If you want a financial product offering life insurance and investment benefits, consider investing in a ULIP or a Unit Linked Insurance Plan. A ULIP is a hybrid product that allows you to allocate a part of your premium toward life cover and the rest towards various market-linked funds, such as equity, debt, or balanced funds.
However, investing in a ULIP is not a one-time decision. You must actively manage your portfolio of ULIPs to ensure that you realize your long-term monetary goals and protect your capital from market risks. Portfolio management involves selecting, prioritizing, and monitoring your investments based on your risk appetite, time horizon, and objectives.
But how do you manage your portfolio of ULIPs effectively? Here are seven ways that can help you optimize your returns and minimize your risks.
1. Choose the right fund option
One of the first steps in managing your portfolio of ULIPs is to choose the right fund option that suits your risk profile and investment horizon. ULIPs offer a range of fund options, from equity funds that invest in stocks to debt funds that invest in bonds and various fixed-income assets. You can also opt for balanced funds investing in equity and debt instruments.
The fund option you choose will determine the potential returns and risks of your ULIP. Generally, equity funds offer higher returns but also higher volatility, while debt funds offer lower returns but also lower volatility. Balanced funds offer a middle ground between the two extremes.
Choose the fund option that matches your risk tolerance and investment horizon. You may use the ULIP calculator for this. For example, if you are a young investor with a long-term goal and a high-risk appetite, you can choose an equity fund or a balanced fund with a higher equity exposure. On the other hand, if you are a conservative investor with a short-term goal and a low-risk appetite, you can choose a debt fund or a balanced fund with a higher debt exposure.
2. Diversify your portfolio
Another critical aspect of managing your portfolio of ULIPs is diversifying your investments across different asset classes, sectors, and geographies. Diversification helps you reduce the overall risk of your portfolio by spreading it across various sources of returns. It also enables you to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket and exposing yourself to the fluctuations of a single market or industry.
You can diversify your portfolio of ULIPs by choosing different fund options that invest in different asset classes. You can also diversify within each asset class by choosing funds that invest in different sectors, such as banking, IT, FMCG, etc., or different geographies, such as domestic or international markets.
The degree of diversification you need depends on your risk profile and investment horizon. Generally, the more diversified your portfolio is, the minimal the risk and the lower the return potential. Aim for an optimal level of diversification that balances your risk-return trade-off.
3. Review and rebalance your portfolio
You should review and rebalance your portfolio of ULIPs at least once a year or whenever there is a significant change in your personal or financial situation or market conditions. For example, if you have achieved one of your financial goals or experienced a change in your income or expenses, you may need to review and rebalance your portfolio accordingly. Similarly, if there is a major market crash or rally or if there is a change in the economic outlook or policy environment, you may need to review and rebalance your portfolio accordingly.
Reviewing and rebalancing your portfolio of ULIPs helps you capture the gains from the performing fund options and reduce the losses from the underperforming fund options. It also lets you avoid deviating from your original risk-return profile and stay on track with your financial goals.
4. Switch between fund options
Switching between fund options means transferring some or all of your units from one fund option to another within the same ULIP plan.
For example, if you expect the equity market to rise, you can switch some of your units from debt funds to equity funds to benefit from the higher returns. On the other hand, if you expect the equity market to fall in the future, you can switch some of your units from equity funds to debt funds to protect your capital from lower returns.
However, switching between fund options should not be done randomly or frequently. Switch between fund options only when there is a strong rationale and evidence to support your decision. Consider the costs and benefits of switching, such as the switching charges, the fund management charges, and the impact on your portfolio performance.
Managing your ULIP portfolio is simple with these steps. Choose the right funds, diversify, review and rebalance regularly, and switch funds. You may also use premium redirection, top-up, and partial withdrawals to boost returns and lower risks. But it also needs long-term goals, market knowledge, and adaptation. Consult a financial advisor for help; it’s an ongoing effort, not a one-time task.