Liquid Mutual Funds vs Bank FDs

Liquid Mutual Funds are better than Bank FDs

Most of us generally have a good amount of money lying around in our various savings bank accounts, earning just about 4% per annum. This money may be part of our salary waiting to be spent, maturity amounts of insurance policies or FDs, redemptions from investments or any other credits received from elsewhere. We may not have any immediate plans to spend, invest or reinvest this money. When the money becomes available, we take our own time to plan its further use while it keeps lying in the savings bank account earning a low return.

But did you know that you can earn double the returns of a savings bank account while having almost the same level of safety, liquidity and ease of transaction?

Liquid funds – These are a class of mutual funds that have no exposure to stocks and invest only in debt (fixed income) instruments, generally with a residual maturity of less than 92 days. These investments are mostly in money market instruments, short-term corporate deposits and treasury bills.

Liquid funds provide good liquidity, low interest rate risk and also the prevailing market yield. Along with liquidity, the safety factor makes these funds a preferred parking option for HNIs and corporates as a good alternative to savings bank accounts and short-term fixed deposits. Most liquid schemes don’t have a lock-in period and offer redemption proceeds within 24 hours directly into your bank account.

All mutual funds have liquid schemes and try to provide the convenience of investments and redemptions in line with advancements in technology. You can invest in liquid funds through SMS, online banking, phone banking, call centre services and also physical applications. The same applies for redemptions also.

If it’s so easy and safe, why are these funds not so popular among common investors?
That is simply because of a lack of awareness. Mutual funds are generally associated with investments in stocks, while banks occupy a much larger part of retail investors’ consciousness than mutual funds do.

You should remember some important points while investing in liquid funds. These are essentially short-term investments. If you keep your money here for too long, typically more than a year, you may lose out on better opportunities elsewhere. Another advantage of liquid funds is that if you think your money is likely to be lying around for a longer time than thought initially, you can seamlessly shift it to longer duration debt mutual funds or even equity funds without much hassle.

On the issue of taxation, even with part-redemptions from a liquid fund within a year, the gains will be taxed according to your income tax slab. Beyond a year, the gains get the benefit of indexation as a long-term gain. You can invest in growth, dividend and dividend reinvestment options. Dividends paid by these funds are tax-free in your hands. Liquid funds also score over bank deposits because they do not deduct tax at source (TDS).

Investors who tend to keep a sizeable balance in their savings bank accounts, and that too for a long period, may look at investing in liquid funds to enhance returns. It can make an appreciable difference to what you get to keep in the end.

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