real-estate

Real Estate vs Mutual Funds

“Put your money in land, because they aren’t making any more of it.”

-Will Rogers

A famous quote that many people believed in. People could not stop bragging enough of how their land and houses which cost peanuts before, were worth so much in a few decades. We’ve all heard the stories and rantings, but is it really true? Mr. Will Rogers, the famous American actor, made this quote in April 1930; over 80 years back! Since then there was a World War, India gained independence from the British and went through fourteen Presidents. How relevant are his words in our present scenario?

Most of us are familiar with the past stories of real estate; how a piece of land in the 60’s cost peanuts and is now worth a thousand times more but is that the story? Real Estate is still considered one of the greatest investments because it provides several tax incentives, it can be financed or used to leverage for cash when needed. But that’s not all that it has, let’s look at the other side of it.

The value of real-estate is clearly unpredictable; the property you buy today may be worth 10 times more or completely worthless years from now. There is a tremendous amount of time and energy that you spent on real estate with payment of taxes and utility bills, keeping it in good condition and also selecting new tenants as and when needed.

It allows the investor to gain value through modifications, but such value add-ons do not guarantee you anything in return. The everyday news carries dispute cases that have been under litigation for years for fraud, title, contract breach, etc. It can be used as leverage for cash, but when looking to sell it, it is difficult to find a buyer and the urgency of the situation may lead you to sell at a much lower value.

Still, do you want to put your investment in Real Estate? Let’s look at the current market. The total demand for urban real estate is estimated at 4.2 million units during the period 2016-2020 across the top cities in India. Sounds great right? But know this too, over 4.5 lakh homes remain unsold in the cities of Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai, despite the huge demand in the market. The homes are either priced higher or are not placed in a good location. Considering all of this, real estate is not the best investment.

But how about Mutual Funds?

This is a vehicle to invest in diversified avenues of investment. It has the added benefit of cover from inflation in the market, and the premise of diversification there is much less to worry about. Mutual Funds has a range of funds that cater to the investor’s return and risk appetite which is professionally maintained by the fund manager. It provides various tax benefits and has high liquidity. Moreover, the number of AMCs have doubled over the past 3 years or so, and according to Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), over 70,000 new distributors have started to offer mutual funds over the recent years. Now that is a market worth investing in!

If rewards are the cheese and you are the mouse looking for it then Real Estate is the trap that promises you the tasty treat that tricks you to an investment that is ultimately a liability. The pain of dealing with realtors, settling legal disputes, having to put all your money with no immediate benefit is not what you need from an investment. 

Don’t invest in better, invest in the best!

investment

The Portion of Debt in your Investment Basket

Did you know that even as a kid in school we had a portfolio of investments? We’d divide our pocket money to get our candy and our favorite cake, sometimes we would have small savings to buy those shoes, or even loan it to a friend for a while. So as we grow our portfolio becomes bigger in terms of scale and range of investments. We focus more on security and future. But how much of our total portfolio should go into these channels? Why do we have to have debt instruments?  Diversification was the first rule learned in investing. The story of when we put all our eggs in one basket and it all breaks when the basket falls down, is familiar to all investors. But perhaps you never got to the part of hstow many eggs and in which basket should we put it in. 

Debt is the basket which offers you security. But the word itself doesn’t give a ring of security because it is often associated with words like ‘loans’. In truth, however, it is essential for every person to invest in some debt instrument in his lifetime. The different products include Public Provident Fund, Fixed Deposit, Bonds, etc.

So when it comes to giving a slice of your portfolio towards debt instruments here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The choice of the debt instrument is vital. So ask yourself what do you want it to do? The answer should either be to providing money on short notice or provide stability to long-term investments, both of which is given by debt instruments.
  2. Focus on just the top debt instruments and leave the rest. If you try to pick too many of debt funds you tend to have a mediocre investment which gives high safety but low returns. Don’t try segregating eggs in that debt basket so much.
  3. The allocation of your investment in Debt instruments should be in proportion to your age. The younger you are, the better it would be to invest in growth-based schemes(equity). When you get older you must focus more on stability(debt).

When it comes to Provident Fund or Pension Fund, that are retirement schemes by the Government of India, its sole purpose is to set aside money from a person, preferably during his employment and return it back in a lump sum along with a small amount of interest.

The Public Provident Fund is one of the kinds of PF accounts for any individual at any age, even for an infant. The greatest benefit of this is the returns which are completely tax-free. The account stands as your loan to the Government at the advantage of receiving a tiny amount of risk. It allows you to invest a minimum of Rs.500 to a maximum of Rs.1.5 lakh per year so as to ensure the account remains active for the lock-in period of 15 years. The PF or Pension Funds are to safeguard your lifestyle after retirement, but they are not the only debt instruments you can rely on. Read more about PPF on the MyWay Wealth website.

A Fixed Deposit is a popular stowaway for your money which saves upon a fixed rate of return during its term. It is applicable for tax and is affected by inflation in the market. It is suitable to use as an emergency fund. Suppose you have a wedding to host or pay for your parent’s medical bills it can be immediately withdrawn to meet those expenses at a reasonable penalty. Whereas, as an investment, it is not a suitable option as it guarantees neither safety nor growth. To know more read the article at MyWay Wealth’s Blog about Fixed Deposits.

It’s quite a dilemma, isn’t it? The PF or PPF is an important long-term savings scheme for a retirement corpus. However, as mentioned before if the expectation from your debt basket is to help in cases of emergencies a Fixed Deposit would work much better. The PF focuses to help you in the long term and the FD will be more reliable as an emergency cell. Click here to know more on that.

Wouldn’t it be great to have one that serves as both in the long-term and act as an emergency fund? In uh a case Mutual Funds are the way to go! Specifically, the Debt Funds in the Portfolio that invest mainly in bonds, giving you security, relatively higher returns, and high liquidity.

Real Estate

Investments in Real Estate, not very Realistic

Home Sweet Home. It’s such a secured feeling to own land and have your property on it. The pride is immense and overwhelming.

Brokers also use these emotional flavours to sell properties. The ease with which one gets a loan these days has lead the masses to invest in real estate easily, but not wisely!!

We have heard our elders say, “Invest in real estate, the future value of the property will earn you a fortune”.

Is this really true?

Here are 6 reasons not to invest in Real Estate.

  1. Low Liquidity:

We buy property with the hope to sell it at a higher cost. But what if an emergency arises and we want liquid cash immediately. Remember your urgency in selling a property is a treat to a potential buyer. Because, your dire need for cash would lead you in selling your property at a lower price than its true value.

  1. Low returns

Most real estate investments fetch you the same amount of return as that of Fixed Deposits. Lines from Nishant Agarwal (managing partner and head (family office), ASK Wealth Advisors )“Considering the rising interest rates and high maintenance cost and tax on rentals and capital gains, I would not suggest investment in physical real estate”.There is no guarantee that you would find occupancy if you are depending on getting income in terms of rent.

Which means, it’s obvious you’re not getting index-beating returns..

  1. Unpredictable

I remember my dad saying  “20 years before if I had bought this house in Kammanhalli, I would have been a crorepati today”. Why?

Because rates increase in real estate depending on the property’s location not on how much you spend on the house, or how does the property look, which makes real estate an unpredictable asset class.

  1. Tracking is a pain.

Mutual Funds are managed by Professional Fund Managers, you have apps to give you alerts, even if you owned more than one scheme.

But how would you track real estate? How do you know that the broker dealing with the property is not a fraud? How would you track your property? You can’t track it daily, can you?

  1. Government Regulation

But the recent disruption announced by our Prime Minister, through “Demonetisation” has curbed the circulation of Black Money by stripping the status of our currency unit.

People don’t even let properties on lease these days, then forget buying a property. Thus reducing the demand of real estate in the market.

  1. Additional expenses.

You need to shell out a bomb to buy a property. Many opt for loans. But in addition, there are other expenses that come along with a property:

  • Maintenance charges
  • Finding a tenant
  • Commission to brokers
  • Utility Bills
  • Taxes

This is exhaustive both financially and physically.

The next time you want to Invest in Real Estate, Think!!

There are better options to invest such as  Mutual Funds. Direct Plans, SIPs, Gold Funds or Equity Mutual Funds help you with wealth creation in the long term. Use “MyWay Wealth” to discover, track and invest in Mutual Funds.

Debt

The Debt Story

Parents always warn us not to be in Debt. “Better to go Hungry to bed than to wake up in Debt” is what our dads would say in a stern tone. But why?
It has a simple reason! The word Debt is often referred to as borrowings such as a car loan, home loan or credit card loans. It reminds of the hunting calls from the credit card companies.
But, these are conventional thoughts.

As for the newer ideology… DEBT means products with “ RETURNS”.

The usual feeling that comes with “Investing” is “Fear”. They are normally two sides of the same coin, to most investors. But like Warren Buffett says
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
Knowledge is what you require to make your first move in investing in Debt Instruments. The finance part, you will eventually figure it out once you are familiar with Debt and stop fearing it.

Here are few Debt Instruments and also a set of alternatives that will help you in your course of investing:

1.Savings Bank Account: Savings account is a necessity, not an instrument anymore. They encourage savings, are highly safe with their moderate interest rates and are flexible when it comes to withdrawing your money when you need it.

2. Bank Fixed Deposit: These are the most trusted funds because they give moderate yet periodic returns with Average interest rate of 4%-7 %. You get your principal amount back once your term is over. All this with zero risks. This fund is essentially useful when you want to park your money aside for an Emergency. One of the easiest ways to invest is to opt for smaller Fixed Deposits so that you don’t lose the entire interest on your deposit when you have to break it for an Emergency.

3.Provident Funds: If you are employed then Provident fund is your pie. Provident fund is the accumulated amount one gets on retiring from his/her job. The accumulated amount is the contributions one makes during the employment period.

Public Provident Fund: This instrument is provided by the Central Government to employees who are self-employed and those at the unorganized sector. These are long term savings scheme that provides income security at your old age. This investment is famous for guaranteed returns, tax benefits, withdrawals after lock-in periods and is voluntary. Both Provident Funds and Public Provident Funds are definite items in your investment list as they secure your life after retirement.

4.Recurring Deposit: When you hear Recurring Deposit, remember SAVINGS. Recurring Deposit is quite similar to fixed Deposits. The difference is that in the recurring deposit you deposit a fixed sum every month in a recurring deposit account for a fixed tenure and you earn interest on these deposits, thereby you practice the habit of saving.

Warning Bell: The usual jazz that brokers give when they sell schemes is “Higher Returns”. Ever wondered how, say, for example, Real Estate manages to provide high-interest rate. The trick is, Higher Returns is a sugar coating for the Hidden Risks. An easy thumb rule is to keep the Interest on Bank FD as your benchmark. Any scheme providing an Interest rate higher than that a Bank FD, will have the factor of higher Risk. However, there is a way to earn higher returns with Debt too with the help of Debt Mutual Funds.

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