Fixed-income mutual funds play a crucial role in retirement planning by providing a relatively stable and predictable source of income. They can be an important component of a diversified investment portfolio, especially for retirees who want to minimise risk and preserve capital while generating returns. Here are some key roles debt funds play to achieve retirement planning goal.
Effective asset allocation involves investing across asset classes like equities, fixed income, and possibly real estate. This diversification helps in reducing the impact of market volatility on overall returns. Besides, it helps align one’s risk tolerance with financial objectives, whether it is growth, income, or a blend of both.
Asset allocation allows retirees to plan for the long term, as their financial needs and risk tolerance changes with time. Proper allocation provides flexibility to adjust the portfolio mix as per circumstances.
A balanced approach helps ensure that their investments can last throughout their retirement years. An allocation to fixed-income mutual funds is a cornerstone to retirement planning. It provides a structured approach to managing risk, generating income, preserving capital and also acts as a counterbalance to equities.
Fixed income as an asset class takes centre stage when an investor focuses on capital preservation and generation of a steady stream of cash flows. This, typically, happens when an individual is nearing retirement or has low risk tolerance.
Debt funds primarily invest in fixed-income securities like government bonds, corporate bonds, etc. These investments are considered less volatile compared to equities. This stability helps in preserving capital, which is crucial for retirees.
Debt funds come in various categories and types, each with a different risk profile and investment strategy. This allows investors to choose funds based on their requirements. Debt funds are generally considered to be low on risk compared to equity investments.
While they may not have the same returns potential, they are less likely to experience significant losses. This is important for retirees who may not have the time or ability to recover from market downturns. A significant portion in fixed income can help ensure reliable income during uncertain market conditions.
Liquidity & Cash Flow
Debt funds are more liquid than other fixed-income investments. You can buy or sell these investments relatively quickly without significant transaction costs.
The need for a dependable income after retirement to cover monthly expenses is paramount. Fixed-income investments, particularly debt funds, play a key role in meeting this need. A systematic withdrawal plan (SWP) is a powerful tool in this regard. It provides a steady source of income, mimicking a pension-like structure. SWPs are useful for retirees who no longer have regular income.
Let’s say, you have a saving of Rs 1 crore. At age 60, you invest the amount in a fixed-income fund and start a SWP. Assuming a 6 per cent return per annum on investment and a withdrawal rate of 4 per cent per year, you will get Rs 35,000 per month for 25 years. At the age of 85, you will be left with Rs 1,92,48,594. Do note that the returns are not guaranteed.
In a nutshell, fixed-income mutual funds are essential for retirees as they provide stability, reliable income, and a way to systematically manage cash flow needs.
By Kaustubh Gupta, Co-Head of Fixed Income at Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC