expenses to create space for savings and investing. What are the 5 golden rules for managing debt? The golden rules for managing debt are: Budgeting your expenses and debt, actively generating more income and wealth, paying your debt on time without any delays or additional interest, reviewing your spending habits, and avoiding future debt traps. How do I clean up my debt? Stepwise guide to help you break the vicious cycle:   Assess your situation   Know where you spent your money   Improve your budget   Pay off your high-interest debt in full every month   What is the best solution for debt?   Start paying off your small debts and then tackle the bigger ones. Put as much money towards paying that one small debt, and once it is done with, the free money from that shall go to the next big one. As you proceed with wiping out debt, the amount going to the current payment will increase. Another way is to tackle the highest interest debts first (to save on interest payments) and proceed.   How to live a debt-free life? When you don’t follow the rule “Spend less than you earn”, that’s how your debt problem arises. Living below your means is a very important thing that one should take care of to avoid getting into a debt cycle or when trying to get out of it. Unless you manage to spend less than you earn, you will always be in debt and never be able to come out of it. How can I recover from debt fast? It is important to categorise your expenses into housing, transport, food, travel, miscellaneous, and debt. An example of a bad monthly budget is where the debt is almost equivalent to income. You need to get your basics of spending right as your first step.     Consult an expert advisor to get the right plan for you TALK TO AN EXPERT
8 ways you can invest in mutual funds

8 ways you can invest in mutual funds

What is a mutual fund? Mutual funds are investment vehicles that pool money from multiple investors and invest them into equity, debt, other related instruments, and asset classes after thorough research and analysis. Each mutual fund portfolio is managed by a fund manager who has a great deal of experience in the industry. Their decisions are substantiated and are taken after following the thorough research done by the AMC's research analysts. As individual investors, we do not have enough time to perform such research to make a well-informed choice on “Where to invest to gain maximum returns?” or “Where to invest in the long-term?” We may also not have enough capital to make a diversified portfolio to sustain the blows of market fluctuations. Mutual funds provide a one-stop solution for both issues. Why should one invest in mutual funds? a) Money managed by experts The fund manager and his army of research analysts are experts in the field of investing. They make informed choices with respect to every penny and always aim to provide the promised objective to their pool of investors. b) Liquidity Redemption requests are handled with great ease in fund houses. The investor can also buy/sell his units in the secondary market (in an open-ended fund) for redemption (withdrawal) of the units. c) Diversification Despite having low ticket sizes for investment, an investor can receive returns that mimic or beat the market performance. He/she can own a portfolio that is diversified across market capitalization or across sectors or different companies to sustain the blows of volatility. d) Lower cost The funds charge a small % of the NAV or your gains from the fund as a management fee which is also known as the expense ratio. These are also regulated by SEBI and have an upper limit to ensure that the funds do not overcharge the investors. e) Fund switch options One can invest in a debt fund and have the plan to have a systematic transfer into equity or vice versa to match the risk appetite, financial goals, and other factors. f) Tax saving with equity linked savings scheme (ELSS) Mutual funds also allow you to save some part of your income and claim it for tax deduction under 80C. Rupee Cost Averaging: Investing in Mutual funds through SIPs averages the cost of purchase/unit. Regulation: Funds are highly regulated and are designed to ensure retail investor protection. Ways you can invest in mutual funds If you are a new investor, you will need to complete your Know Your Customer (KYC) compliances through distributors, online platforms, or mutual fund houses (KRA – KYC Registration Agencies) – SEBI registered intermediaries. This is a one-time mandated process by SEBI to prevent fraudulent transactions. 1. Through an agent An investor may contact an agent who would direct the investor to invest in different mutual funds based on risk appetite, investment horizon, goals, and other factors. There is no commission that is to be paid to the agent. The fee is paid by the fund house and is deducted from the expense ratio paid by the investor to the AMC. Login credentials are given by each fund house which enables the investor to receive real-time data on fund performance. 2. Asset Management Company (AMC) One can directly invest in the fund house through this route. However, the investor needs to perform some amount of research before choosing the fund and the fund house. He/she can walk into one of the fund houses for offline registration, post which, all the transactions can be performed online through their website. If an investor wants to invest in 5 different funds, each from a different fund house, he/she will have to visit 5 different offices. 3. Demat account The investor can directly invest in various funds of different AMCs, corporate bonds, government securities, ETFs, etc through one account. These can be managed from one single location – your Demat Account. However, one needs to pay an additional brokerage charge annually for maintaining the account in addition to the expense ratio (which is to be paid to the AMC). 4. Fintech investment platform These platforms are third-party mutual fund aggregators which aid the investor in investing the corpus after a detailed analysis of their risk profile, goals, investment horizons, and more and suggest the best funds to suit their requirements. They also offer the convenience of managing the investor’s portfolio through their user-friendly sites. Some of the popular firms are Groww, EduFund, Scripbox, FundsIndia, etc. 5. Stock exchanges One can invest through NSE or BSE, hence eliminating all the intermediaries/brokers. However, the investor needs to perform a thorough analysis before investing in any fund and ensure that the objectives of the fund match his/her financial goals, risk appetite, and other requirements. To go through this route, one needs to complete an online registration with NSE or BSE (a one-time process). 6. Registrar and Transfer Agents (RTAs) One needs to complete the application form and submit a bank draft or cheque at the branch office of the RTA post where one can visit any of the RTAs to start investing. Some of the popular RTAs are CAMS and Karvy. This route enables the investor to choose across multiple fund houses (instead of a single fund house – in the AMC route). 7. Mutual fund utilities It is a shared service platform that hosts all the fund houses (owned by several AMCs in the country) and is used for fund transactions. Investors can use this facility online or offline. 8. Investor service centers These are physical offices across the country belonging to RTAs or fund houses. They assist the investor with respect to all the steps in the investment journey – investment to redemption. FAQs What is a Mutual Fund? Mutual funds are investment vehicles that pool money from multiple investors and invest them into equity, debt, other related instruments, and asset classes after thorough research and analysis. Why Should One Invest In Mutual Funds? Mutual funds is the best way to enter the investment market. It helps you invest in multiple companies and the investment strategy is managed by experts. What are the ways to invest in mutual funds? There are many ways to invest in mutual funds: You can invest through an agent, directly with the AMC, through a Demat account, or through a third-party financial investment platform depending upon your goals and ambitions. Conclusion As an investor, you can use any of the above ways to invest in the mutual fund of your choice and enjoy the wealth generation that comes with compounding. You can start your investment journey by downloading the EduFund app and signing up. You can get started immediately and pay zero commissions.
A Guide to Taxation in Mutual Funds!

A Guide to Taxation in Mutual Funds!

In the early article, we discussed financial planning. In this article, we will try to under the taxation in the mutual fund system that applies to mutual fund investments.  Factors determining the taxation of Mutual funds  To know the taxation structure, first, you need to identify which type of mutual funds you have invested in and whether the fund you hold is an equity mutual fund or a debt-oriented mutual fund.   Along with this, the type of income that you are generating from the fund, whether a capital gain or dividend income - both these types of income are taxable in different ways.  Finally, your holding period is crucial in knowing the taxes applicable to your mutual funds' portfolio.  Earnings in mutual funds There are usually two ways in which money is earned in mutual funds: one through the selling of the mutual fund (capital gain) and the other through dividend income.   For example, if you are holding units of a mutual that you purchased at a NAV (Net Asset Value) of Rs. 100, and you sell it when its NAV of Rs. 150, you make a capital gain of Rs. 50; it is worth noting that capital gains tax accrues on the mutual funds' units only after redemption.   The tax will be payable when you file your income tax returns for the coming fiscal year.  The second way to earn from mutual funds is dividend income – the fund declares dividends for the holders based on the surplus that it has for distribution Dividends are taxable as soon as the dividend amount hits the bank accounts of the investors.   Source: Pexels Tax on capital gains  Here, there are again two parts to the story – whether the realized capital gains have come from equity mutual funds or debt mutual funds.   An equity mutual fund has an equity exposure of greater than 65%. For equity mutual funds, if the gains have been realized within 12 months of holding, then the applicable tax rate is flat at 15% on the gains (irrespective of your income tax bracket).   When the holding period exceeds 12 months, the capital gains of Rs. 1,00,000 are exempt from taxes. Any amount upwards of Rs. 1,00,000 is taxable at 10%, along with the provision of indexation benefits.  For debt mutual funds (funds with greater than 65% exposure to debt instruments) - the holding period is considered short-term if it is less than 36 months; anything more than that is long-term.  For the short term, the tax rate is in accordance with your income tax slab. On the other hand, for debt funds held for more than 36 months, the gains are taxable at a flat rate of 20% post-indexation (plus, some cess and surcharge are added).  A possible third case is hybrid funds (funds with a mix of debt and equity) it is simple, their tax treatment is supposed to be on the basis of the fund's exposure to debt and equity.  If the hybrid fund is equity-focused: LTCG is charged at 10% on capital gains exceeding Rs. 1 lakh (without indexation), and STCG is charged at 10%. If the hybrid fund is debt-focused: LTCG is charged at 20% with indexation benefits, and STCG is charged per income tax slab.  Tax on dividends  Now, when it comes to taxation of dividends paid out on mutual funds, it is done by adding the dividend to the investor's taxable income, and then the individual income tax slab rate is applicable; this is in accordance with the amendments made by the union budget of 2020.  Earlier, dividends were tax-free in the hands of investors since the companies paid the Dividend distribution tax (DDT) before sharing the profits with the investors.   Dividends (received from domestic companies) of up to Rs. 10,00,000 per year were tax-free in the hands of the investors during this period. Dividends above Rs. 10 lakhs were subject to a dividend distribution tax of 10%.  STT Aside from the dividends and capital gains taxes, there is also a securities transaction tax (STT).   When you acquire or sell mutual fund units of an equity or a hybrid mutual fund, the government charges an STT of 0.001%. It is important to note that selling units of debt funds are exempt from the STT.  Important points to note  There are tax-saving equity funds as well. Investments made under the ELSS (Equity-linked savings schemes) qualify for tax exemption under section 80C of the Income-tax Act (exemption up to Rs. 1,50,000).   Please note that ELSS schemes come with a lock-in period of 3 years – that is, investors cannot redeem the units before three years. LTCG (long-term capital gains tax) is not applicable for gains up to Rs. 1,00,000.   For LTCG more than Rs 1 lakhs, the applicable tax rate is 10% without indexation.  Taxation in the case of SIP (Systematic Investment plans)  Let us understand this with the help of an example  An investor invests Rs. 10,000 every month from April 2021, and another investor invests Rs. 60,000 lump sum at the same time.   When both of them redeem their funds simultaneously, Rs. 10,000 will qualify for tax exemption for the SIP investor because the investment made in 2021 would exceed one year as of May 2021. In contrast, the entire capital gain isn’t taxable for the lump sum. Investing in the long term can be more tax-efficient than holding the units for a short duration. FAQs How much amount is taxed in mutual funds? If the investor claims redemption in less than 1 year of investment, it would fall under the Short-term Capital Gains (STCG) category. The tax rate would be 15% on the gains earned by the investor. If the investor holds the investment for more than a year, (say April 2020 – May 2021), the gains would be taxed at long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax of 10% Is SIP in mutual funds taxable? Yes, SIP in the mutual fund is taxable. The tax amount differs based on the duration and returns generated Which mutual funds are tax-free? Profits from the sale of ELSS fund units are considered long-term capital gains and have tax exemption. Consult an expert advisor to get the right plan for you TALK TO AN EXPERT