Connecting Your Financial Goals to Mutual Funds

Are you like…Rohit, who decides to redeem his investments when markets decline and doesn’t see any improvements? OR Roy, who decides to redeem his investments when markets rise and wishes to safeguard his gains? OR Raj, who decides to continue with his investments no matter which route the markets take?

If you have invested money towards your financial goals, be it long-term mid-term or short-term, it is imperative that you stay the course and keep your long term plan in mind irrespective of market swings. Moreover, if you have matched your investments with your financial goals, you would want to see the end result by the end of your investment period. How do you create a comprehensive investment plan that fits your lifestyle and nature? Do you have a plan to stay committed in good times and bad? Whatever be your objective to save for the future, the key is to find investments that match your financial goals by investing in products that will generate enough returns.

Below are 5 key factors that will help you match your investments to your financial goals: 1. Be realistic when jotting down your financial goals: It is important to list down and prioritize goals that are specific and measurable. Financial goals vary from person to person. Before you can begin to manage your money, you need to identify what is important to you. This helps you create a foundation to decide what you plan to do with your money. Get a pen and paper and write down what is important to you and use your list to help you determine your financial goals for your money. You should do this today if you haven’t done it already. 2. Determine your time horizon: Ideally you should divide your goals into three ‘savings buckets’: Short-term goals (accomplishable within a year), mid-term goals (accomplishable within one to five years), and long-term goals (accomplishable in five-plus years). • Short-term goals usually span between one to two years. You can easily invest your money in a savings account to accumulate a small amount of interest – hopefully not erased by inflation – thereby having enough money for that new mobile or laptop that you wanted to buy. • Mid-term goals are more or less like short-term goals with the added condition that you’d need the discipline to stay put for a little longer, between say two to five years. For eg. The desire to purchase a new car would fall in this category. • Investments into equity mutual funds usually fall into the category of long-term goals. Parking your money in such investments has the possibility to generate tremendous benefits after five-plus years. With equity funds it’s important to have an idea of where you want to be several years down the line. For instance, if your financial goals are to build a retirement corpus to live a comfortable retirement life or if you are keen on sending your children for higher education abroad, then equity based investments are advisable if such goals are far away. 3. Decide your asset allocation and assess your risk tolerance: Your risk tolerance is your level of comfort with the ups and downs of investing. Make no mistake – markets will fall and rise again at some point. In order to make the best investment for you as an individual, you will want to find assets that match your risk tolerance. Identify the assets (such as equity, debt or gold) that would make up your portfolio according to your goals, risk appetite and investment horizon. Allocate funds in more than one asset class. 4. Pick the right investments that match your goals: Investments need to be matched correctly with your goals. For instance, if you plan to invest in long term-goals such as your child’s education or buying a house, equity oriented mutual funds should be the preferred choice of investment, as they have an ability to provide good returns in the long-run. 5. Evaluate your portfolio from time to time: Just as you do regular health check-ups from time to time, it is necessary to regularly review your portfolio consisting of your goals and investments. Portfolios need to be reviewed periodically to ensure you are investing in the right instruments. Investors need to take into account factors like inflation, changes in the standards of living, addition of financial dependents which may lead you to increase, amend or remove certain goals. When new goals are considered, investors need to start investing more depending upon ones age and risk appetite.

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