What are various Long-term financial options available for investment?

Post Office Savings Schemes, Public Provident Fund, Company Fixed  Deposits, Bonds and Debentures, Mutual Funds etc.

Post Office Savings: Post Office Monthly Income Scheme is a low risk saving instrument, which can be availed through any post office. It provides an interest rate of 8% per annum, which is paid monthly. Minimum amount, which can be invested, is Rs. 1,000/- and  additional investment in multiplesof 1,000/-.Maximum amount is  Rs. 3,00,000/- (if Single) or Rs. 6,00,000/- (if held  Jointly) during a year. It has a maturity period of 6 years. A bonus of 10% is paid at the time of maturity.  Premature withdrawal  is permitted if deposit is more than one year old. A deduction of 5% is levied from the principal amount if withdrawn prematurely; the 10% bonus is also denied.

Public Provident Fund: A long term savings instrument with a maturity of 15 years and interest payable at 8% per annum compounded annually.  A PPF account can be opened through a  nationalized bank at anytime during the year and is open all through the year for depositing money. Tax benefits can be availed for the amount invested and interest accrued is tax-free. A withdrawal is permissible every year from the seventh financial year of the date of opening of the account and the amount of withdrawal will be limited to 50% of the balance at credit at the end of the 4th year immediately preceding the year in which the amount is withdrawn or at the end of the preceding year whichever is lower the amount of loan if any.

Company Fixed Deposits: These are short-term (six months) to  medium-term (three to five years) borrowings by companies at a fixed rate of interest which is payable monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. They can also be cumulative fixed deposits where the entire principal alongwith the interest is paid at the end of the loan period. The rate of interest varies between 6-9% per annum for company FDs. The interest received is after deduction of taxes.

Bonds : It is a fixed income (debt) instrument issued for a period of
more than one year with the purpose of raising capital. The central or 
state government, corporations and similar institutions sell bonds. A bond is generally a promise to repay the principal along with a fixed rate of interest on a specified date, called the Maturity Date.

Mutual Funds: These are funds operated by an investment company which raises money from the public and invests in a group of assets
(shares, debentures etc.), in accordance with a stated set of  objectives. It is a substitute for those who are unable to invest directly in equities or debt because of resource, time or knowledge constraints. Benefits include professional money management,  buying in small amounts and diversification. Mutual fund units are issued and redeemed by the Fund Management Company based on the fund’s net asset value (NAV), which is determined at the end of each trading session. NAV is calculated as the value of all the shares held by the fund, minus expenses, divided by the number of units issued. Mutual Funds are usually long term investment vehicle  though there some categories of mutual funds, such as money market mutual funds which are short term instruments.



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