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A mutual fund is a pool of money managed by a professional Fund Manager. It is a trust that collects money from a number of investors who share a common investment objective and invests the same in equities, bonds, money market instruments and/or other securities. And the income / gains generated from this collective investment is distributed proportionately amongst the investors after deducting applicable expenses and levies, by calculating a scheme’s “Net Asset Value” or NAV. Simply put, the money pooled in by a large number of investors is what makes up a Mutual Fund.Here’s a simple way to understand the concept of a Mutual Fund Unit.

Let’s say that there is a box of 12 chocolates costing ₹40. Four friends decide to buy the same, but they have only ₹10 each and the shopkeeper only sells by the box. So the friends then decide to pool in ₹10 each and buy the box of 12 chocolates. Now based on their contribution, they each receive 3 chocolates or 3 units, if equated with Mutual Funds. And how do you calculate the cost of one unit? Simply divide the total amount with the total number of chocolates: 40/12 = 3.33. So if you were to multiply the number of units (3) with the cost per unit (3.33), you get the initial investment of ₹10 (Source : www.amfiindia.com).

Fact : In fact, Mutual funds are meant for of common investors who may lack the knowledge or skill set to invest in securities market. Mutual Funds are professionally managed by expert Fund Managers after extensive market research for the benefit of investors. A mutual fund is an inexpensive way for investors to get a full-time professional fund manager to manage their money (Source : www.amfiindia.com).

Fact : Mutual funds can be for the short term or for longer term based on one’s investment horizon and objective. There are different types of mutual fund schemes – which invest in different types of securities – in equity as well as debt securities that are suitable for different investor needs. In fact, there are various short-term schemes where you can invest for a few days to a few weeks to a few years e.g., Liquid Funds are low duration funds, with portfolio maturity of less than 91 days, while Ultra short-Term Bond Funds are low duration funds, with portfolio maturity of less than a year. There are Short-Term Bond Funds which are medium duration funds where the underlying portfolio maturity ranges from one year – three years. Then, there are Long-Term Income Funds which are medium to long duration funds with portfolio maturity between 3 and 10 years. While Equity Schemes are most suitable for a longer term, debt mutual funds are suitable for investors with short term (less than 5 years) investment horizon (Source : www.amfiindia.com).

Fact : Absolutely incorrect. One could start investing mutual funds with just ₹5000 for a lump-sum / one-time investment with no upper limit and ₹1000 towards subsequent / additional subscription in most of the mutual fund schemes. And for Equity linked Savings Schemes (ELSS), the minimum amount is as low as ₹ 500. In fact, one could invest via Systematic Investment Plan ( SIP) with as little as ₹500 per month for as long as one wishes to (Source : www.amfiindia.com).

Fact : This is a very common misconception because of the general association of Mutual Funds with shares. One needs to keep in mind that the NAV of a scheme is nothing but a reflection of the market value of the underlying shares held by the fund on any day. Mutual Funds invest in shares, which may be bought or sold whenever deemed appropriate by the Fund Manager depending on the scheme’s investment strategy (Buy-Hold-Sell). If the Fund Manager feels that a particular stock has peaked, he can choose to sell it. A high NAV does not mean the fund is expensive. In fact, high NAV indicates a good performance of the scheme over the years (Source : www.amfiindia.com).

Fact : Mutual fund ratings are dynamic and based on performance of the scheme over time – which in itself is subject to market fluctuations. So, a Mutual fund scheme that may be on top of the rating chart currently, may not necessarily maintain the same rating month after month or at a later date . However, a top rated fund is a good first step to short list a scheme to invest in (although past performance does not necessarily guarantee better returns in future). Investment in a mutual fund scheme needs to be tracked with respect to the scheme’s benchmark to evaluate its performance periodically to decide whether to stay invested or to exit (Source : www.amfiindia.com).

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