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Options for Income Generation - And Which One to Choose

Posted by shreekantrao89 on November 3rd, 2016

Few questions have vexed investors more over the years than this seemingly simple one: "How do I generate investment income?"

There may be times in your life (typically once your earning stops) that you'll need to have a robust income generation strategy in place. While there are several ways to generate a steady income from your lump sums investments, all of them have their relative merits and drawbacks. In order to make an informed decision, it's important to have a basic understanding of all the various options available. In this article, I will highlight a few of the top of the mind choices that most people will consider.


For many of us, the phrase 'investment income' is synonymous with 'rental income'. This, in my opinion, isn't a great idea at all. Gross Rental yields are extremely low in most metropolitan cities; In Delhi, they typically range from 2.75 per cent to 3.50 per cent. In Mumbai, they are even lower, at closer to 2.40 per cent. They used to be close to 7 per cent in Bangalore until a few years back; they are down to roughly 4 per cent now.

What this essentially means is that you can typically expect a rental income of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month on a property that you bought for Rs. 1 Crore; factor in taxation (rental income is taxed as normal income), maintenance costs and the time that your property spends vacant between tenants, and you'll likely end up at a real rental yield of closer to 2 per cent per annum - a pittance!

A deeper, structural concern is that such low rental yields are often symbolic of overvaluation - so you may just be dealt a double whammy in terms of low rent, plus zero to low appreciation for an extended period of time.

Real Estate is also indivisible and relatively illiquid, so the only way to realize interim liquidity from it (for instance, in case of emergencies) is to take a mortgage loan. Needless to say, this will involve an interest burden.

Annuities & Traditional Products

Many investors will consider the purchase of an annuity from a Life Insurance company in order to generate an income from their lump sum moneys.

Annuities are a poor choice on many counts - they are low return instruments; rarely, if ever, exceeding an 8 per cent annualized return in any scenario. The income from annuities is taxable as normal income, and the fact that they lock you into a long term commitment with (usually) a fixed, non-inflation linked payout only makes matters worse. Avoid buying an annuity at all costs.

A POMIS (Post Office Monthly Income Scheme) allows for a maximum investment of Rs. 9 lakh in a joint account. At the current rate of 7.8 per cent, this works out to just Rs. 5850 per month; and this income is taxable, to boot. The tax inefficiency and low ceiling value makes POMIS an incomplete and ineffective solution.

Reverse Mortgages

A Reverse Mortgage is a variation of a Loan Against Property, wherein a homeowner aged 60 or more can avail a loan against a self-owned property. The difference between an RM and a LAP is that instead of the borrower paying back EMI's (as in the case of a LAP), the lender pays the loan amount to the borrower in tranches (capped at Rs. 50,000 per month).

At the end of the tenor, the loan is settled by the legal heirs by liquidating the property or by paying off the loan amount. There are no repayments to be made by the borrower during his or her lifetime.

RM's have been wildly unpopular in India; primarily because in our country, a residential property is considered nothing short of a sacred asset that is usually held to be bequeathed to future generations. If that's not a constraint for you, it may be a useful option to consider. Make sure you opt for the RMLeA (Reverse Mortgage Loan enabled Annuity) option instead; this would yield a higher amount for you, and also safeguard you against the risk of outliving your savings.

Having said that, a RM is not inflation linked, and therefore isn't a complete solution. Needless to say what's worth 50,000 per month today will be worth a lot less in ten years' time.

Monthly Income Plans by Mutual Funds

Monthly Income Plans (MIP's) are a type of debt oriented hybrid mutual fund. They invest roughly 80 per cent of their assets into safe, fixed income instruments such as bonds and company deposits, and the remainder into the equity markets.

[Source: http://businessworld.in/article/Options-For-Income-Generation-And-Which-One-To-Choose/17-10-2016-106992/]

Also See: Rental Income, Monthly Income, Investment Income, Income Generation, Income, Cent, Loan

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