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Author: Debarati Roy

Tax Saving Options: Where Should You Invest Your Money

Investment for tax saving is something that confuses every individual. A plethora of choices but an inadequacy of information. So here are the list of all investments and their tax benefits that will definitely help you decide further.

tax saving options

ELSS: Equity Linked Savings Scheme

The financial year 2017-2018, brings a new India under demonetisation and various schemes changing the nature of Tax Saving Act. Equity Linked Savings Scheme is a Mutual Fund which is diverse in nature. It is viable for Tax Exemption under Section 80C. It has a lock period of 3 years meaning that no withdrawal can be done from the ELSS account for 3 years.

Under this scheme, all investors will be having a two-way benefit: high returns on the investment and deduction of taxes.  The biggest advantage here is that dividends that are gained under ELSS schemes are exempt from taxes thus the profit returned is high. Also, ELSS has a short lock period enabling the investor to access the amount invested and the returns easily. All in all, ELSS is the best place to invest your money.

ELSS Rating: 10 Star

Read: Mistakes to avoid while investing your money in ELSS

NPS: National Pension Scheme

The National Pension Scheme has been revised and a New Pension Scheme has been introduced for the benefit of private and semi-government employees. Under this scheme, apart from all government employees, the private employees will also receive an annuitized pension amount on investment in NPS. A huge benefit is that an additional deduction of INR 50,000 will be made in taxes for a citizen investing in NPS.

Thus, the tax deduction on contribution to NPS will be 2lakhs rather than the stipulated 1.5lakhs. When compared to ELSS, the lock period is higher and even after retirement, only 40% of the investment can be withdrawn. Also, the returns may not be as high as ELSS dividends. But as far as tax saving is concerned NPS is an excellent scheme.

NPS Rating: 9 star

NPS: Should you invest your money in NPS

ULIP: Unit Linked Insurance Plan

The Unit Linked Insurance Plan, commonly known as ULIP is like an integrated insurance policy that gives the benefits of both an insurance policy and an investment scheme. It is a flexible scheme that enables the investor to switch between diverse options, invest in other linked schemes or surrendering of the policy. ULIP is viable for tax benefits under the section 80C.

Along with that, the returns on the investments are profitable. The only disadvantage is that withdrawal is not possible from a ULIP account till the sum matures. But apart from that, it is a risk-free scheme giving a three-way benefit: tax savings, returns on investment and insurance cover.

ULIP Rating: 8 Star

PPF: Public Provident Fund

The Public Provident Fund is an integrated monetary savings and tax savings account. This scheme aims at providing a flexible saving by allowing investments and good returns along with tax benefits. The PPF account is an attractive investment scheme as the interests on investments are completely exempt from taxes.

Related article:

How To Open A Public Provident Fund Account

The only drawback is that PPF is monitored by the government hence the interest rates may not be as high as private Mutual Funds. Otherwise, it is an excellent option for someone who is building up a long terms savings account for the period after retirement. PPF also allows benefits in taxes for nominees of the primary account holder.

PPF Rating: 8 Star

VPF: Voluntary Provident Fund

The Voluntary Provident Fund is an extended version of the PPF wherein an investor is allowed to add a stipulated value to the provident fund periodically. It is viable for tax deductions under Section 80C and an amount up to 1lakh can be saved under it. An additional benefit of VPF is that it helps an investor increase the financial assets in the provident fund from time to time. The interests gained on VPF investment is not taxable till the interest rates reach 9.5%. So the disadvantage occurs when the interest rate becomes 9.5%. Otherwise, it is an excellent tax saving and investment option.

VPF Rating: 7 Star

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a government scheme introduced by Narendra Modi to empower a girl child and ensure proper education for her. The parents of the girl child investing in this scheme will get tax benefits as per Section 80C. Plus the returns on investment made to this account will be used for funding education expenses for the girl child. The disadvantage of this scheme is that it is gender specific so a large number of people cannot avail it. Also, the returns are sometimes insufficient in fulfilling all requirements. But other than that it is an excellent scheme for both tax saving and providing financial security to the girl child.

Sukanya Samriddi Yojana Rating: 6.5 Star

Senior Citizen Savings Scheme

The Senior Citizens Savings scheme is to support all senior citizens by increasing the return rates on their investments. It is an attractive tax saving scheme but the returns are taxable at source if the interest amount exceeds INR 10,000 per annum. Otherwise, it is an excellent scheme with high return rates specifically designed for senior citizens.

Senior Citizen Savings Scheme Rating: 6 Star

NSCS: National Savings Certificates

The National Savings Certificates, most commonly known as NSCS are a risk-free investment option for all working citizens. The investment in NSCS can be made for 5 years or up to a decade and it generates a fixed income like fixed deposits. An annuitized fixed income is returned on this investment at a rate of interest decided by the government of India. This scheme is viable for tax deductions under Section 80C only if the interest gained from NSCS are shown as income. An annual investment up to INR 1 lakh is to be made for tax savings. So apart from the fact that NSCS ensures tax savings only after a few hassles, it is a good investment option with high returns.

NCSC Rating: 5 Star

Bank FDS: Fixed Deposits

Bank Fixed Deposits are a long term investment schemes with fixed returns on maturity. All schemes under fixed deposits do not qualify for tax deductions. Thus to ensure tax saving through Fixed Deposits, an account known as Tax Saving Fixed Deposit needs to be commenced. These fixed deposited are viable to tax deductions up to 1.5lakhs like other tax saving schemes. Though in the long run, the returns generated will not be as high as ELSS. Also, the withdrawal policy is not flexible but it ensures tax savings and a good lump sum after maturity.

Fixed Deposit Rating: 5 star

Related Post:

5 Reasons You Should Invest In A Fixed Deposit Today

Pension Plans

Pension Plans enable an investor to contribute part of their savings in a pension scheme. This amount matures like recurring deposits and thus generates huge monetary accumulations. Thus good income can be gained from pension plans after retirement. The only disadvantage is that no returns are generated from pension funds till the investor reaches an age of 60. Also, after maturity 2/3rd of the returns are treated as income and are taxable at marginal rates. But initially, this is viable to tax deductions up to 1lakh under Section 80C. Thus pension funds help in tax savings for 1/3rd of the lump sum and provide an excellent accumulation, financially.

Pension Plan Rating: 4 Star

Insurance Policies

The tax deductions are separate for all insurance policies. In the case of life insurance, an individual is liable for tax deductions up to 1.5lakhs. After the death of the insured individual, all proceeds are tax-free. In the case of health insurance, the tax deductions are INR 20,000 for senior citizens and 15,000 otherwise.In case the insured individual is facing a life threatening health condition, all proceeds are tax-free.

Also Read: This is why you should invest in LIC

Thus from the tax saving point of view insurance policies do not have much to offer. But in the long run, insurance is an important necessity.

Insurance Plan Rating: 3 Star

 

Is NPS A Good Investment Plan?

The National Pension Scheme primarily aims at benefiting the employees of private and semi-government organisations. The ones in government sectors were liable to a pension after the retiring age. But the same did not stand for private and semi-government employees. Under the administration of PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory And Development Authority), the New Pension Scheme under National Pension Scheme was introduced. This provides annuitized returns to private and semi-government employees on the basis of their application for an NPS account.

Investment in NPS

Benefits of NPS (National Pension Scheme)

NPS is an investment scheme that should be given value. For an employee of a private firm, NPS has multiple benefits:

  • Low Investment Cost: The minimum amount to maintain a Tier-1 account is INR 6000 which makes a minimum INR 500 monthly. Thus the initial principal amount is very less.
  • Tax Benefit Under Section 80C: If an individual invests in a Tier-1 account, he is liable to tax deductions under section 80C of the Tax Framework. Under the new budget, an additional tax exemption of INR 50,000 will be provided for investing in NPS. Apart from that, the usual benefit states that 10% of the salary invested in NPS will stand for the deductions up to 1.5lakhs. Thus a total deduction of taxes is 2lakhs.
  • Flexibility: Opening a Tier-1 account was risky if a case of emergency occurred. This is because the withdrawal of the amount before maturity was taxable. The new flexible NPS states that after retirement 40% of the funds in NPS can be withdrawn without taxation. The remaining 60% will become annuitized for returns.
  • Diversity: NPS provides many diverse investment schemes in the form of EGC investments. E is Equity Investment, G is Government Bonds and C is Constant or Fixed Return Investments. An individual when investing can diversify the principal funds among these three options as per their needs.

Drawbacks of National Pension Scheme

  • Lower Returns Than Other Equities: The Equity Scheme under NPS is comparatively less profitable than the rest of the market. Equity Investment is an investment in stocks that generates returns on the basis of dividends. Thus the return rate is much higher in the market.
  • Withdrawal Is Restricted: The amount invested amount is taxable on withdrawal. Even after the retiring 40% funds withdrawn is not taxable. While it is not a very big disadvantage considering normal situations, but in a case of a risky scenario, this can become very disadvantageous.
  • Low Return Rates On Annuitized Amounts: For being liable to a monthly pension after retirement, a minimum of 40% of the maturity amount needs to be contributed to annuity investments. But the return rates of these investments are very low as compared to other investment schemes.

Is NPS A Good Investment Plan?

In the light of benefits provided by Mutual Funds and Employee Provident Funds (EPF), NPS is not very attractive given its low return rates on annuity investments and the withdrawal policy. To secure their retirement with annuitized funds from the government, then investments should be made in the diverse schemes, EGC. Maximal profit returns from investments can be gained by contributing to a variety of schemes together like NPS, Mutual Funds and EPF. This will help reap benefits from all and excellent returns both in terms of tax deductions and maturity amount.

Why You Should Invest In LIC

Life Insurance Corporation or LIC is the largest and most trustworthy investment policy.  Having great diversity and worth is what makes it gain the confidence of every individual who has invested in it. What makes it the best is that it understands the need of its investors and offers the appropriate policies that cater to that need. Here is why LIC should be the first choice.

LIC policy

LIC Is A Government Backed Policy

LIC was the oldest life insurance policy to be introduced in India. Therefore it gained a lot of trust from the nation making it a government-backed policy. The market of today faces a huge economic reform. In such a scenario a government-backed organisation will be in a more advantageous position than any private insurance company because it will provide better security and cover.

Flexible Organisation

Since it was first introduced LIC has been one of the most flexible life insurance companies. It recognises the demands or various investors based on their role and net-worth. Thus it has framed various different insurance plans according to the needs of its customers. These policies are not very expensive and offer a variety of benefits alongside.

Benefits Provided By Various Plans

LIC has 4 diverse insurance plans that cater to different needs:

  • New Endowment Plan
  • Money Back Plan
  • Jeevan Anand Plan
  • Jeevan Saral Plan

New Endowment Plan provides a strong financial security as it gives very high returns. On the death of the individual insured, the amount returned is 10 times the principal invested. Also, policy assures regular dividends on the principal sum.

Money Back Plan allows the customers to share in the profits of LIC and returns accordingly. A survival benefit is available which pays back 20% of the assured return at the end of 5, 10 and 15 years of investment.

Jeevan Anand Plan is a high return policy and offers a large reversionary amount (amount paid in case of death of the individual invested). Also, it provides risk benefits in case of accidental death of the insured person. Thus it acts like an endowment and life insurance.

Jeevan Saral Plan is like a premium endowment fund with very high returns. A monthly amount is to be invested into this scheme and the reversionary bonus is 250 times the monthly premium. Also, it is a flexible policy which an investor can back out from partially after 3 years. This plan also offers accidental death benefits along with the matured premium amount.

5 Reasons Why You Should Invest In An Insurance

The future is unsure and the prospect of untoward incidents are many. A practical approach in dealing with life suggests that you should always be prepared for a scenario where a negative event may occur. That preparation is what Insurance is all about. Investing in it may not always alter the negative event, but it will sure help you deal with the unwanted scenario in the best possible manner. So, it is a remedy to the unwanted problems in life.

insurance

Provides Aid To Families In An Event Of Death

Life Insurance is perhaps the most important investment a person should make. In society, an individual is not alone. The dependency of one person on another is how the cycle works.  So the absence of an individual who was relied upon brings not only an immense wave of sadness but also a sense of helplessness. And that is where a Life Insurance helps. In the event of death, whether timely or untimely, if a person has the coverage of Life Insurance, it is what protect’s their family and aids them financially in fighting difficult times. Sometimes in event of death of the sole breadwinner of the family, a Life Insurance is what keeps the other members financially protected. Thus, we see why it is of utmost importance.

Makes Sure That You Can Book A Travel Without Worries

Another Insurance where investment should be made is Travel Insurance. Every one likes to treat themselves with a luxurious vacation. Flights are lengthy and costly, stays are expensive and all related expenses are equally high-priced. In case of sudden cancellation, the losses to be borne are too high, if all of this is not protected by Travel Insurances. For a person belonging to the middle-class on a financial basis, it is difficult to bear such losses in the absence of an Insurance as many cost cuttings need to be done henceforth.

Keeps Your Residential Property Ownership Stable

Real Estate is perhaps the most expensive asset in the market of today. If a person is lucky enough to purchase a residential area, under their own name, they should keep it safe. Investing in Home Insurance will help you financially in case of any loss pertaining to your resident. Thus it is another important Insurance that should be considered as soon as a property is bought under one’s name.

Ensures Stability In Personal And Professional Life

Insurances keeps our personal as well as monetary assets protected. Thus in case of any mishaps it helps retain stability. The important things about investing in an Insurance is that we have options aplenty to keep all our properties safe. Apart from the standard Insurance policies, we can also insure our other business and personal assets. So, stay insured to stay stable.

Helps Maintain Peace Of Mind

Nothing gives us greater peace of mind that to know that we are prepared for the future. Investing in insurances give us just that. Knowing that we will be aided while dealing with every unhappy and uncalled for event in our lives, we can remain stress free.

 

5 Reasons You Should Invest In A Fixed Deposit Today

Fixed Deposit is probably the most well-known method of investing money. With the introduction of many diversified schemes of investment, many have lost their faith in the concept of Fixed Deposit. But even today, they are probably the best way to invest money for a long term period. If you ask why? Here are 5 reasons.

Fixed Deposit

The Rate Of Interest Is Fixed

There may be inflation and deflation, changes in income tax rates and demonetisation, but fixed deposits depend on neither of the factors. The rate of interest is fixed and therefore the monetary returns remain same despite market rates. This is where the fixed deposit is advantageous over other schemes as the rest of the schemes have variable return rates which may fall in the scenario of an economic crisis.

Flexibility In Duration For Maturity

The duration of the fixed deposit amount to mature can be decided by the investing customer. The time span ranges from a week to two decades. Thus according to the comfort of the beneficiary, the fixed deposit account can be started.

Advantageous For Senior Citizens

For the senior citizens fixed deposits are the most beneficial option. This is because they get higher rates of interest as account holders. Also, they do not have to pay any taxes till their matured fixed deposit amount is in the lowest tax slab.

There Are Schemes For Saving Tax

When investing our money, we do not like to put all of it into the same investment scheme. Here Fixed Deposit provides you with the flexibility of investing in a different scheme under it. There are certain fixed deposits known as Tax Saving FD’s with longer maturity period. In these accounts, a principle amount can be invested and locked for a duration of 5 years. These are the stringent kinds of saving accounts that will not let you debit any amount of money until maturity.

Fast Liquidity Of Monetary Assets

The liquidity of assets means the ability of a financial investment to be converted into cash. In the case of Fixed Deposit, this provision is given to the account holder. Thus during an emergency, the money can be withdrawn from the FD before maturity period. This kind of flexibility is important in an economy where many variations are taking place at once. Therefore, the value of fixed deposit stands even today.

5 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Mutual Funds Today

Financial investment is an issue that never ceases to worry an individual. It plays a valuable role in the management of finances. We have options galore, but we never seem to find the solution we are looking for. In this scenario, it is best to consider what majority of financial advisors suggest: Mutual Funds. Mutual funds are perhaps the most flexible investment option, returning benefits that are more favorable than other investment deals. Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in mutual funds today.

mutual funds investment

It Will Be Well-Adjusted With Union Budget 2017 And The GST Bill

Union Budget 2017 is going for a complete economic reform in the country as far as taxation, monetary transactions and market values are concerned. So we need the most flexible option for financial investments. Mutual funds give us exactly that. It is an inflation and deflation adjusting scheme that will ensure that our net asset worth never falls irrespective of the market scenario. With GST bill being introduced there will be a huge economic deflation and inflation in the market prices simultaneously. In this potential market chaos, it is very necessary to have a well-adjusted investment option. Since there are many schemes under mutual funds, deflation will mean a certain amount can be withdrawn giving maximal returns and inflation will mean that a certain amount will be saved in mutual funds which can be withdrawn later with better returns. Thus it is a very flexible option.

Will Increase Ability To Purchase Valuable Assets Like Real Estate

One of the most potential effects of demonetisation and the Union Budget 2017 will be seen in real estate. Where prices were multiplying every year, there will be a major fall. But this fall will only last for the initial few years, so investment in mutual funds today is very important. With a scheme that ensures potentially high return rates, and where money can be withdrawn any time based on the net value available in the account, the purchase of real estate will become much easier. And today real estate is the trending way to increase your net worth in the market.

Income Tax Slab Rates Will Be Broadened So More Money Can Be Invested

“The more you invest, the better is your return” is the policy followed by mutual funds. Also for an emergency situation, it has various flexible schemes under it so that you can divide your monetary assets and invest them in separate schemes. Now with the income tax slab rates being broadened with the introduction of Union Budget 2017, there will be more money at the disposal of the higher earning sections of the society. Thus investing in different schemes will become easier. So, why put all your eggs in one basket? Go for Mutual Funds and invest your money smartly.

Initial Investment Amount Is Low

The most advantageous factor about Mutual Funds is that it is an investment everybody can afford. With demonetisation, India is making its economy a platform for cashless transactions. But the small-scale investors in India will go through a huge setback. They are financially weaker and sometimes are not familiar with the cashless procedure. Mutual Funds provide an option of investing a very low amount of money initially to make an account. And it is totally open to investment via cash.

Complete Transparency In Financial Transactions

The financial transactions in case of mutual funds are taken care by expert professionals and ensure complete transparency as the details are updated and sent to the beneficiary regularly. It also clearly states how the money invested is generating returns and what is the net worth of different schemes, in case a withdrawal is considered.