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Building Wealth with Certainty: The Power of Fixed Deposits

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | June 20, 2024 04:03 PM

Building wealth with certainty is a primary goal for many investors, especially in a market environment that could be volatile. Fixed deposits (FDs) are a popular savings tool in India, offering security and reliable returns over a specified tenor. They provide numerous benefits, such as predictable returns, safety, and flexibility. Understanding how to maximise these benefits could help you achieve financial stability and growth.

What are Fixed Deposits?

Fixed deposits are financial instruments in which an investor parks a lump sum amount with a bank or Non-banking Financial Company (NBFC) for a predetermined period. In return, the issuer offers a fixed interest rate for the entire tenor of the deposit. This makes FDs a popular choice for risk-averse investors.

Key Features of Fixed Deposits

  • Fixed Interest Rate: The interest rate remains constant throughout the tenor
  • Specified Tenor: The tenor typically ranges from a few days to several years
  • Safety: FDs issued by banks are secured by the DICGC or the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation  
  • Premature Withdrawal: These are allowed, but typically come with a penalty
  • Loan Facility: Investors can avail loans against their FDs offered by certain issuers

Benefits of Fixed Deposits

Predictable Returns

One of the primary advantages of FDs is the predictability of returns. The fixed interest rate ensures that investors know exactly how much they could earn by the end of the tenor. This makes it easier to plan for future financial goals, such as buying a house, funding education, or securing retirement.

Safety

Fixed deposits are considered one of the safest investment options, especially those issued by reputable banks and NBFCs. FDs offered by banks are particularly safe as they are insured by the DICGC up to ₹5 Lakhs per depositor per bank. This insurance provides a safety net, ensuring that your investment is protected. 

Loan Facility

FDs provide the option to avail loans against the deposit, which could be particularly useful in times of financial need. Typically, banks and NBFCs offer loans up to a specified percentage of the FD amount. This facility ensures that investors can meet their financial requirements without breaking the FD and losing the accrued interest.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fixed Deposit

When selecting a fixed deposit, there are several factors to consider to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and maximises your returns.

Interest Rates

Interest rates on FDs may vary significantly between different banks and NBFCs. It is essential to compare the rates offered by various issuers to find the most competitive ones. Look for special schemes or promotional rates that may offer higher returns.

Tenor

Choose a tenor that matches your financial goals. Short-term FDs, ranging from a few days to a year, offer flexibility and quick access to funds. Conversely, long-term FDs, ranging from one to several years, typically offer higher interest rates and are suitable for long-term financial planning.

Compounding Frequency

The frequency of interest compounding may impact the overall returns of your FD. This could be done either on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annual basis. The more frequently the interest is compounded, the higher the returns may be.

Premature Withdrawal Penalties

While some FD issuers allow premature withdrawal, it usually comes with penalties. These penalties could vary between issuers, so it is important to understand the terms and conditions related to premature withdrawals before investing.

Credibility of the Issuer

The safety of your investment should be a top priority. Ensure that the bank or NBFC you choose has a good reputation and strong financial standing. This can be verified through credit ratings provided by agencies like CRISIL, ICRA, or CARE.

Maximising the Benefits of Fixed Deposits

To leverage the power of fixed deposits effectively, consider the following strategies:

Laddering Strategy

The laddering strategy involves spreading your investment across multiple FDs with different tenors. This approach ensures liquidity at regular intervals and protects you from interest rate fluctuations. 

For example, instead of investing ₹3 Lakhs in a single 3-year FD, you can invest ₹1 Lakh each in 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year FDs. As each FD matures, you can reinvest it, taking advantage of potentially higher interest rates.

Reinvestment

Opting for the cumulative interest option allows the interest earned to be reinvested in the FD, leading to compound interest. This approach may significantly enhance your returns over time compared to receiving interest payouts at regular intervals.

Diversification

Diversify your investments by spreading them across different banks and NBFCs. This not only helps in maximising the interest rates but also mitigates the risk associated with any issuer. Online financial platforms could help diversify your FD portfolio efficiently.

Taxation on Fixed Deposits

The interest earned on fixed deposits is taxable under the Income Tax Act, 1961. This is added to your total income and taxed according to your income tax slab. Banks and NBFCs deduct tds on fixed deposit interest if the interest income exceeds ₹40, 000 (₹50, 000 for senior citizens) in a financial year.

To minimise the tax impact, consider splitting your investment across different financial years or opting for tax-saving FDs with a 5-year lock-in period.

Fixed deposits offer a reliable and secure way to build wealth with certainty. They provide predictable returns, safety, and flexibility, making them an ideal choice for risk-averse investors. By finding the highest FD interest rates in India and employing strategies like laddering, reinvestment of interest, and diversification, you can maximise the benefits of fixed deposits.

Evaluate your financial goals, compare the available options, and invest in fixed deposits to achieve financial stability and growth with confidence. Whether you are saving for a specific goal or looking for a safe investment, fixed deposits could be a useful tool in your wealth-building strategy.

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