Investing can be a tricky business. But there are many safe investment options that offer multiple benefits. Regardless of whether you have an appetite for risk, here are five investments that you must have in 2016.
Make this a priority in your investment plan. The National Pension Scheme (NPS) is a voluntary pension scheme that allows you to save systematically during your working years and to retire with adequate income. Contribution to NPS is eligible for an additional income tax deduction of Rs 50,000 under Section 80CCD. So, you can save an additional Rs 16,000, if you fall in the highest tax bracket. The extra deduction of Rs 50,000 raises the total deduction allowed under Sections 80C and 80CCD from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. Moreover, NPS is portable across jobs and locations. It can be opened at any bank registered with the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority by anyone aged between 18 and 60 years.
Sukanya Samridhi Yojna
If you have a daughter aged less than 10 years, here is an initiative to ensure her financial security and independence. Sukanya Samridhi Yojna (SSY) is a saving scheme with interest rates that are higher than for fixed and recurring deposits. The scheme is designed to reduce the financial burden of marriage and education for your daughter. The current interest rate is 8.6 per cent per annum. With SSY, you have to stay invested until your daughter turns 21. This works as a steady and compulsory saving mechanism. The minimum deposit is Rs 1,000 per month.
To meet your long-term financial goals, you need investments to grow your money. Mutual funds can do that for you. Even if you have a low risk appetite, investing in top mutual funds through a systematic investment plan can provide good returns in 2016. You could also switch or diversify your risk by investing in mid- and small-cap mutual funds. Some options, based on CRISIL rankings, are SBI Blue Chip Fund, Kotak Select Focus Fund, and Mirae Emerging Bluechip Fund. If you are new to mutual fund investments or prefer short-term gains, fund managers can help you make investment decisions based on your future needs. You can make investments online from the comfort of your home or office, and receive regular updates through phone or email.
Public Provident Fund (PPF) has a fabulous reputation. Much like NPS, PPF is geared towards saving for retirement. Moreover, it offers high return at low risk. Other similar investments tools like fixed deposits (FDs) provide a high interest rate of up to nine per cent, as against 8.7 per cent for PPF accounts. But the interest earned on FDs is liable for tax deduction. Meanwhile, PPF remains tax-free on maturity. It also offers tax exemption of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh under Section 80C.
Investment in gold has always been a long-term means for wealth creation. It diversifies your portfolio and serves as a hedge to minimise risk. In the event of a market crash, gold prices either remain unaffected or might even rise. Besides, as a result of many newly introduced schemes, you can now deposit gold in banks in exchange for gold certificates. You could also purchase gold bonds issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The price of the bonds is linked to the price of gold and you get an interest of 2.75 per cent. Thus, you not only earn interest but also save on the carrying cost.
Due to the lower interest rates and the launch of affordable housing schemes, you could also gain by investing in the realty market using the ‘buy now, sell later’ approach. But your selection of investments should be tailored to suit individual priorities and goals.