Journey of an imaginary investor!

What’s the worst that can happen? A lot of my friends and readers ask me this question. What if I’m not disciplined? What if I buy a house beyond my means? Or invest money based on what my trusted family & friends tell me (even if I don’t have a clue)? What’s the worst that can happen?

Well, rather than sitting here and crunching numbers and showing you my results with incomprehensible tables and then trying to convince you, let me tell you a story. Remember Arush? Akshay Kumar’s ‘panauti’ character from Housefull? Let’s play God with Arush’s life.

No more strokes of good luck for him, unlike the movie, no good/rich friends or acquaintances. No exotic locations or countries either. Instead, let’s put him into our shoes, – our average, Indian, everyday-joe, shoes. And let his panauti streak run its course.

Let’s see what happens when life becomes brutal and how he pays for his ignorance and bad luck.

Imaginary Investor journey

The year 2011

Arush is a happy-go-lucky 28-year-old. Perfect education, close-knit family and a great job, with a salary that’s better than 95% of other people in our country take home. Newly married to Sandy! Great job! DINKy income! Life’s great! The sky’s the limit!

He has just taken a home loan for a spanking new 3 BHK in a cushy, lifestyle complex! A house is obviously needed! He needs to keep up with his cousin Ajay’s lifestyle too! Ajay has a duplex, dammit! And to think, his old friend and classmate Manish, suggested he rent a smaller house… Damn you, Chauhan! What do you know?

“Renting is so beneath me! And it’s not the done thing either! Such a cheap idea! What would people think? Forget people, what would Sandy think? Forget Sandy, what would her Anna think?! I’d be a laughing-stock, I tell you, laughing-stock! Nothing wrong with a big house. Nothing has gone wrong yet! Nothing can go wrong! Everybody does it!”

Harish mama’s sold him a few money-back policies. OK, a lot!

Arush doesn’t quite want to invest. He doesn’t understand the fundas. But, his pappa made sure Arush bought them & helped his mama out in his bad times. Akhir Apne hi Apno ke Kaam Aate Hain! and come on man, everyone has invested in money back plans.

They are “safe”. They provide the “best returns” (Agent mama’s words obviously). Pappa’s bought it, Pappa’s pappa bought it, Kaka bought it, heck even Nana has it as a part of his portfolio! All of them, obviously cannot be wrong! And Mama obviously won’t charge commissions on it, will he? It’s a gift for Arush, he’s family after all!

Is his Insurance Cover enough?

Arush feels his jaw drop, when Manish tells him, his insurance cover should be worth 1.5 crores because his family expenses are 40k/month. (It can be reduced to 30,000/month if he really tries, but who cares? The salary is going to increase yearly & he is the top performer of the team).

It hurts sometimes, that he hasn’t built a good corpus yet, but that’s fine! Anyways he is going to “invest systematically” next year onwards. It’s his New Year resolution! (This incidentally was last years resolution too).

Listening to Manish for once, Arush goes inquiring about the term life insurance plans. Guess what he finds… He has to pay only Rs. 20,000/year as premium for Rs.1.5 crores!, find your premium here

Wow! & Double Wow! My family will not have a single worry! So much security! But wait! What if, God blesses me with a long life and doesn’t kill me before the tenure ends? What happens to all my hard-earned money, I paid as premiums at the end of tenure? I don’t get the money in the end if I don’t die? Ridiculous!

What’s the use of the product then? Total waste! (read more on this). Better save 100% of my money then! Best ROI”. Suddenly his probability of dying has come down, I am not sure HOW!  Arush doesn’t want to lose 6 lacs in these 30 years. But he doesn’t realize that 6 lacs won’t amount to anything at all by 2040!

What about health insurance?

“Health Insurance? What’s that? My company already provides cover to me and my family! 2 lacs for everyone! Combined! OK, I know its not much, but I am so healthy, I go to gym and I drive safely, almost no chances of accident”

What about other people’s driving skills? Arush will feel smug & smart as long as nothing untoward happens. All it takes, is one minor illness, one small accident… to turn the whole thing upside–down! What if the expenses run to 6 or 8 lacs? (It very easily could!) Every one of Arush’s ‘plans’ for his family & himself will be really messed up.

And guess what? To top these hijinks, he goes out and buys the “Best Mutual funds” How does he know? He did a lot of ‘research!’. Research consisted of looking at bright shiny ads on billboards & on TV & in the paper, googling it, and checking out its performance over 6 months. (56%!) Arush is so happy! He’s already making vacation plans!

But wait? What about actual, boneheaded mistakes?

He recently bought Reliance shares a couple of days back at Rs. 2000… & now it’s at Rs. 1959. “Oh man! I feel so bad! I’m such a loser! Darn, all this tension has made me skip lunch! Think I should sell them tomorrow itself!”.

Arush doesn’t need the money tomorrow. He knows that equity gives good returns in the long run. Yet, he will still sell his shares tomorrow, because he doesn’t want to be a loser. “Ugh! Still feel so bad! How could I have bought something like this? I’ve been a winner all my life!

In studies, job interviews, work… I have always won! I cannot make mistakes. So this is how Arush is! Confused, yet unable to listen to good advice, unable to ask for help, a little too lazy when it comes to his own future, too impulsive, always wanting to be instantly gratified, a little too proud. Let’s leave Arush now, & play catch up with him at some time in the future…

The year 2014

Booya! The markets are zooming… The Sensex has crossed 40000+!!!. “I always knew this ‘Sensex’ company would rock! Just look at it! See its performance! Wow! I’m so good. I’d like to see the look on Manish’s face now! Calling my decisions, ‘unplanned!’, ‘with no understanding!’, ‘random!’ & what not! There! I showed you, Chauhan!

Investments have tripled. Just one more week now, and I will sell everything, and cash out!”. Oops! Something bad has happened! Markets are crashing!

15% down in a day. “It’s just ‘profit booking’”, Arush justifies to himself. “India is bound to shine in the long run!”. 1% up next day! , “See! I told you!” , 10% down again the next day! , “Chinese real estate markets are the reason! Our markets are de-coupled! It’s FII!” (that’s Arush talking through his hat, trying to show off!) . He tries to justify to himself and others around, that things will soon be better! But, his investments are now down 50%! Arush wakes up and scrambles wildly. Arush is in a blue funk!

Denial Mode

“I can’t sell right now, dammit, but I want my money back!” (Your money?) “It was 10 lacs some months back and today its just 5.1 lacs! Manish says even now, my investments are have given more than 25% return on a CAGR basis… But, I won’t take it! I am a ‘winner’! I won’t take less than what it has touched previously!”. Markets tank another 5% after that.

“Oops! I should have taken that 4.9 lac loss earlier, now its 5.1 lacs down the hole! Anyway, what’s the use of selling now? Whatever could have happened, has already happened!

Let it run its course. I know it will come back to it’s earlier level! And anyway, I am a long-term investor! Manish also says I should invest for the long term! (feels so nice somewhere in my heart, when I said that)”

A few months down the road… Arush suddenly needs the money for some reason in the next month or two. He decides to surrender get his endowment/moneyback plan money back now, since the matter’s urgent. Finding the agent is like tracking a lost animal in the forest… in the dark!

He finds Agent Akhiri Pasta after nearly a week of persistent hunting and calling…

Arush : Hi Pasta, remember me, Arush here, where are you man?

Pasta : (Obviously, I remember you, you dolt! You were my 1000th policy buyer which helped me win the bahamas trip)

Of course Saar! How can I forget you saar?

Arush : Hey Pasta, I need a favor yaar, I have a financial crunch right now, so I’m wondering If I can surrender my policy and get my money back .

Pasta : Oh, why not saar? We are always there to help you saar! You can take your money back… Come to my office in a week and lets surrender your policies (the initial years of high commissions have already passed, so I’ve already made my money! Hehe!)

Arush : Wow! You guys rock! Uh, how much will I get back?

Pasta : 60,000 saar!

Arush : No no no, hehehe! I am not taking about the interest part yaar. What is the total amount I get?

Pasta : (Sigh… Yes you idiot!) Its 60,000 only saar, Total amount saar!You are aware of surrender value before maturity, right saar?

Arush : Hey man! But, but, I paid 1.5 lacs in premium in last 5 yrs, what are you talking about ?

Pasta : Saar, didn’t you sign on those documents where we clearly mentioned that surrender charges will be blah blah blah… Have a look at your Documents saar. We are not doing anything against our rules. It is as per our policy saar, which we believe that you have cleared read and then took the policy ! .

Arush : Hmm, let me go look at those documents! (while wondering which part of the world are those documents in now)

Let’s just hope Arush copes with this panauti and catch him 10 years down the road

The year 2024

Arush’s life is going on, as usual, chal Raha hai, lots of expenses now! Children have grown up, a career that was “awesome” around joining and then “great” after a few years have turned “ok ok” right now.

After about 4 yrs into his ‘awesome job’, he finally realized that he was at the wrong place and couldn’t truly excel, but then it was too late. Can’t take any risk now, can’t rock the boat! Who will pay the Home EMI, the Car EMI, the jeans EMI and the EMI for the vacation they took last year?

So… chal Raha hai, chalne do! He drags year after year in the same job, which is now drab and uninteresting.

His home loan interest has gone to its highest level (which he never thought about, while taking the loan) and hence EMI’s have crossed their budget (the one he had originally planned.) While all these issues are haunting him, with all that tension, another serious incident happens!

An auto hits him while coming home. He’s critical! Arush is rushed to the hospital, there’s a month of Rona dhona, 9 lakhs of expenses, (come on guys, we are in 2024 now, not 2011). The company pays 2 lacs (doesn’t seem like a lot now, does it?), and Sandy organizes 7 lacs from his own wealth by breaking a Fixed deposit and selling some mutual funds.

But hey, look at the brighter side too! He saved 1.5 Lacs in Health Insurance premiums all these years… Did he not? (17 most asked questions in Health Insurance)

The year 2034

Life is really cruel to Arush, He never returns to home one day, He dies in another accident, a victim of a mishap. His insurance policies come to rescue. The company settles the claim of 10 lacs very fast. His family is in a deep problem though, Sandy cannot work, 1 Child is in 7th class and the other one is ready to go to college!

There are 20 lacs fixed bank deposits, but wait, the home loan still runs for 10 more years! All the money in Fixed deposit goes towards paying off that debt. There are other investments, worth 30 lacs. Let’s use that money now! The family life-style has sky-rocketed like anything in the last decade, & monthly expenses are around 80k per month. How will they manage?

Bad Financial Life signals

I personally see just one solution. Lets them eat once a day and stop the kid’s education, if they want to survive with that leftover money!.

30 lacs in the Bank generating a monthly income of 25k per month (Only if interest rates offered on FD’s are 8% in year 2034!, which is very rare !), all they just have to lower their standard of living, such an easy thing to do! . But hey, look at the brighter side too!

Arush did a very good thing, He saved so much in his premiums by not taking Term Insurance! Smart Husband, I wish every woman gets a husband like this and every child should get a Father like Arush.

Its called being mean, who will suffer now, Arush? NO!

The year 2044 (an alternative scenario)

Imagine if Arush didn’t die! That panauti didn’t happen and he just grew old like the rest. Its Retirement time, the time to reap benefits of one’s investments throughout life! Arush hasn’t actually accumulated a lot of wealth for his retirement! He didn’t take it seriously all his life.

Overall investments in mutual funds were never left to rest so that they could compound well, major investments in Insurance Policies and Fixed Income instruments never actually gave a better return than inflation. Even though his wealth has grown to close to 1 crore, it’s actually peanuts now, in 2045!

His expenses are Rs. 2 lacs/month! How did he forget about Purchasing Power? Even though this 1 crore looks big enough all those years ago, this will not give him more than 80k per month. Even if he lower’s his standard of living, he can’t live comfortably! He is retired now. Too late worry about these things!

Everybody wants to enjoy their life after their working years!

But for poor Arush, there are few choices! None of them, good! He can be dependent on his children, or he could lower his standard of living or cut off a big part of his desires after retirement or worst case, convince himself that he is interested in some part-time job which he can do comfortably. God forbid if there’s an unforseen medical problem which he didn’t account for, at this stage in life!


With this article, I have tried to show you how things can go wrong at each point in life and what your financial life can look like if you mess up with your money. It’s the time to take care of your finances and plan for it well! . Yes!

Situations are exaggerated in this article. It was just to show you the worst that could happen. Beware! Be Prepared! Be Wise!

Share your comments on what do you think about the story?

Post Office Monthly Income Scheme (POMIS) – How it works and Rules

Are you looking for a safe option to invest your money and earn decent returns? If yes, then I can explore one of the post office schemes. Today, we look at post office monthly income schemes (POMIS) which are not that well-known among urban investors. We often look to fixed deposits and other debt options to park our money or generated monthly income. But the monthly income scheme post office offers myriad possibilities. Let’s explore!

Post Office Monthly Income Account

Post Office Monthly Income Scheme is one of the post office schemes which gives you a guaranteed return on your investment. Anyone who wants to generate a monthly income can open this account and get an assured monthly income. You get an 8% interest per year, which is payable on a per month basis. You will get the interest each month from the date of making the investment, not from the start of the month.

For example Ajay invests Rs 4.5 lacs in the post office monthly income scheme. His interest per year is Rs 36,000 @8%, hence he gets Rs 3,000 per month as income. If you do not withdraw the amount for some month, it would not earn any interest and just lie in the account.

This post office saving scheme does not come under sec 80C so there is no tax-exemption for the amount you invest in this, and interest income is taxable, but there is no TDS cut in this scheme. Read 7 Tax saving Tips

You can deposit the money in the POMIS with cash, demand draft or local cheque. Once you open a monthly income scheme account, you will be issued a scheme certificate and a passbook to record the transactions against the post office MIS scheme.  The maturity period of this scheme is 6 years. You will also be eligible for a 5% bonus if you retain your scheme foe 6 years, so eventually, your overall return including this bonus can turn out to be around 8.9 %.  There is a limit on the amount you can invest in POMIS. It’s limited to Rs 4.5 lacs for a single account and 9 lacs for a joint account. You can have any number of accounts, but within the overall upper limit.  There is no compulsion to take your money out after maturity, you can leave the money in the account, but then it would earn the interest equal to saving bank account for the next 2 years only.

Getting Interest income in your Saving account

You get to withdraw the POMIS income amount by directly going to the Post-office. However, there seems to be a bit of confusion,  if you want the income in your savings bank account. According to per some resources, you can get it credited to your savings bank account,  provided it’s in the same post-office. But elsewhere, some guys confirm that you can provide ECS information at the time of opening the account and get the interest amount created in your Bank account (see the list of cities covered by Post-office). I found the comment below on this website, where a user claims of using ECS.

YES! you can opt for a ECS facility whereby your monthly interest amount will be credited to any savings account of your choice (here HDFC). After you open the POMIS account, you need to fill up the ECS form, attach a blank cheque of your HDFC savings account and you’re all set. You don’t need to open a Savings account at the Post office just for credit of monthly interest.

The information I’ve given here is authentic, because I’m personally using the ECS facility.

Pre-mature Withdrawal from Post-Office monthly Saving Scheme

Even though the maturity period for POMIS is 6 yrs , there is a facility to break it and take your money out. However you can take your money only after 1 year. You have to pay some penalty which is as follows

  • If you break it within 1-3 yrs: 2% penalty on Deposit amount
  • If you break it after 3 yrs: 1% penalty on Deposit amount

Example: If you deposit Rs 1 lac in  POMIS , and want to take money out in 2nd year,  you will have to bear the penalty of 2,000 and you will get back 98,000. If you take money out in 5th year, you get 99,000.

Confusion of returns by mixing POMIS along with RD?

There are some claims which say one can invest the monthly income coming from Post office monthly income scheme into the Post office RD and earn a return of 10.5 %. This at first looks amazing, but its kind of untrue and marketing gimmick. I did a XIRR analysis of the whole cash flows and found out that considering everything , your final and actual return is just 8.77% , which means that when you invest your money in POMIS , direct all the monthly income to an RD and at the end when you get the maturity amount along with the bonus of 5 %, in total you have made an annual return of just 8.77%, which is quite ok considering the safety and conservativeness of the product. But considering the tax to be paid at the end of the tenure, again you might not get great Real Returns! , Remember that the RD comes for the 5 yrs, but it can be extended for 1 more year and it can be made for 6 yrs.

Returns from POMIS + RD

However, the Post office website claims that you earn 10.5% when you put your monthly income into an RD, which is just to attract investors and not give a complete picture. This 10.5% figure is actually only after considering the bonus amount you get at the end, If you remove the Bonus of 5% from the scene , then the return drops to 7.92% . In the below example, you can see that a person who has invested Rs 1,20,000 will get Rs 800 as monthly income , and he gets 72808 as maturity amount from RD, 1,20,000 back as the initial investment and 6,000 as bonus amount .

Scene 1 : If you consider the 800 payment per month in RD for 6 yrs and the maturity amount of 72,806 at the end of 6 yrs , then the returns are just 7.92% (XIRR)

Scene 2 : If you consider scene 1 along with the Bonus amount also , which means you get 72,806 + 6,000 Bonus also = Rs 78,806 , in that case your returns are 10.32% , but its misleading as this bonus is the cost of your 1,20,000 getting stuck at one place for 6 yrs and not an RD feature . So this is not the right way of looking at it . (See chart above)

In case of scene 2 into consideration , then the return from “Only POMIS” is just 8% , but if you consider POMIS + Bonus only then its 8.91% .

Note that this setup operates automatically, you have to set up this once and then no more overseeing. It will happen automatically each month (official link)

Other Features of Post Office Monthly Income Scheme

  • A minor above age 10 years can open an account on his/her own name directly. There is a limit of 3 lacs for guardian and it would not be clubbed with guardian limit (More on Clubbing rules)
  • Non-Resident Indian / HUF cannot open the Account.
  • Interest not withdrawn does not carry any interest.
  • Your POMIS account can be transferred  from one post office to any Post office in India free of cost.
  • The amount deposited in POMIS is exempt from Wealth Tax


You have to make the nomination for your Post office monthly Income scheme at the time of applying, however, if you don’t do it at the time of opening, you can also do the nomination later. Incase of the death of the account holder the money will be paid to the nominee.  Read more on nomination here.

11 Faces of Investors : Which one is yours ?

What kind of investor face do you have ?  Each and every one of us leads our financial life in a different way and we have an internal design, based on our beliefs about money. In my interaction with thousands of readers and dozens of paid clients, I can see each one of them with a face and I am sure you would be able to identify yourself with your face today. You will enjoy it 🙂

Cribbing Investor : This investor always find problems with the system, he keep on blaming Regulators, agents, companies and everyone else but not himself! He cribs at every one and about every thing around, from how he was mis-sold an endowment policy 8 yrs back to how IRDA never responds. The biggest mystery is how the agent “forced” him to pay! Did he shoot him or what! You can find him on all the reviews site complaining about some product and how he was cheated.

I-want-everything-Free Investor : This one needs everything for free or at throwaway price. He’ll say “It’s very expensive,  Will get back to you later” to a financial planner after hearing their fee, and then he’ll buy a ULIP with 100% allocation charges in first year! . He won’t find this expensive enough! You might be the right advisor for him and they badly need your help, but the moment you tell them it would actually cost something, they would say “Ohh .. Tab to nahi chahiye” ..

Lost Investor : These are the investors who have literally no idea about anything! He gets confused between Filing Tax returns vs Paying Tax. They get confused between IRDA, SEBI and RBI! If an agent comes to them and shit jargons on their face, they will most probably buy it as they feel bad to admit that they are dumb in the area of personal finance. This guy also thinks that 80C is compulsory and keeps buying unsuitable products every year with personal loan.

Fun-Making Investor : These investors are very naughty. They are experts and make fun out of situations. If they get a sales call, they ask tough questions like “Can you tell me IRR of this product?”, which leads to a call escalation to the senior manager and fills the trainee with guilt! This guy also records the call and posts it on youtube and facebook (example). For them, sales call they get is nothing but a way to practice english speaking, its free and no one points out their vocabulary mistakes!

Virgin Investor : These are fresh entrant in the area of money, who don’t even know what’s CTC and Take-home salary and choose the jobs based on CTC figures and cry later. When it comes to personal finance, they have no idea of how customer cares irritates, why disclaimer is written in small fonts, how agents look at them as targets! . They also feel that CFA or CA are great in personal finance.

Not Interested Investor : They are just not interested in Investments. Only at the gun-point you can force them invest and even then, they will start an SIP of Rs 1000/per-month and start skipping their breakfast ! . They dont claim their LTA, medical bills & even HRA, it’s too much of documentation and you have to physically move from one place to other, not worth the effort! And why take term insurance for spouse, they can always re-marry.

Fantasy Investor : These investors live in fantasy world when it comes to money. Even in today’s world their aim is to become a “crorepati” (calculate). Misselling a product to them is an easy thing, make product illustration with unrealistic numbers & present it to them, make sure you have cute children pictures on it, it helps!. They also learn Forex/Currency trading or Future & options and think they can do it part-time. They also have many investment books with bookmarks !

Pissed-Off  Investor : These investors get pissed off with everything. If Insurance company increases the premium because they are smoker, they get irritated . If their demat account charges him a yearly fee, he is irritated. He is also irritated because his mutual fund now ranks 3rd, which was a top performer when he bought it. They get pissed off at ICICIDirect site for not opening at right time and they are forced to sell their stock at Rs 156 instead of Rs 157 sometime back ! .

Informed Investor : Tele-marketers really cut their name from their lists, as they get embarrassed each time in front of these investors by talking something non-sense. These investors happily let their SIP’s run irrespective of markets. They were able to conclude that term plan is the only insurance product they should buy and not Endowments, as they know maths and are open to use their common-sense.  They dont go for the free coffee mugs at investment seminars conducted here and there!

No-Idea Investor : These are investors who have no-idea about things in their financial life. they often find their insurance policies and other important papers here and there. They struggle to mention the funds name in their portfolio . Their Policies get lapsed often,They have no idea why they are saving, Their demat accounts are active from years and they have no idea that they are paying yearly charges . They never match the actual spending and their credit card bills, ever!

Tax-Saver Investor : These investors are really mad about tax-savings!. Their financial life is at mercy of tax-saving products. You can suddenly see a new energy in them after Jan 1st each year. If you need blood, you can get it from these investors provided you convince them that they can get a tax exemption on that. Mention a section like 80K or 80Z for faster response. His last wish in life is to find out everyone involved in designing Direct tax code and then kill them to death one by one, slowly!

Read these 7 tax saving tips with Video

Mirror exercise to change your financial face

I am sure you were able to identify which face above resembles yours 🙂 . Do you think you were born with that face ? No ! . We all are born with same face and while we were growing up and finally entered this stage , something happened ! and we got a face and there are many factors which resulted in it . Starting from our upbringing , our relationship with money and how kind of memories we have about money .

Lets do a short exercise which would help you change your face and give you a new direction. Make sure you do this exercise seriously, else just skip it.

Step 1 : Look into a mirror and think about all the situations like investing , thinking about hiring a planner , when you got to find out those hidden charges in the ULIP , when customer care does not entertain you etc . Note down what are your expressions.

Step 2 : Go back and see which faces above resemble your expressions , It can be a single face or mix of some faces , which is fine .

Step 3 : Now look at your own financial life closely. If you look deeper I am sure you will be able to identify some things in your financial life which would are just not working, you feel stuck at it . It can be “not able to save more” , “Fear of loosing money” or something like “I keep delaying taking actions” .

Step 4 : Now ask yourself, how do those financial faces which you are carrying from years is helping you to in solving your financial mess ? How do you use the energy from your current financial faces to transform your financial life ? I am sure you will not have any clue because that the blocking point ! . You financial face which you are carrying from long time , would not help you in coming out of your stinking financial life.

Step 5
: You need to change your face, now ask yourself which is that face/faces above which if you had would help you ? Which would make sure you slowly change the way you look at your financial life . Try to change your face soon , slowly , but do it !

Note that this small exercise is for you to realise that its only you who is responsible for your current financial face and your financial life . So let me know which expression will empower you as an investor?


When it comes to your financial life, Have a good face. Go for a facial. Hire a financial counsellor or mentor in your life, who can guide you and show you the possibilities which you have never imagined. Read some stuff which would help you transform your financial life . So which face resembles yours out of these 11 faces ? Which one do you think are negative faces and which one’s are positive? Share your thoughts ?

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Monthly Income Plan : A detailed guide on MIP’s

Monthly Income Plans– When you hear it for the first time, you get a feeling that it’s some kind of assured and non-risky product that will deliver you uninterrupted monthly income, but it’s not exactly that way. Do you have a lot of cash which you want to park somewhere with the expectation of better returns than a Fixed Deposit? Are you looking for some kind of instrument that will give you regular income with decent returns with moderate or low risk?  If yes, welcome to the world of Monthly Income Plans, which are also known as MIP’s.

Monthly Income Plans

What are Monthly Income Plans?

An MIP is nothing, but a debt-oriented mutual fund that gives you income,  in the form of dividends – simple as that. As MIPs are debt oriented mutual funds, they invest heavily in debt instruments like debentures, corporate bonds, government securities, etc. It generally has 75-80% of its money in debt and rests in equity and cash. The income you can get from MIP is not limited to the monthly option. You can also choose to receive income quarterly, half-yearly or annually. Just like any other mutual fund, the MIP too comes with two options.

1. MIP with Dividend option: MIP’s with dividend option provides you an income in the form of dividends. There is an option to receive this income monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly. So you have to choose the option at the time of buying the MIP. Note that while the dividend from MIPs is tax-free in the hands of investors, the company has to pay a dividend distribution tax of around 14% on the dividend before it reaches your hand. So your returns reduce by that much.

For example, If a company declares a dividend of Rs 3 per unit, they have to pay 42 paise (14%) as a Dividend Distribution Tax and you will only get the remaining amount in your hand , on which you don’t have to pay any tax. I hope you know, that the NAV of your MIP will come down by Rs 3 after the dividend is declared and given to you. So don’t shout your excitement to all the world when you get dividends, it’s just your own money which you got!

2. MIP with Growth Option: Here, the money is not paid out to you in forms of dividends, instead it keeps growing in the mutual funds. Hence your money is just growing inside the fund itself and you can reap all the benefits at the time of redeeming the funds in the future. In this option, you have nothing to do with dividends. Note that you get the power of compounding in growth options because your returns also earn in the future. Here is an article on the difference between dividend vs growth option in mutual funds to give you a better idea of what I am talking about.

Features of Monthly Income Plans

1. Dividends can be declared only from the profits and not from Capital

Regulations demand that dividends can be paid only from surpluses and not from capital investment. What it actually means is that dividends can be declared from earned income only. If your initial NAV was Rs 10 and after a month the NAV rose to Rs 10.2, The dividend can only be given out of this 0.2 and not from the initial capital value. This makes sure that Company can not show to the world that they are constantly giving income in case they have not done well.

2. No guarantee of Regular Income

The biggest myth about Monthly income plans is that they provide guaranteed monthly income, which is not true (See this question asked by Krishna on our Forum).  While the aim of MIPs is to regularly declare dividends, it might happen at times, that they do not declare any dividends because of bad performance. To top that, there is no regulation or oversight on the MIP’s part to declare regular dividends. So take it on the chin, if you don’t get your income once in a while.

3. MIP’s return is influenced by interest rates and stock market

Just because it’s a debt oriented product, It does not mean that they are “safe” . Even MIPs can give a negative return, but in extreme cases.  The debt portion is influenced by interest rates. When the interest rate falls, the NAV rises as the price of bond increases. When the interest rate rises, NAV falls. At such times the equity portion of the fund helps to maintain the return. Here is an article on Interest Rates and how they affect Mutual funds.

4. MIPs are prone to mis-selling because of a high commission structure

MIPs offer lucrative commissions to agents as much as 1-1.5%  unlike 0.5-.75% in Equity funds. Due to this, it becomes easy to missell MIP’s as they can be labeled as “Safe Funds” and “Monthly Income Plans” which Indians like to hear a lot.

“Look what happened after the abolition of entry load in mutual funds in 2009 .  From the last 1 Year, the corpus of MIP schemes have seen a huge inflow all over India. Last year, the total industry AUM was close to Rs. 3700 crore and today it is well over 24500 crore. In this entire period, equity funds AUM have gone down. Now when the intentions itself are not good, needless to say that the outcome will be right. Many investors are not aware that there is an EXIT Load of 1% in almost all MIPs if you were to withdraw before one year & in some cases even 1.5 years.” – says Hemant Beniwal on this Forum post

Taxation of MIP’s

MIP’s are debt funds and hence the taxation is same as debt funds .

Short Term Capital Gains: Any profit before a year would be Short term capital gains and it would be added to your income and taxed at your slab rate. So for investors who are in higher tax slabs it would be wise not to sell their MIP’s (in case they can) before a year, else there will be a good amount of tax on your profits.

Long Term Capital Gains : Any profit you get after 1 yr in MIP would be taxed at 10 per cent without indexation or 20 percent with indexation, whichever is lower.

Short Term and Long term Capital Loss : The best thing about MIP’s over FD’s or Post office schemes is that incase you have any loss in MIP’s , you can set it off against the capital gains in the same year or in next 8 yrs , which makes sure that even losses can be used for tax saving purpose.

Dividends : All the dividends received from the MIP’s would be tax-free in the hands of investors,  but note that companies already pay Dividend distribution tax from the MIP’s

Read more on Short term and long term capital gains

MIP’s save money for bad times

Think about ants! They make sure that they save enough food for the rainy season, so that they don’t fast in bad times. In the same way MIPs do not declare all the earned income as dividends, instead they declare a part of earned income as a dividend and save rest for troubled times in future.

This makes sure that when there are bad days in future and MIPs do not see much growth, they can use the money saved, to declare dividends. For instance, in 2008, despite bad markets, 19 funds skipped only up to four monthly dividends.

However, a lot of MIP’s didn’t perform that well and could not save the part of earned income in a proper way. Hence they had to skip all 12 months dividends. Eg., Canara Robeco MIP Mn Div, which skipped all 12 dividends in 2008 and 9 months dividends in the year 2009. See the chart on the right to get more insight into how MIPS missed their dividends. Source: LiveMint

Beware: There is one more option called dividend reinvestment in MIP’s apart from Dividend payout and growth . If the payable dividend is less than Rs 250, then the dividend would be compulsorily reinvested.

Who should Invest in MIP’s ?

1. Investors looking for regular Income

If you are retired/semi-retired or just looking to generate some regular income can look at MIP’s as an option. Note that instead of choosing a monthly option of income, I would rather suggest a quarterly or half-yearly option .

2. Conservative investors looking for better returns

Are you a conservative investor but still looking for better returns than pure debt options like Fixed deposits or Insurance policies? Well, you can’t get 100% safety with MIP’s, but there are very good chances that you would be getting better than FD returns with MIPs.

3. Investors who want to park a big sum of money

A lot of people have questions like “Where to park my lump sum money for medium-term with lower risk ?” If your horizon is very less – like 6 months or a year, MIP’s might not be the best option, but if you want to park it for 2-3 yrs with low risk, MIPs with growth option can be a suitable instrument .

MIP vs Fixed Deposits/ Fixed Maturity Plans/ POIMS

You might get confused between so many debt products and might be wondering how Monthly Income Plans compare to Fixed Deposits (read this post by Deepak Shenoy) , Post Office Monthly Income Scheme or Fixed Maturity Plans (FMP) . There are various parameters on which they all differ . Below is the chart which shows you those differences .

Monthly Income Plans , Best MIP for Investments

Two ways of getting income from an MIP

We will see two different ways of generating monthly/quarterly income through MIP’s Monthly. One is the regular way of choosing a dividend option and the options one is starting a Systematic Withdrawal Plan from MIP after a year of buying it. Let’s look at both and its pros and cons …

1. Choose dividend option

The good point in this option is that you will start getting the income immediately as the company starts declaring the dividends, and you don’t have to take care of taxation issues. However, the bad side is that eventually 14% dividend distribution tax would be paid by the company and the stability of income will depend on how often dividends are declared by the company. If they skip the dividend you will not be getting the income for that month/quarter.

2. Choosing growth option and start SWP  (Systematic Withdrawal Plan)

If you use a bit of strategy, you can create a more stable and more tax efficient income by this method. You can choose growth option in MIP and after 1 yr you can start a SWP (systematic withdrawal plan , opposite of SIP) from your MIP to your bank account . What will happen with this option is that you will not have to depend on companies dividend announcement , as it’s your decision to liquidate a fixed part of your MIP’s, sell it and get the money in you bank account . Also as you are doing it after 1 yr, there wont be any exit load and the profits you get out of it would be Long term capital gains , so you only pay 10% on the profits (assuming you don’t want indexation benefits), which is 4% lesser than the dividend distribution tax . If you have a large amount of investments in MIPs, then this option can save some tax for you, but if your investments aren’t significant enough, it’s not worth the hassle .

Some best performing MIP’s  in Market

One of the readers Sagar asked his query on our forum: “Which is the best Monthly income plan ?“. While there is no guarantee that the MIP which you choose today will keep performing well always, but I have got a list of MIP’s which have done excellent in past and still look good. You can choose any of these if you are disciplined enough . Once you choose them make sure you concentrate on regularly investing in them without looking at their performance every week or month. Just review them in a year or so . watch out for the expense ratio of the MIP’s, lower the better

Monthly Income Plans , Best MIP for InvestmentsConclusion

So the main takeaway from this article for you should be to understand that MIP’s can be good alternative for you if you have been investing a lot in Fixed Deposits and do not mind taking small amount of risk. Another important point was to look at MIP’s are income-generating products with understanding that sometimes the income can go for a toss in between and you have to comfortable with that.

I would love you hear your comments on monthly income plans and do you feel that it can be helpful in your portfolio , share with us !

A video on 7 Income Tax saving tips you might not know

Are you bored of regular income tax-saving tips? Are you looking for some tips which are different, kinda unique and not very well known?

If yes, then you’re reading the right article, mate! I will share some tips which would help you in the area of income tax saving. Some of these tips will help you in this, current year and some, at some later point. But helpful at some level, they will be:). Below is a video on this topic where I explain those 7 tips.

In case you don’t want to watch the video, you can just skip it and move forward to read the tips in the text. Let’s look at them. If you are reading this article on email, you can watch the video on Youtube here

7 income tax-saving tips

1. Gift money to your major children and Save tax on Future Income

Imagine this, you have Rs 25 lacs. Logically you put this in a fixed deposit or invest in some other financial product through which you get an interest at 8%. You will get Rs 2  lacs as interest which will be added to your income and you pay tax on this income. Not good!

Now what? How do we save tax on these 2 lacs? As per income-tax laws, you can gift any amount of money to your major children without attracting gift-tax and as their money will become theirs any income arising out of it would be treated as their income, not yours. In case their income is below the limits, there won’t be any tax.

However, there can be times, where you might not feel too comfortable gifting away large amounts of money to your major children, in which case, there is another option of giving them loans. And guess what? you can make interest-free loans to your major children as per the law.

Please note that doing exactly the same thing with your spouse is not possible. Any income you transfer to your spouse which generates any income will be treated as your income only. However, if you are going to be married in some months and you have some big amount of cash, you can gift her right away, as a gift given to prospective wives would become hers lawfully.

I hope you liked this first point on income tax-saving tips

2. Claim stamp duty and registration fees in 80C

Many people dont know this, but the Stamp duty and the registration fees of the documents for the house can be claimed as deduction under section 80C in the year of purchase of the house. An important point to note here is that you should be in possession of the house if you want to claim these deductions.

So in case of under-construction properties, you lose out on claiming this deduction. As per the income tax

The stamp duty, registration fee and other expenses incurred for the purpose of transfer shall also be covered.

Payment towards the cost of house property, however, will not include, admission fee or cost of share or initial deposit or the cost of any addition or alteration to, or, renovation or repair of the house property which is carried out after the issue of the completion certificate by competent authority, or after the occupation of the house by the assessee or after it has been let out.

Payments towards any expenditure in respect of which the deduction is allowable under the provisions of section 24 of the Income-tax Act will also not be included in payments towards the cost of purchase or construction of a house property.

3. Get deduction for rent even without HRA

Do you get HRA

All the salaried class people get HRA from their companies, and hence they claim deductions on that. However, what if you are a self-employed professional or working for a company that does not provide you HRA benefits? Can you still claim HRA? Yes! But with some caveats.

Under Section 80GG, you can claim a deduction of the rent paid even if you don’t get HRA. However, not many people are aware of this deduction. If you are not being paid any HRA or don’t have any housing benefits from the employer. You can claim least of following 3 things as HRA

a) Rent paid less 10% of total income

b) or Rs 2,000 a month;

c) or 25% of total income.

Note that your spouse or minor child should not own any house with the city limit if you want to claim this benefit, You will have to submit a form called 10-BA that you are paying rent and not receiving HRA.

Bonus tip : If you are staying with your parents, you can pay them rent. If they don’t have
 significant income, it would mean you  save  tax on rent paid and even your parents income does
 not cross the  tax  limits, which is a win-win situation.

4. Declare your losses in a tax return to save tax in future

A lot of people do not show their losses in shares, mutual funds, gold ETFs, real-estate in their tax returns. This is a big mistake, as you lose an opportunity to save tax in future years. You can set-off your losses against profits in the current year as well as in the future too.

For example: Assume you had sold your real-estate property and made a profit of 10 lacs after indexation. You will have to pay a tax of Rs 2 lacs @20%. However suppose in the same year you have also made a loss of Rs 4 lacs in stocks, you can set-off this loss with your 10 lacs profit and just pay tax on Rs 6 lacs, which comes at 1.2 lacs only. That’s a cool 80k in savings!

Also if you have only losses this year and no profits, you can show this loss in your tax returns and carry forward and set-off this loss against any future profits for the next 8 yrs. For more details read this article.

5. Buy House with Parent or Siblings as joint-owners

Yes, if you thought only spouse can be co-owner in the real-estate property to claim the tax deductions, you don’t know the whole story.

You can have your spouse/parent/siblings as co-owner and all the co-owners can claims the tax deductions of 1 lacs for principal and 1.5 lacs for interest part. So if you take a housing loan with your siblings as co-owner of property and co-Borrower of loan, the loan amount interest and principle paid will be available for tax exemption in the ratio of your loan amount.

So if you are still a bachelor or a single who wants to buy a house, consider asking your brother, sister or parents to become the co-owner so that both of you can get tax benefits and reduce your tax outgo.

The only problem, in this case, is that loan-sanctioning companies are very stringent in giving loans to siblings, as there are higher chances of you parting your ways with them later in case of any family issues, however, in case of a spouse it happens lesser.

Bonus Tip : The co-owner who falls in the higher tax bracket should  hold a higher proportion
of home loan to make sure that the tax  benefits are maximised.

Income Tax saving tips

6. Use education loan to lower tax for your Children in Future

So what, if you have all the money to pay for your children’s education fees? It would be wise to opt for an education loan in the name of your children’s name as you can claim the full interest paid on education loan under section 80E. Note that it’s only is available if you are a parent or a legal guardian .

You can’t claim a deduction for your spouse education loan 🙂

The other thing is that you can take an education loan on your children’s name so that after some years when they pay off their loans, they can claim the deductions themselves. Apart from this, they’d be more responsible and this education loan payment from their pocket will make sure that they don’t spend too much money in the wrong places and you can use your money today somewhere else!

7. Take unlimited deductions for your second home loan interest payment

This one is the last tax-saving tips we will discuss here. If you have already bought a first home where you are living right now and want to buy another house, the good news is that you can claim full interest paid for the EMIs of the second house. As per tax laws, you can claim full deductions for the amount paid as interest on the loan for the second house.

For the first house you can claim up to 1.5 lacs in interest, however for your second house you can claim the full amount of interest without any upper limit. Read some tips on buying real-estate

Which of the above income tax saving tips were new for you? Please comment.

Why every investor should create a Personal Finance blackbox ?

How many different types of information, do you have stored in your head, relating to your financial life? Your PAN? Your policy details and where they are stored? That fixed deposit, which you opened up some years back? Maybe, you’ve kept the documents in the top cabinet of the red almirah, but no one has any clue about it! And if someday, God forbid, you die suddenly, and your family needs information in a hurry, where do they look? Where do they go? Yeah, eventually, they will figure it all out, but only after a whole lot of time wasted (weeks, months, even a year!) and a lot of heartburn! Why not create a better situation for them ?

Personal finance emergency kit

How about spending a few hours to make an emergency kit which has all the info, they might need at any point of time, so that they don’t have to get frustrated every time, they figure each investment / insurance policy, home legacy? Isn’t that a great idea? Here’s an example. Just to find out how to get the insurance claim settled, they have to start from scratch. They will start enquiring with others, search the internet (if they know how), and various other means. They might not have a clue that whom to contact and what options they have. Won’t it be the better, if they can find everything directly from you? TODAY? The kit is a kind of ready-to-use first aid box, only it relates to your overall financial life. Handy dandy for your family, if you’re disabled or immobilized or… dead! What normally, would take many months for them to find out – by playing connect the dots – can be given to them before hand, ready made & beautifully packaged! 🙂 This might seem embarrassing to many, but bluntly out, you choose!. Minor shyness / embarrassment now, or huge problems & inconveniences to your family later. Note that this whole emergency kit making will not help you today much, but a lot to your family at some later stage, read this article

What all details you can have in that kit?

  • Important Details of your life
  • List of important documents and their locations, eg.,  Passport, Driving licence,  PAN etc.
  • Important instructions for them to carry out, once you are dead. Eg., insurance claim process, steps to selling off some property, claiming the bank account, investments etc.
  • Important contacts, like the CA , lawyer, your stock broker and their details.
  • List of all assets and liabilities you have
  • All your investment and bank details

Following is the sample of how you can store that information in a tabular form.Personal Finance Documents for emergency

Who should make this kind of Document ?

If your spouse and parents are financially literate and are from this generation who surf internet, know how to find out information somehow, you won’t fully appreciate the beauty of this whole exercise. I’ll bet my hat however, that that isn’t the case :). Most of the spouse do not take much interest in these financial matters . Ergo, you can see, how important this document can be for your family! This can turn out to be one of the best gifts you ever make them.

Ideally, you should make your spouse aware of this. However many wives/parents don’t want to hear about death and deliberately don’t pay attention. This document is especially for those situation.  We must print it out and give one copy each to wife and one to your most trusted friend or relative. Also you can have this document stored in a Bank locker and tell a trusted friend about this fact that there is a location which has all the information which your family might need some day.

Important Instructions in the Document

Make sure, you mention all the things which you wish your spouse/parents/children to do or carry out.

It can be things like

1. Life Insurance claim procedure

Give them detailed instructions on what they should do to claim your Insurance amount from the Life Insurance company. It can start from contacting the agent, filling up the forms, making sure all the documents are in place, constant follow-up with company etc.

2. How to use your life Insurance money for future

Once they get money from your Life Insurance, suggest how they can channelise it into different instruments based on their understanding, risk-taking capability and the amount of ease you want them to have in dealing with those.

3. How to Break FD’s or redeem Mutual funds in case of emergencies

Put some details in, on how they can break the FDs or redeem the mutual funds, in your name, in case of emergencies.

Sample of an Instruction for Life Insurance Claim

Ajay has taken Amulya Jeevan Term Insurance policy for Rs 50 lacs cover. Ajay lives in Mumbai . He would write something like this.

Steps you should follow for claiming the Life Insurance cover money in case of my death.

I have a life insurance policy “Amulya Jeevan” with Sum assured of Rs 50,00,000. In case of my death, you should follow this procedure.

  1. Meet our Agent named Mr. Funsuk Bangdu and ask him for the claim settlement forms , incase he is not able to give it to you , you can download it from LIC website
  2. You should make sure you also have original policy document which I have kept at ________ .
  3. Make sure you have you proof of title like PAN , Driving Licence etc AND marriage certificate copy .
  4. Make sure you have taken my death certificate from ____________ which will act like my proof of death , this is Important ! .
  5. Incase I die in accident, also have a proof of accident, this you can get from police station or hospital.
  6. I have stored all the Medical treatment at ___________ , also keep with you just incase its required.
  7. Incase LIC asks for my employer’s certificate, I have kept it at __________ or you can also ask my friend Robert who works with me and can help you on this , See this article to understand how someone you trust can help you .
  8. Incase you face any issue in getting claim settlement, take help of Ombudsman whose address is as follows .

Shri S Viswanathan

Insurance Ombudsman, Office of the Insurance Ombudsman,

3rd Floor, Jeevan Seva Annexe,S.V. Road, Santacruz(W),

MUMBAI-400 054. Tel : 022-26106928, Fax : 022-26106052
Email :  [email protected]

Note : Worst case scenario — try to get help at or contact who can help you further in this regard!

This was just an example! You too, can mention detailed instructions for key things, which you feel can create issues for your family or where you feel they might get stuck because of lack of knowledge .

Download a Template

Now, this whole kit & caboodle won’t take more than a day, and it’ll be extremely helpful to your family and loved ones. And, to save your time and as my small New Years gift to you, I have created a template for you, to use 🙂 Just download it in any format (pdf , doc or image ) and fill it up .

Take Action today! Unless you take action, reading this article is worthless!. Share what you feel about this idea of creating a master document which would help your family in case of crisis. Do you want to add some more points which you feel i have left out? How much value do you feel one will add to his/her financial life by doing this? And aah… one more thing. Don’t forget to update this document every year 🙂

Bonus : Do you want to look at how our questions and answers Forum is helping VidyaSagar take his frist steps in personal finance ?