# Systematic Investment Plan

A Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is a vehicle offered by mutual funds to help investors save regularly. It is just like a recurring deposit with the post office or bank where you put in a small amount every month, except the amount is invested in a mutual fund. The minimum amount to be invested can be as small as 100 (100 Indian Rupees) and the frequency of investment is usually monthly or quarterly.

## How a SIP works

A SIP allows investment in the stock market without trying to second-guess its movements. It is also known as dollar cost averaging.

A SIP means the person commits to investing a fixed amount every month. Let's say it is 1,000. When the Market price of shares fall, the investor benefits by purchasing more units; and is protected by purchasing less when the price rises. Thus the average cost of units is always closer to the lower end.) { NAV : Net Asset Value, or the price of one unit of a fund. Can be computed as follows : NAV = [ market value of all the investments in the fund + current assets + deposits - liabilities ] divided by the number of units outstanding.}

Date NAV Approx number of units you will get at 1000
Jan 1 10 100
Feb 1 10.5 95.23
Mar 1 11 90.90
Apr 1 9.5 105.26
May 1 9 111.11
Jun 1 11.5 86.95

Within six months, this is a value of 5,89.45 units by investing just 1,000 every month.

Over the long run, money can either be gained or lost.

Let's say an investment in a Mutual Fund unit during the dotcom and tech boom.

Say it began with 1,000 and kept investing 1,000 every month. This would be the result:

Investment period

• Mar 2000 � Mar 2005

Monthly investment

• 1,000

Total amount invested

• 61,000

Value of investment of Mar 7, 2005

• 1,09,315

Return on investment

• 23.87%

Had the units been bought on March 13, 2000 at 10.88 per unit (the NAV then), the result would be a loss because the NAV was just 7.04 on March 7, 2005. But because of spacing out the investment, it is a gain.

Conversely if the market had trended higher from the day investing started, the result would be loss of an opportunity. This would happen as subsequent purchases will get a smaller number of units for the same amount.

Systematic Investment Plan can help people to be disciplined but not solve market timing issues. Further, the Investment advisors or the Mutual Fund may have a vested interest in pitching this idea to consumers as a method of future investment would also accrue effortlessly.

## Fees

A number of mutual funds do not charge an entry load for an SIP. If not exited (selling the units) within a year of buying the units, they may not charge an exit load. However, if units are sold within a year, there may be an exit load. different fees charged by different MF companies.