Tag: sip

SIP: Expected Returns

“A monthly Rs. 5,000/- SIP will make you a crore-pathi!” Screamed a Facebook ad. Really? Is it that simple? Lets break it apart and find out the assumptions baked into that bold assertion.

Historical annualized mid-cap returns

annualized historical midcap 100 returns

The NIFTY MIDCAP 100 index has given an annualized return of ~21% between 2002 and 2016. If you assume a 20% return over the next 20 years, then a monthly SIP of Rs. 5,000 will indeed result in a Rs. 1,21,94,282/- corpus, making you are crore-pathi.

But what happens if you were 100% invested in Midcaps (20% returns!) and retired in 2007? All your crore-pathi dreams would have gone poof (Midcaps crashed 60% in 2008.)

Static Asset allocation

One way to mitigate blow-up risk is to diversify away from equities into bonds. A popular allocation scheme is the 60/40 equity/bond allocation. So how much should you expect a 20 year, Rs. 5,000/- monthly SIP to return under this scheme?

SIP returns

It is a range of returns because it looks at a 10,000 random samples of 20×12 monthly (historical) returns to reflect the path-dependency of SIPs.

Now, what about the size of the final corpus under this scheme?

SIP returns

On average, you should not expect more then Rs. 60 lakhs as the final corpus under a static 60/40 allocation scheme. You could get unlucky and end up with Rs. 30 lakhs or get very lucky and end up with Rs. 1 crore. But this is the expected range of returns.

If you still want to get to the magic one-crore mark, you will have to “step-up” the SIP contributions.

The final corpus if the SIP is Rs. 5k a month for the first 5 years and 10k, 15k and 20k for the next 5 year blocks, under a static 60/40 allocation:
SIP returns

Glide-path Asset allocation

The 60/40 split would still leave you exposed to market downturns towards the end. One way to eliminate most equity market risks is to adopt an asset allocation scheme that starts with 100% equity, 0% bonds and “glides” to 5% equity and 95% bonds over a period of 20 years. This way, you will have progressively less exposure to equity as you near the end. Under a fixed Rs. 5,000/- a month SIP, your final corpus is likely to be:

SIP returns

And what if you stepped it up?
SIP returns


The kind of “straight-line” thinking that the ad propagates will set you up for disappointment if you don’t understand the underlying assumptions that went into it. Prudent asset allocation is much more than raw performance. It is making sure that you will have the money when you need it. And it inevitably compresses returns, so it requires you to save more.

Next time you see such an ad, you can respond by saying “Give me one crore now and I will give you 5k every month for the next 20 yrs.”

Rebalanced once a year.
Allows the allocation to drift by 5% before triggering a rebalance.
Assumes a 10% tax on returns at every rebalance.
“0_5” is the total return index of the 0-5 year government bond.

Code and additional charts (with returns using the NIFTY 50 index) are on github.

Lumpsum or SIP?


What are the return profiles of dollar cost averaging (DCA or SIP) vs. one-time (lumpsum) investing?
Read: Lumpsum vs. Dollar Cost Averaging (SIP)

Thinking in probabilities

If you model the returns, how do returns and losses look across lumpsum and SIP investing?
Read: Lumpsum vs. SIP: Thinking in Probabilities

It all depends on when you start and stop

Shuffling returns to generate alternate universes.
Read: The Path Dependency of SIP Returns

Buying the Dip


We often hear about “buying the dip.” What exactly is a dip? Is buying the dip better than a daily SIP?
Read: introduction

Using drawdowns to time purchases

What happens if you buy an index only when it is trading 10% below its previous 100-day peak?
Read: Systematic Buy-the-Dip

Using SMA crosses to time purchases

When a lower SMA (say, 3-day) crosses an upper SMA (say, 200-day) an uptrend is identified. What if one only buys when such a crossover occurs?
Read: Systematic Buy-the-Dip, SMA crosses

SIP frequency

Which one is better? Daily SIP or monthly SIP?
Read:StockViz: Daily vs. Monthly SIP

The Path Dependency of SIP Returns

Our previous post on Lumpsum vs. SIP returns showed how, given the way returns are statistically distributed, lumpsums tend to perform better than SIPs. The analysis side-stepped a lot of issues with using a single market-price time-series by fitting the weekly returns of the index into a Generalised Lambda Distribution and then using that model to run a simulation. This may not seem “real” to most investors. Even through the weekly returns obtained by querying the model is from the same distribution as that of the index, it may not reproduce the exact path that the index took. In this post, we will present a simpler analysis that should be more intuitive.

Random sampling

Most SIP/DCA investors setup a monthly purchase and let it run for a period of time. So we will mimic that process by using monthly returns for our analysis. Moreover, instead of building a statistical model, we will just randomly shuffle the observed set of monthly returns to obtain a return series for our simulation. Each simulation will then end up having the same monthly returns but in a different (random) order. We then calculate SIP/DCA returns for each of those and plot them as a histogram.


Here is how NIFTY 50’s randomized monthly SIP/DCA looks like:
NIFTY 50.monthly sip random shuffle
What the above chart means is that both SIP/DCA and lumpsum actual returns are path dependent. A re-ordering of the same monthly returns end up giving vastly different results. This also shows why even if a particular investment gives superior returns, individual investors can still end up with poor returns because of path dependency.

Below are the charts for MIDCAP and SMALLCAP indices:
NIFTY MIDCAP 100.monthly sip random shuffle
NIFTY SMLCAP 100 monthly sip random shuffle

*Key assumption here is that monthly returns are randomly distributed. But trend-followers would disagree on that point.

Code is on github.

Daily vs. Monthly SIP

We recently ran some numbers against some typical “buy the dip” strategies and concluded that they do not result in any significant advantage over a daily SIP. The daily SIP base case was chosen because it is easy to compute. It was not a recommendation for investors to switch over their monthly SIPs to daily ones.

Barring a few outliers, over rolling 5-year windows, a daily SIP and a monthly SIP result in similar amounts of assets accumulated at the end.
daily vs. monthly sip

Related links:
Systematic Buy-the-Dip, an Update
Systematic Buy-the-Dip, SMA crosses
Trading Day of Month Returns

Code is on github.