Before choosing schemes, decide how much money you need for each goal and the time horizon

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I’m not a regular investor. I have invested about Rs1 lakh in ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund, series 14; Rs20,000 each in Aditya Birla Sunlife Equity Fund, Axis Long Term Equity Fund, and SBI Magnum Multicap Fund; and about Rs10,000 in Franklin India High Growth Companies Fund. Please guide me on starting an SIP of about Rs40,000 per month. I have long-term goals of about 20 years. The goal is education of my daughter and my retirement.

—Pankaj Vyas

If you are considering investing for two different purposes (daughter’s education and your retirement) with their own timelines, I would strongly recommend that you do so using two different systematic investment plan (SIP) portfolios. Essentially, you would need to be able to identify which set of funds are for which purpose. Doing so would help you design the portfolios better and also manage them over the course of time. However, to do so, first you would need to figure out how much money you should invest for each of these goals. You indicate a timeline of 20 years, but it’s not clear if both your goals are of the same timeline. That’s an unlikely scenario, and the education goal will likely come much before your own retirement. Depending on how much money you need for each of these goals and how far away they are, you should split the Rs40,000 between the two portfolios. The farther goal will get lesser allocation, at least to start with.

After you allocate the moneys accordingly, you can design your portfolios. Many of the funds that you are investing in are good funds with solid track records. You can easily put together a 3-4-fund portfolio for each of your goals. The education portfolio could have a balanced fund such as HDFC Balanced fund in addition to the equity funds in your list. You can also add good large-cap funds like Aditya Birla Sunlife Frontline Equity fund and Franklin India Blue Chip fund into the mix to go with your diversified and mid-cap funds.

I am 33 years old and recently married. I invest Rs15,000 every month in mutual funds (direct growth option), in seven schemes—Rs1,000 in Aditya Birla Dynamic Bond Fund; Rs2,000 each in Quantum Long Term Equity, IDFC Premier Equity, Templeton Indian Pension Plan, HDFC Balanced; and Rs3,000 in Franklin Templeton India Bluechip Fund and ICICI Pru Value Discovery. I have also recently started an SIP in Kotak Select Focus (Rs 2,000). I am looking to stay invested for the next 15-20 years. My financial goals are wealth generation over a period of time and having a good retirement corpus. Kindly advise and suggest changes to my portfolio.

—Rajaram R.

Your portfolio is presently investing a third of its allocation into large-cap funds, another third into diversified (multi-cap) funds, and the last third in funds with some or all debt portion. When you add Kotak Select Focus for Rs2,000 into this portfolio, you will be bulking up the diversified portion of the portfolio to more than 40% of the overall allocation. From an asset allocation standpoint, considering your time-frame, this is a moderately aggressive portfolio—with about 18% allocations to debt instruments. The funds themselves are good although you may want to replace the premier equity fund from another fund from the IDFC stable—the IDFC Classic Equity Fund (which also belongs to the same fund category).

The pension plan is a curious choice. It is a fund with an exit load period until the age of retirement of the investor while all other funds in your portfolio do not have any such stipulation. Apart from that, it is a good fund, and it provides a debt-oriented hybrid option in your investment set.

I need to save tax before March 2018. I would be investing about Rs1 lakh for a 3-year lock-in period. Please suggest the best funds and the processes to do it without a broker.

—Tanmoy Sinha

Good tax-saving funds include ICICI Prudential Long Term Equity fund and Invesco India Tax Plan. You can invest equal amounts in these funds and let it be invested for the next 3 years. To invest without a broker, the best way would be to contact the fund houses directly using their websites. Both these fund houses provide investment options to their customers via their online presence and you can choose to invest in the direct plan of these schemes.