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2 mins Read | 3 Months Ago

SIP Vs Mutual Fund: What is The Difference?

High dividend-paying stocks & Mutual Fund schemes

 

In the world of investing, two terms often surface, especially among new investors: Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) and Mutual Funds. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they refer to different aspects of the investment process. In this blog, we will delve into the distinctions between SIP and Mutual Funds, to help understand the best fit for your financial goals.

Understanding Mutual Funds

Before diving into the comparison, it is essential to understand what each term means. Let's start with Mutual Funds.

A Mutual Fund is an investment tool that aggregates capital from numerous investors to form a substantial fund. This collected money is then strategically invested in a variety of financial instruments such as Stocks, Bonds and other Securities. The aim is to create a diversified portfolio, which helps in spreading and potentially minimising risk. Professional Fund Managers, with their expertise and market knowledge, oversee these funds. They make informed decisions about where to allocate assets with the goal of generating favourable returns for investors. This approach provides individuals with an opportunity to participate in a range of investments that might otherwise be inaccessible or too risky to tackle alone.

Advantages of Mutual Funds

  • Diversification:

    By investing in a range of assets, Mutual Funds reduce the risk of loss from any single investment

  • Professional Management:

    Investors get the expertise of professional Fund Managers, tasked with making investment decisions

  • Liquidity:

    Mutual Funds are generally easy to buy and sell, offering high liquidity.

  • Affordability:

    Investors can start with relatively small amounts of money.

Disadvantages of Mutual Funds

  • Costs:

    Mutual Funds come with various associated fees and charges

  • Over-Diversification:

    Sometimes, too much diversification can dilute returns

  • Lack of Control:

    Investors have no say in the fund’s individual investments.

Understanding SIP

A Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is a strategic approach to investing in Mutual Funds, emphasising on regularity and discipline. Instead of a lump sum investment, SIP investment enables investors to contribute a predetermined amount at regular intervals - typically monthly or quarterly. This approach is particularly advantageous for those who prefer to invest smaller sums over time rather than a single large amount. By doing so, SIP facilitates participation in the financial markets for individuals with varying income levels. Moreover, it harnesses the power of Rupee Cost Averaging, potentially reducing the impact of market volatility. SIP is less about choosing specific investments and more about establishing a consistent investment habit.

Advantages of SIP

  • Discipline:

    Regular investments help inculcate a disciplined approach to saving and investing

  • Rupee Cost Averaging:

    SIPs help average out the cost of investment over time, potentially reducing the risk of market timing

  • Flexibility:

    Investors can start, stop or modify their SIP amount as per their convenience

  • Low Initial Investment:

    SIPs can be started with small amounts, making them accessible to a wider range of investors.

Disadvantages of SIP

  • Market Risk:

    While SIP helps mitigate some risk, the investment is still subject to market volatility

  • Returns Depend on Market Timing:

    The entry and exit time in the market can affect overall returns.

SIP vs Mutual Funds: The Core Differences

Having understood what each term represents, let’s explore their differences.

1. Definition and Nature

  • Mutual Funds:

    It's an investment vehicle comprising a pool of funds collected from numerous investors

  • SIP: A method or strategy of investing in Mutual Funds involving regular, disciplined investing.

     

2. Investment Approach

  • Mutual Funds:

    This involves a lump sum or one-time investment, although it can also be done through SIP

  • SIP:

    Requires regular, periodic investments in a chosen Mutual Fund.

3. Risk and Returns

  • Mutual Funds:

    The risk and return profile depends on the type of Mutual Fund (equity, debt, hybrid, etc.).

  • SIP:

    Offers the benefit of Rupee Cost Averaging, which can potentially reduce the risk associated with market timing.

4. Suitability

  • Mutual Funds:

    Suitable for investors who have a lump sum amount to invest and are looking for diversified exposure

  • SIP:

    Ideal for individuals who wish to invest regularly and build a corpus over time.

5. Flexibility and Control

  • Mutual Funds:

    Investors have the flexibility to choose from various fund types, but limited control over individual investments

  • SIP:

    Offers the flexibility to change the amount and frequency of investments.

Making the Right Choice

1. Investment Goals

  • Mutual Funds:

    Best for those with a lump sum to invest in specific goals like retirement or buying a home

  • SIP:

    Suitable for long-term goals, allowing investors to build wealth gradually.

2. Risk Appetite

  • Mutual Funds:

    The risk depends on the type of fund chosen

  • SIP:

    Generally perceived as less risky due to the averaging effect.

3. Investment Horizon

  • Mutual Funds:

    Ideal for both short and long-term horizons, depending on the fund type

  • SIP:

    More suitable for long-term investments, as it leverages the power of compounding.

Conclusion

SIP and Mutual Funds are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary. An SIP is a way to invest in Mutual Funds, especially suited for regular, disciplined investment. On the other hand, Mutual Funds are the actual investment product, offering a range of options to suit different investment needs. Your choice between the two will depend on your financial goals, risk appetite, investment horizon and if you have a lump sum or prefer regular investing. Understanding these differences is key to making informed investment decisions that align with your financial objectives.

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