ULIP vs Mutual Fund, both vie for the same pie of investors who wish to maximize their wealth over a longer duration of time and look for market-linked returns.
Now, the provocative question arises here, ‘where to invest – Mutual Fund or ULIP?’
Well, do not get confused. If you are under the same duress, then you have landed on an appropriate post. This article will help you know, learn and decide – where to invest.
Although, over the past few years, the fortunes of ULIPs and MFs have fluctuated due to market regulations and swings, the LTGC tax on equity investments in the Financial Budget has stirred things again.
So, how do these two financial instruments stack up against one another?
Before deciding which of these products win the race, let us understand what Mutual Fund and ULIP stand for, and what is the difference between them.
ULIP: Are they as alluring as they seem to be?
A ULIP is a combination of both investment and insurance. Unit-linked Insurance Plan is a strategic-unique financial product.
In a ULIP scheme, a portion is invested in various funds depending on the investor’s risk appetite and the other portion is deducted as the mortality charges for offering life cover.
Let us see what the ULIP fund allocation options are:
The funds where you can park your money are equities, bonds, market funds, debts, or hybrid funds. The investor can choose any of these options based on his requirement and preference.
Mutual Funds: What makes them Enticing?
Usually, when you talk about investment, what comes to your mind first? Mutual funds, right?
Why? Because, mutual fund schemes are one of the traditional and common instruments of investment.
But, do you know how mutual funds function?
Well, there are three parties playing a crucial role in mutual funds:
You – the investor investing your money in mutual fund schemes, which run with the help of reliable fund managers.
Fund Managers – These managers accumulate funds from various investors.
Mutual Fund Plans – These are the investment plans from where you, the investor, can expect to reap returns.
There are different types of mutual fund schemes, namely liquid funds, equity funds, money market funds, debt funds, tax-saving funds (ELSS), hybrid funds, etc.
Difference between ULIPs and Mutual Funds:
|Comparison Parameter||ULIP||Mutual Fund|
|Product Type||Investment + Insurance||Investment only|
|Liquidity||ULIPs have a limited liquidity because of the minimum lock-in period of 5 years||MFs are liquid. Only ELSS schemes are exception due to the lock-in period of 3 years|
|Tax Deductions||The investor can avail tax deductions on the premiums paid and money invested under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961.||Only Equity-Linked Saving Plans or ELSS is exempted from tax up to Rs. 1.5 Lakh under section 80C of the IT Act 1961.|
|Riders||You have an option to get a complete and comprehensive protection by adding up riders.||No riders available.|
|Tenure||Depends on you. However, if you wish to earn good returns on your investment, make it 10 to 15 years||No specific tenure.|
|Lock-in Period||Lock-in period is 5 years||Many of the MF schemes don’t have any lock-in period, except ELSS that comes with 3 years of lock-in period.|
|Switching Options||Flexible switching option is available||Some of the mutual fund offer switching options.|
|Security||Moderate security||No security|
|Fund Management Charges (FMC)||FMC is comparatively low, say 1.35 percent||FMC is higher, around 2.5 percent|
ULIP vs Mutual Fund: Which one is better?
Well, it depends on your needs, requirements, risk appetite, dependent family members, etc.
You just have to ask yourself the below-mentioned questions:
- What is your risk taking capability – high, medium, or low?
- Is there any financially dependent family member?
- How many dependents are there and how long will they take to be financially independent?
- What is your objective of investment – tax savings, wish to save money, or seek financial assistance for your family?
- What should be the term of your investment – long-term or short-term?
To cut it short:
Go for ULIPs:
- If you are looking for long-term investment scheme.
- If you have high, medium or low risk appetite.
- If you want both, investment and insurance together to protect your family financially in case of unforeseen events.
Choose Mutual Funds:
- If you want returns in medium or short-term
- If you have high, medium, or low risk appetite
- If you want liquidity in your investments (except ELSS)
- If you already have a term insurance plan to safeguard your family members financially
Now that you have known so much about ULIP and Mutual Funds let us go through another integral part of the comparison, ULIP vs. Mutual Fund returns:
|3-Year Returns in Percentage||5-year Returns in Percentage|
|Category||Mutual Funds||ULIPs||Mutual Funds||ULIPs|
|Small and Mid-cap Equities||15.89||16.81||26.93||24.43|
While both the options have their own pros and cons, Mutual Funds are backed by many investment “gurus”. But, is it right to put all your eggs in a single basket?
In order to make a sound and best investment, it is important to evaluate each and every aspect of a plan with a fine toothed comb.
By now, it is clear that comparing ULIP vs Mutual Fund is just like making comparison between chalk and cheese. Although, both are investment instruments; both serve different purposes. ULIP is the best option for people with long-term plans of wealth maximization and creation along with insurance. On the other hand, mutual funds are purely investment instrument, which gives higher returns.
As the purposes and benefits of both ULIP and MF are different, it is not wise to measure them by the same tape. If you are still confused between both these investment schemes, pick the one that suits your needs, financial goals and priorities.