Fixed Deposits or Debt Funds, Which One Is Better to Invest?

The fixed deposits are part of most of the households of India. However, recent years have witnessed some slowdown in FD purchase as the investment market is transitioning to debt mutual funds. Let us see why this happening is and why debt mutual funds are better than fixed deposits?

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Why FDs Were Preferred?

The fixed deposits of banks were the most preferred investment schemes of various investors. The reasons for the same are:

  • The low risk was associated with them

  • FDs were easy to go schemes of the investment

  • The guaranteed returns can be earned from them

  • FDs are easy to monitor

  • The returns of FD are not dependent on market performance

Comparison Between
Fixed Deposits, Guaranteed Return Plans & Debt Mutual Fund
Guaranteed Return Plans, Fixed Deposits &
Debt Mutual Fund
Guaranteed Return Plans
Returns Before Tax
7.5% (TAX-FREE)
Returns After Tax
7.5%
Guaranteed Returns
Yes
Life Cover
Yes
Tax on Profit
Tax Free*
Risk
No Risk
awards
Still Better than FD’s and Debt Mutual Fund
Fixed Deposits
Returns Before Tax
7% (TAXABLE)
Returns After Tax
4.8%
Guaranteed Returns
Yes
Life Cover
No
Tax on Profit
Taxable
Risk
Low Risk
Debt Mutual Fund
Returns Before Tax
8% (TAXABLE)
Returns After Tax
5.5%
Guaranteed Returns
No
Life Cover
No
Tax on Profit
Taxable
Risk
High Risk
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Reasons for Shift from Conventional Fixed Deposits to Mutual Funds:

There was a time when people use every extra cash they earn like increment, bonus, in Fixed Deposits. We all have seen the time when our parents and grandparents invest their hard-earned money in FDs or Fixed Deposits. FDs were the best option for earning interest and ensuring the protection of capital. So, what has changed now is a question? Why mutual funds have become the most preferred investment option.

It was the time of demonetization in India when the availability of tax saving mutual funds raised the prominence. At that time, the debt mutual funds were giving good returns with liquidity and most of the investors with low risk decided to shift to them.

Why Invest in the Debt Mutual Funds?

The debt mutual funds are the closest to FDs when we talk about risk. The major goal of a debt fund is to provide investors a steady income throughout the tenure of the investment. Therefore, it is crucial to select a suitable time zone of fund investment.

You can get to know about different debt funds and the duration of these funds through fund houses or some third-party or online. In this way, you will be able to know the performance of the funds with their respective rates of interest. This also makes it easier to take advantage of the volatility of the market and make an informed decision.

fd return beater

Fixed Deposits Vs. Debt Mutual Funds

Let us now look at some of the major differences between fixed deposits and mutual funds. Mentioned below is the table that will help you to decide the type of investment suitable to you:

Parameter Fixed Deposits Debt Mutual Funds
Interest Rate 6% to 8% 7% to 9%
Risk Low Low to Moderate
Dividend Option No Yes
Liquidity Low High
Early Withdrawal On premature withdrawals, a penalty is levied Allowed without or with exit load as per the type of the mutual fund
Investment Option Can opt for the investment of lump sum You can either select one-time investment or SIP investment
Investment Expenditure No cost of management A nominal ration of expenses is charged

The banks provide a pre-set rate of interest for FDs as per the chosen tenure. The returns of debt funds, to some extent, depend on the rate of interest movements. They can generate some moderate returns, which is more than fixed deposits in the form of appreciation of capital and regular income.

A good thing to know about fixed deposits is that the highs and lows of the market do not impact the returns that are earned. Therefore, the debt funds outdo the FDs by a large margin at the time of low interest rates in the Indian economy.

Adaptability towards Inflation of FDs and Debt Mutual Funds

We all know that inflation is one thing that puts a dent in our savings because it leads to currency value loss. The debt mutual funds can make peace with the effects of inflation. For example, you have invested in the FD at the interest rate of 6% and the rate of inflation is 5%, then the adjusted return will only be 1%. However, debt mutual funds can deliver comparatively higher returns.

FD interest rates India have fallen consistently over the last 12 years.
Invest in Plans that offer Guaranteed Returns for over 25 Years

Tax on Fixed Deposits and Debt Mutual Funds

For short-term gains that are for less than three years on the debt mutual funds are taxable according to the rate of individual tax slab. For long-term gains on debt mutual funds that are for three or more years are taxed at the rate of 20% with indexation benefits.

On the other hand for the returns of fixed deposits, the gains are taxed according to individual tax slab.

Summing it Up

Let us finalize it with the following example:

Parameter FD Debt Mutual Funds
Sum invested 2, 00, 000 2, 00, 000
Holding period Three Years Three Years
Rate of return 7% 7%
Fund worth at tenure end 2, 45, 000 2, 45, 000
Indexed Acquisition Cost - 2, 20, 472
Inflation The adjustment is not available The adjustment is available
A tax that is to be paid (assuming the highest tax bracket of 30%) 13, 500 4, 906 (applicable tax rate is 20%)
Taxed Amount 45, 000 24, 528
IT Returns after Tax 31, 500 19, 622

The choice is all yours but you should weigh your decision according to your risk appetite, investment goals, and time horizon. In this way, when the rate of interest is at peak and you consider different prospects of economic growth, then opting for debt mutual funds over fixed deposits is suggested.

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