How can a housewife with rental income plan for medium-term & long-term goals with mutual funds?
Conceptually, it should not be any different from the way any other investor would do. So I would just lay down the broad framework you may follow.
At the top of the hierarchy, should be your emergency needs. First, provision for at least six months of your expenses and put that money in a bank account or liquid fund. Do not think about any other investment till the time you have fulfilled this.
Once you have crossed this stage, you can use debt-related investments like some high quality short-duration funds to invest for the near term goals that are likely to fall in two-three years' time. Beyond that, let's say, for the needs that are due in three-five years' time, you can add a measured dose of equity to an otherwise debt-heavy portfolio. For this, you can use products like equity savings funds or conservative hybrid funds. Beyond five years is when you can have a bigger portion of equity in your portfolio and have equity-heavy investments.
This is the broad framework that you can follow but I would say, be guided by your personal circumstances. How sustainable is the rental income that you talked about? What kind of investible surplus are you able to have? And do you have any accumulation already? Now, if answers to any of these questions nudge you to be a little more risk averse, then you can tone down the equity component in your portfolio. For instance, if you want to be risk-averse, then even for very long-term goals you can opt for aggressive hybrid funds rather than pure equity funds. Aggressive hybrid funds invest about 20-35 per cent of the money in debt and that cushions the volatility of equity. So broadly, you can follow this framework.