Is it advisable to earmark SIPs in tax-saving funds for retirement?
Yes, if you can do it for 15-20 years in a disciplined way. You will have to earmark this SIP in your mind and the three-year lock-in period helps you do that.
The lock-in period of tax-saving funds, itself, generates a great deal of goodwill for these investments, as the three-year holding period enhances the prospect of experiencing equity. Normally, if an equity fund is without a lock-in, it creates a lot of hard work. This is because most investors get excited about investing in equity when the going is good. But when the going is good, it is followed by difficult times and then, people start cursing and ultimately stop their investments. Further, they never consider coming back again. So, in that sense, tax-saving funds are a great way.
And if you can hold it for about 30 years, I think it will turn out to be the finest retirement plan. And even if you're doing an annual investment for 30 years, that is also your SIP that gets averaged out over this period.