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5 Steps to Stay on Course

Don't ignore your fund investments just because the markets are dull

There's a saying in America that's often quoted in financial advise: if you've got lemons, make lemonade. Here, lemons means something sour or unpleasant and making lemonade means getting some good out of it.

Well, if there ever was a time when Indian investors needed advice on how to cope with lemons, then that time is now. There seems to be no end to the troubles that Indian businesses and the Indian economy is having. Month after month, quarter after quarter, the bad news just keeps piling on. There have been numerous scams such as the CWG, 2G, Emu farming, Stock Guru or Saradha, eroding investor confidence and morale.

Moreover, investors haven't had any kind of reasonable returns from equity mutual funds since late 2007 and that was almost a good six years ago.

Investors' response to this is easily visible in the nationwide aggregate statistics of the mutual fund industry. New investments have slowed down drastically. From January 2007 to June 2013, fresh investments in equity funds were Rs 3.95 lakh crore. In the last two years, these have been just Rs 84,175 crore. However, that hardly means that equity mutual funds have died out or are a dying species. An enormous sum of Rs 1.77 lakh crore is invested in these funds and clearly, there are millions of investors who understand that no matter how long this stagnation lasts, they are better off with their long-term funds invested in equity.

However, for all the equity fund investors who are keeping the faith, the big risk is not that they'll lose money in the long-term, but that they'll lose focus and under-manage their investments. An investment portfolio cannot be ignored. Here's a task list of five basic things that you must do to ensure that your mutual fund portfolio stays shipshape and is poised to do its job when the economy and business - and markets - do turn.

*1.Awareness
*2.Burying the fallen
*3.A matter of balance
*4.All that glitters
*5.All in good time

The remaining five steps will be hyperlinked periodically over the course of next few days