Investing money is not the same as saving it up. While savings help you build up cash reserves over time for various needs, investments help the money grow. Indeed, it is possible to make money grow at such a rate that it could become an alternative source of income!
In this article, we discuss the various investment options available, their pros and cons and in which scenario you need to be investing in each of them. Perhaps, you already have a Fixed Deposit or an insurance plan. What you need now is a way to judiciously invest money in order to make it grow. It is time to move from savings to investments.
Here are a few investment options available to you:
- Fixed Deposits: FDs, as they are better known, are used to store away large amounts of cash in a bank for extended time periods. They are a secure investment and offer guaranteed returns. However, the FRDI bill mandates that a bank’s liability on FDs is only up to INR 1 lakh. Any investments beyond this number could fall into trouble. Hence, it is important to do your research on the banks in which you wish to open an FD, especially in the current scenario of bank frauds and scams.
- Insurance: Insurance is a financial asset. Many people are tempted to opt for insurance policies that also have added benefits and assured returns. However, insurance has the lowest returns amongst all options. Hence, it is better to opt for term insurance and not go after policies that sound very lucrative.
- Corporate Bonds: When it comes to this investment category, research and prudence on the investor’s part is very important. Depending on your risk appetite, you may choose to go for bonds with a lower rating as they promise higher returns, but we recommend that you stay with AAA rated bonds as much as possible, as the potential risk of a lower rated corporate bond is much higher than the possible returns.
- Mutual Funds: MFs are very diverse as far as investments go. MFs can be debt, equity or tax-saving mutual funds. Both debt and tax-saving MFs give a nominal income that is 1-2 percentage points higher than an FD. An SIP can be compared to a recurring deposit, but unlike an RD, it gives on average 17% returns.
- Real Estate: Real estate is not yet an investment asset in India and is meant more for your consumption as a commodity. That said, land often appreciates in value over time so it may be prudent to include some land assets in your investments. Ideally, you need to ‘buy and forget’ for a few years until the land value appreciates. Also, be sure to have all documentation in place for ready reference if the need arises.
- Gold: Gold falls somewhere in between being a liquid asset and an illiquid one. For the purpose of this article, we have put it under the illiquid asset class. Gold is both an ornament and an investment. Women are traditionally in favour of gold investments. However, most jewelers do charge several fees over the base price of ornamental gold which in turn may depreciate its value as an investment. If you are investing in gold, know that it takes time to see good returns.
Other Investment Options
Apart from these options, you can also invest in commodities, currency, futures markets, etc. if you are serious investor who follows the market on a very regular basis and understand when to invest, when to stay put and when to exit.
Cryptocurrency is another investment avenue that is gaining popularity due to the skyrocketing returns it seems to promise. However, the cryptocurrency market needs to be regularized, and it needs to stabilize, before it can go from speculation to an actual investment.
You can also consider being an angel investor. As an angel investor, you invest your money in a growing company for a fixed stake. As the company grows, so does your wealth. Most angel investors choose to invest in a domain they are proficient in, and some investors often involve themselves in the operations of the company the invest in.