Business Standard

Invest ~1.5 lakh in PPF by April 5 to maximise returns


“Compoundin­g is the magic of investing,” said Jim Rogers, a renowned American money manager. This holds true for investing in the Public Provident Fund (PPF) too.

By depositing ~1.5 lakh between April 1 and April 5, you can maximise the return on your investment. “A lump sum deposit made before April 5 will allow you to earn a higher amount of interest income, which, with compoundin­g, will snowball into a larger corpus than if you invest the money monthly and after the 5th of each month,” says Adhil Shetty, chief executive officer (CEO), Money can be deposited in PPF in any manner: monthly, quarterly, or one-time lump sum. “If one investor invests a lumpsum amount of ~1.5 lakh before April 5, over 15 years she would earn around ~2.5 lakh more than another investor who invests lump-sum or monthly after April 5,” says Jay Thacker, member, Associatio­n of Registered Investment Advisors (ARIA).

Why invest before the 5th

Even though the total interest is deposited in your PPF account at the end of the financial year, the interest is calculated for each month. The interest calculatio­n is done on the lowest balance in the account between the 5th and the last day of each month.

“If the deposit is done after the 5th, no interest accrues on the deposited amount for that month. Hence, if you deposit a total of ~1.5 lakh by April 5, you earn interest on the total amount for the whole year,” says Sahil Arora, chief business officer (unsecured loans), Paisabazaa­r.

If you forget

If you fail to make the lump sum deposit before April 5, do so at least before the 5th of the next month (May). That way you will only lose out on the interest for April. Deposits made on or before the 5th in later months (after April) will earn interest from that month onwards and not for the full 12 months.

Tax-free return

By investing in PPF, investors can get a tax deduction of up to ~1.5 lakh under Section 80C of the Income-tax Act. The final corpus received on maturity is tax-free. Also, since it is a fixed-income instrument it provides stability to the investment portfolio.

Illiquid investment

PPF is an illiquid investment. “It has a long lock-in period of 15 years. One has to wait for the seventh year to even make a premature withdrawal. One can close the PPF account prematurel­y after five years only to pursue higher education or for the treatment of a lifethreat­ening disease,” says Arora.

Investing a lump-sum amount in PPF also comes with an opportunit­y cost. “Doing so may limit the opportunit­ies for higher returns in other investment avenues that could offer potentiall­y higher yields over the long term,” says Thacker. Remember also that the interest rate is subject to periodic revisions.

Who should invest?

Individual­s with long-term goals, who are also keen to save tax, must surely invest in PPF. “PPF is a great investment instrument, especially for those not willing to take undue risk,” says Raj Khosla, founder and managing director, Mymoneyman­

Some investors, however, should think twice before investing. “Individual­s who need short-term liquidity should be cautious about investing lump-sum amounts in PPF. They should check their cash flow needs and plan prudently before locking their money into PPF,” says Thacker. Also, those seeking higher returns should consider various options and invest according to their risk profile, life situation, and longterm goals.

Things to keep in mind

Start early and invest regularly to make the most of PPF. “Monitor the interest rates though PPF rates are generally among the best,” says Thacker.

While PPF offers stability and tax benefits and is suited for the fixedincom­e portion of long-term portfolios, consider diversifyi­ng your investment portfolio to maximise overall returns. “The interest rate offered is better than fixed deposits and savings accounts. However, it may not offer as high returns as equitylink­ed savings schemes (ELSS) in the long run. Those with a higher risk appetite may consider ELSS. ELSS also has a shorter lock-in period of three years,” says Arora.

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