9 Thumb Rules of Investing: Where & How Much to Invest?

Written on Friday, August 18, 2017
By Anil Chopra- Group Director

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Every individual is unique and has different financial goals, risk taking appetite and attitude towards Saving/Investing. However, there are certain fundamental principles of investing, which are universally applicable to “one and all”. These principles are also referred as “Thumb Rules” in general parlance. These 'Thumb Rules' can make investment decisions a very easy affair for you as these will provide you logical answers to the questions like where to invest and how much to invest. Thus, before making any investments or financial decisions, you may consider referring to these 9 thumb rules of investing. 

 

1. How much should one save: 30% of your in-hand income

 

Ideally, your monthly savings should be at least 30% of your take home salary/income. Take home salary is computed as net salary after statutory deductions like Provident Fund and TDS etc. For example, if your gross monthly income is Rs.1 lakh and your take home salary after tax/PF is Rs. 70,000/- then you must save at least Rs.21,000/- every month for investing in your medium to long-term goals.

 

2. How much balance should be maintained in Savings Bank Account: Two times of monthly household budget

 

Not more than two times of your monthly household budget expenses. If your household expenses budget is Rs.50,000/- per month, you should not keep more than Rs.1 lakh balance in your Savings Account. Please remember that generally Savings Bank Accounts earn interest @ 4% pa and that is not enough even to beat inflation. 

 

3. How much should be invested in gold: 10% of your Financial Portfolio

 

Ideal allocation to gold is around 10% of your financial portfolio. The financial portfolio includes Bank Balance, Fixed Deposits, Post Office Schemes, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Shares, and Stocks etc. Accordingly, if your financial portfolio (without adding the value of your house) is Rs.1 crore, then your maximum exposure to gold including Gold Mutual Fund or Gold ETF should be Rs.10 lakhs. If your investment in gold is less than 10% of your financial portfolio, you may invest in Gold ETF or Gold Mutual Funds rather than buying physical gold which carries the risk of being stolen. On the other hand, if your current investment in gold is higher than 10% of your financial portfolio, then at least do not make any fresh investment in gold until your financial portfolio grows and your exposure to gold comes down to around 10%.

 

4. How much should be the Equity investment: (100 Minus Your Age)%

 

Rule of thumb for investing in Equity is (100 minus your age)%. For example, if your age is 30 years, then you may invest up to 100 – 30 = 70% of your savings into Equity through Equity Mutual Fund Schemes of reputed Asset Management Companies. Similarly, if your current age is 60 years, you should not invest more than 40% (100 – 60) of your savings in Equity-Oriented Schemes. As your age continues to grow, you should reduce your exposure to Equity. 

 

5. How much should be allocated to Debt?

 

As already mentioned, around 10% of your financial portfolio should be invested in gold, 100 minus your age should be invested in Equity and the balance should be invested in Debt Schemes like PPF, Debt Mutual Funds, FMP, Bonds, Bank Deposits etc. For example, if your current age is 50 years then you should invest 50% in Equity, (100 – 50), 10% in Gold and balance 40% in various Debt instruments.

 

6. How much should be the Life Insurance Coverage: 7 times of your annual income

 

The thumb rule for Life Insurance coverage amount is at least 7 times of your annual income. If your annual salary package is Rs.15 lakhs, you must have “Sum Assured” of at least Rs.1 crore in one of more Life Insurance Plans including Term Plan, ULIPs, and Traditional Plans. 

 

7. What is thumb rule for Health Insurance coverage?

 

For a single individual, with no dependents, Health Insurance coverage of Rs.2 lakhs is enough. However, for any couple with or without kids, Health Insurance coverage should be for minimum Rs.5 lakhs and if your old parents are also alive and dependent on you then you must take a Family Floater Plan of Rs.10 lakhs. 

 

8. What is the ideal number of Mutual Fund SIPs?

 

If your monthly savings is Rs.10,000/-, you must have minimum 2 SIPs of Rs.5,000/- each. One in Large Cap and another in Mid Cap. If your monthly savings is Rs. 25,000/-, you should have 5 SIPs of Rs.5,000/- each. Out of which 2 should be Large Cap, 1 Mid Cap, One Flexi Cap and the last one can be in Sectoral SIP like Banking or Infrastructure etc.

 

9. How often should one review his/her portfolio?

 

Thumb rule for reviewing the portfolio is once in every 3 months if your portfolio is larger than Rs.50 lakhs, and at least twice a year if your portfolio is less than Rs.50 lakhs. 

 

Above 'thumb rules' are shared for reference purpose only and to ensure that you should not go “off course” in your journey of wealth creation and achievement of your financial goals. You must consult a Certified Financial Planner or a subject matter expert for taking important financial decisions.

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