There are a couple of ways that you can invest in a Mutual fund; one is a one time payment and the other through periodic investments. The later is termed to be Mutual Fund SIP. When you go for one time investments, you just hand over the cheque and you get your fund units depending on the value which is called Mutual NAV (Net Asset Value) of the units on that particular day.
When you go in for this kind of investments a couple of factors creep in that determines the number of units you get. A small percentage of your investment is charged as an administrative fee and is termed as entry load. The other charge that is levied is the Mutual Fund NAV, which is the price of the unit of a fund. Say if you are investing Rs 9000/ and if one particular unit costs Rs 30/, then the total number of units that you get to purchase is 300.
The other type of investment is done periodically instead of a one time down payment. This kind of investment planning is called Mutual Fund SIP (Systematic Investment Planning). This type of investment is done when you tend to go for high capital gains and you need to invest a bigger amount, but find it difficult to invest it at a single time.
It is then that the concept of Systematic Investment Planning creeps in. If you intend to invest a sum of Rs 10,000/ into a particular Mutual Fund, but your current financial obligations prevents you from doing so, then with the concept of SIP, you breakdown your investment principle into equal installments month wise. If a monthly investment of Rs 1000 is done at the end of the year you end up investing a sum of 12000/.
Unlike general investment where you pay an entry load, SIP usually doesn’t charge any fee, though as of late some companies have started to in the form of exit loads, which is a fee charged when you sell your units.
The minimum amount that has to be invested during a one time investment is Rs 5000/, where as incase of a SIP it could be Rs 500/ or more (depending on the company). In most cases payments through SIP is done month wise, but companies also gives their customers the option of making the payments half-yearly or quarterly.
Payments are basically made Electronic Clearance Service from your bank; this means the mutual fund will, as per your instructions, debit a certain amount from your account every month. If you don’t have the required money in your account, then for that month, no units will be allocated to you. But, if this continues periodically, the mutual fund will discontinue the SIP.
It is a compulsion that you state to the company as to how long you long you would want the SIP. After that during the course of the period if you realize that you can’t continue with the SIP, all you have to do is inform the fund 15 days prior to the payout.
The SIP will be discontinued. You can continue to keep your money with the fund and withdraw it when you want. The amount invested till then will be considered as the total investment made. Investing in Mutual Fund through SIP makes your budget more disciplined.
Every month you are forced to keep aside a fixed amount. It helps you make money over the long term. Since you get more units when the NAV (charge/unit) drops and fewer when it rises, the cost averages out over time. So you tide over all the ups and downs of the market without any drastic losses.
In case of SIP basically no fees are charged, but if you sell your units in a year time you pay and exit load. Hence it pays to invest in a longer run. The best way to enter a mutual fund is via an SIP. But to get the benefit of an SIP, think of at least a three-year time frame when you won't touch your money...
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