Choosing between SIPs and ULIPs for Long-term Goals


Neelam, an astute young specialist, and her brother Rishabh, a tenacious businessman, sat down for their weekly family tea. Their conversation soon drifted towards future financial planning, a topic both found crucial yet complex.

Neelam: “Rishabh, have you considered starting a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP)? It’s a great way to invest in mutual funds.”

Rishabh: “SIPs? How do they work?”

“Well, with SIPs, you can invest a fixed amount in mutual funds regularly.” It’s straightforward and adaptable. You get the benefit of compounding and rupee cost averaging, particularly for long-term goals.”

Rishabh said, “Interesting”, “but I have even heard of ULIPs or unit-linked insurance plans.”

“ULIPs blend in insurance and investment,” Neelam said. A part of your contribution goes to insurance while the rest is invested in a blend of bonds and stocks.”

SIPs vs. ULIPs: The detailed breakdown


SIPs are relatively straightforward with minimal charges and mainly consist of fund management fees. ULIPs, due to their dual nature, incur several charges. These include premium allocation charges, mortality charges (for the insurance cover), fund management fees, and sometimes policy administration charges. This layered fee structure can impact the net returns from a ULIP.

Investment objective

SIPs are for those who want to form wealth over time by periodically investing in mutual funds. This approach capitalizes on market expansion and compounding. On the contrary, ULIPs meet two functions. They do not just invest your funds in distinct funds for the goal of wealth growth, but they even offer insurance cover, ensuring stability to the family of the investor on the occasion of an unanticipated catastrophe.

Investing flexibility

SIPs provide a great deal of flexibility. Investors might instantly begin, stop, or change their investment amounts, making them prudent for a wide range of financial circumstances. In contrast, ULIPs have a lock-in during which investors cannot eliminate funds without charge. As an outcome, ULIPs are less adaptable as compared to other kinds of insurance.

Risk factor

SIPs, particularly those invested in equity are vulnerable to market volatility, which can lead to bigger gains but higher risk too. ULIPs disseminate risk by investing in a blend of bonds, life insurance and stocks. ULIPs are less risky as compared to stock investment via SIPs owing to this balanced approach.


SIPs are known for their transparency. Investors may readily track fund performance, fees, and other statistics. In this sense, ULIPs have improved, although they may still be complicated, with several costs and the merging of insurance and investing components.


ULIPs allow investors to move between funds (equity, debt, or balanced) based on market circumstances and risk tolerance. SIPs, while different among mutual fund categories, are limited to the fund’s investing strategy.

Premature termination

During the lock-in period, premature withdrawals from ULIPs are punished, which may have an impact on the invested money. SIPs, on the other hand, offer greater flexibility, allowing investors to withdraw without penalty, albeit exit loads may apply to some funds.

Long-term benefits

Both SIPs and ULIPs are geared towards long-term wealth creation. However, due to lower costs and potentially higher returns from the equity markets, SIPs are often preferred for purely investment-focused goals.

Cost efficiency

The straightforward structure of SIPs generally results in lower costs, primarily limited to fund management fees. ULIPs incur various charges related to insurance and investment management, which can reduce the effective investment amount.

Compounding advantage

Both SIPs and ULIPs benefit from the power of compounding, especially beneficial over a long period. However, SIPs, particularly in equity funds, might offer better-compounding potential due to higher returns and lower costs.

Appropriateness of goals

Individuals with particular financial goals centred on asset growth might consider SIPs. People looking for a financial tool that provides both savings and protection can consider ULIPs, which combine investment and insurance.

Premiums are paid regularly

ULIPs, which include both the investment and insurance components, demand regular premium payments. SIPs are more adjustable since investors may pick the amount and frequency of their investments.

Performance is related

SIPs and the investment component of ULIPs are both connected to market performance, suggesting that returns are subject to market risks and underlying asset performance.

Changing finances

Investors can use ULIPs to swap between different fund selections without suffering tax penalties. SIPs do not provide this flexibility; moving funds generally entails redeeming from one fund and investing in another, which may result in tax consequences.

Taxation of capital gains

Long-term capital gains in SIPs, particularly those in equity-oriented funds, are taxed. Under certain situations, ULIPs provide tax-free maturity advantages, making them tax-efficient.

Premium allocation charges

These charges, common in ULIPs, are deducted from the premium paid, reducing the amount available for investment. SIPs do not have such charges, leading to more of the invested amount being put to work.

Death benefit

One of the crucial ULIPs features is death benefit, which pays the nominee the greater of the amount insured or fund value in the scenario of policyholder’s demise. SIPs being a pure investment do not offer any kind of death benefit.

Ease of investment

SIPs are generally easier to understand and manage, making them a preferred choice for beginners. They offer a straightforward way to invest in mutual funds, without the complexities of understanding the insurance component as in ULIPs.

Policy renewal

Subject to limits and circumstances, ULIPs provide the ability to reinstate a lapsed policy within a defined time frame. This policy resurrection option is not available in SIPs.

Wealth creation

ULIPs and SIPs are both long-term wealth generation instruments. In contrast, SIPs might be highly favourable in reference to prospective returns owing to their emphasis on lower expense ratios.

These points were discussed by Neelam and Rishabh. Neelam favoured SIPs for their ease of use and possible returns, whilst Rishabh selected ULIPs for the added advantage of investing and insurance.

Neelam and Rishabh realised that the decision between SIPs and ULIPs was influenced by personal goals and risk tolerance. They all agreed that making educated judgments and conducting regular evaluations were critical to accomplishing their long-term goals. Also, using an online SIP investment calculator is a wise choice to make a proper decision on whether to invest in SIP.

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