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ULIPs: Suitable for all

How to make the most of ULIPs

  • Nov 15, 2001

How to make the most of ULIPs

Unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs) are long-term investment options that provide you financial protection and an opportunity to generate market-linked returns. A part of your premium is directed towards offering you insurance and meeting administration expenses while the rest of it is invested into a fund.

Each ULIP offers several investment funds, having a different risk and return profile. This is because every fund comes with a different specified limit on the amount of debt and equity that it can take an exposure to. You further have the freedom to switch from one fund to another during the policy term. Due to these features, you can fulfill various financial goals through a ULIP.

ULIPs allow you to:

Protect your child’s future: With growing cost of living and expenses, a financial goal coming up for fulfillment tomorrow will cost you much more than today. That is why, you need to invest in such a manner that the returns not only counter inflation but also cover rising costs. With the investment in equity markets, unit linked child plans give you the opportunity to earn market-linked returns and at the same protect your child’s future.

Secure funds for critical milestones: You may require funds at various milestones of your child’s life such as his/her higher education, marriage or business venture. The facility of ‘partial withdrawals’ on offer gives you access to your money at critical stages so that you have the right amount of money at the right time to address multiple needs.

Plan for your retirement: Planning for your retirement is one of the most important goals of financial planning. As equities perform well over the long term, ULIPs are an ideal choice that can add value to your retirement portfolio. When you are young and far away from retirement, you can choose an equity oriented fund which invests largely in equities. As you grow old and near your retirement age, you can gradually shift your investments in to more conservative debt funds. At retirement, you have the option of choosing the annuity, either immediate or deferred, as per your requirements.

ULIPs and mutual funds: A comparison

Barring the insurance cover, ULIPs and mutual funds appear similar in structure. Both allow fulfillment of various financial goals. However, a ULIP comes with attractive tax benefits wherein an amount invested (up to a maximum limit of Rs 1.5 lakhs) in a ULIP is not considered part of the taxable income across all plans. A ULIP also offers you the flexibility to choose and alter investment amounts and freedom to switch funds from one fund to another at zero or marginal cost. These few features make them rather attractive.

Thanks to their flexibility, ULIPs are easily adjustable to different stages of life. As such, they come very handy in the process of financial planning.

In this policy, the investment risk in the investment portfolio is borne by the policyholder.

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- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

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