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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Should you invest in lump sum or gradually?

Some frequent investor questions I face go like this:

'I have some spare cash. Should I invest it gradually in SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) or in a lump sum?'

'I have recently booked some profits from my portfolio. What should I do with the cash?'

'The market has moved up so much. Should I keep my savings in a fixed deposit or in a liquid fund?'

The answer will be different for different investors. Why? Because no two investors have the same financial situation. Some have aged parents to take care of. Some have EMIs on their residential accommodation. Some are planning to get married. Others have young school-going children.

But if I had to give a single answer, it would be: 'Follow your asset allocation plan.' (If you don't know how to go about making an asset allocation plan, read Chapter 12: How to Reallocate your Assets in my FREE eBook.)

Once you have an asset allocation plan in place, it will be a lot easier to decide what to do with your spare cash. If your equity allocation is too high already, don't buy any more shares. Invest in fixed income, or a gold ETF or in a liquid fund.

If the market is tanking and your equity allocation has dropped below your benchmark level, then only venture into equities. If you are unable to decide which stock to buy, then buy some Nifty BeES or an index fund.

The thumb rule about investing a lump sum amount - which you may have received as a gift, or as a bonus, or due to the maturity of a long-term investment - is to invest all of it, but without deviating from your asset allocation plan.

The best avenues to invest systematically and gradually are additional amounts in your company provident fund (or, Public Provident Fund for the self-employed), a bank recurring deposit, or a SIP in an index fund.

May be all three together. You may be surprised by the tidy sum that will accumulate after 5 years.

2 comments:

Jasi said...

Sir,

I'm still highly indebted to you for a discussion we had on the very same topic.
Although you have another blog post on a similar topic but the points you have raised here are very pertinent nevertheless.

Thanks, as always!
Jasi :)

Subhankar said...

Appreciate your comments, Jasi.

This is a question I face quite often, so I thought it needed emphasising. Many new visitors to the blog may not have read my earlier posts.