Don’t Be Fooled: SIP is NOT systematic investing!

Published: March 25, 2019 at 1:25 pm

Last Updated on February 12, 2022 at 6:18 pm

Don’t be fooled by those who stand to profit from your investments!  SIP is NOT systematic investing! Starting a mutual fund SIP and continuing it through market ups and down has nothing to do with systematic investing. Buying mutual fund units on the same of day of each month is automation. It has nothing to do with “discipline” like sales guys, investment portals (“direct”/”regular”) and product manufacturers would have us believe. Automation simply means do the job repeatedly using machines or technology. Most people automate the task of buying mutual fund units without having a “system” of purchase and management.

Anything – especially investing – without a system, cannot be called as “systematic investing”.

Just to make things clear:

systematic investing = investing(automated or manual) with a system of active risk+return management.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!
🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our robo-advisory tool & courses! 🔥

A SIP is just automated investing. SIP is NOT a system of risk/return management (that blah blah about “averaging” unit price is useless BS – see below)

The problem is most people assume SIP is the system and that is nonsense.

If you are confused at this point, I don’t blame you.  The extent of brainwashing done by the media and financial services is extensive. So let us take this step by step. I have said this multiple times, I hope it won’t hurt to say it again in this context.

Investing with a goal and without

There is nothing wrong with investing without a goal, but if you have one, the management after investing starts becomes so much easier.

Investing starts and ends with risk management.

  • Investing in so-called risk-free instruments like FDs has risks like inflation, taxation and lower rates when you reinvest.
  • Investing in risky assets may lead to loss of capital and loss of time before possible recovery.

So it is common sense that the first step is to invest some portion in risk-free assets (fixed income) and some in risk (equity). This proportion is known as asset allocation.

Asset allocation depends on when you need the money (which is why a goal matters). If you need the money in the next couple of years, having any or more of equity can be dangerous. Even if you need the money decades from now, asset allocation cannot be constant. As time passes, a gradual shift from equity to fixed income is essential. Unless you factor that in now, you will make the mistake of not investing enough.

Once the asset allocation is identified, we choose product categories in fixed income and equity. The categories should have the necessary liquidity (ability to withdraw at will) and reasonable taxation. Then from within each chosen category, products are selected.

The products from the same asset class, especially risky ones should be diversified. That is, choosing a large-cap fund + mid-cap fund with little overlap between them or choose a single multi-cap fund. Check out these Minimalist Portfolio Ideas.

SIP is NOT systematic investing

Then and only then comes the investing. Most people are in such a hurry to “start investing via SIPs”. Then they are in a hurry to get returns. Being impatient when patience is necessary and being patient when impatience is required is perhaps the greatest human folly.

The point of this post is, if you have started investing via SIPs without any thought about asset allocation, diversification and how these things need to change with time, you are NOT investing systematically for the simple reason that you do not have a system. Sure, people from the financial services will massage your ego and tell you that you are on the right path. The fact is, whether you invest with a system or not, you are on the right path for them.

There is more to it. After you start investing, comes the risk management. Since returns from equity can fluctuate up and down, you need to watch out for deviations from your asset allocation. Reset it to the desired level, once a year initially and more often as the time for the goal approaches (again why it is important).

Then you need to understand how to review the performance of volatile instruments. Those bloggers who wrote “top 10 best mutual funds for 2018” will not tell you how to review a mutual fund portfolio. Because they are busy reaping the rewards of stupid folk who take such articles seriously.

If you can do all this at least after starting SIPs, you are investing systematically. Merely starting a SIP is NOT systematic investing. The people most likely to disagree with this article are those who stand to profit from SIPs. That is a conflict of interest for you. Those who make the loudest noise are often the infected ones (with conflict of interest).

Timing the market IS systematic investing!

Timing the market or in other words changing the asset allocation based on market conditions is most definitely systematic investing. Again provided there is a system present. Those who blindly do it assuming returns will improve have no idea about the purpose of timing the market – manage risk.

Those who understand the basics of risk management will know that it is more important to protect the amount invested from market volatility than to “time” the next investment.

SIP is NOT systematic investing because it does not reduce risk!

I have shown this multiple times that returns can be anything with a SIP as the risk is not managed.

Do not expect returns from mutual fund SIPs! Do this instead!

Beware of Misinformation: Mutual Fund SIPs Do Not Reduce Risk!

Dollar Cost Averaging aka SIP analysis of S&P 500 and BSE Sensex

Don’t get too comfortable with equity: This is how a real market crash “feels” like


Create a start-to-finish financial plan

Use the freefincal robo advisory template to handle all the above-mentioned aspects.

Resources for managing risk and reviewing your portfolio

Here is a list of posts I have written on this topic

How to Review Your Mutual Fund SIPs

Review Your Financial Freedom Portfolio in Seven Easy Steps

How to review a mutual fund portfolio

How to systematically reduce the risk associated with a SIP


systematic investing = investing(automated or manual) with a system of active risk+return management.

SIP is just the investing bit. Either you develop a system of your own or consult a SEBI registered investment advisor who does not get any commissions from your investment and works only for you: Fee-only India: launch of a movement to serve investors and advisors


Do share this article with your friends using the buttons below.

🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our courses, robo-advisory tool and exclusive investor circle! 🔥& join our community of 5000+ users!
Use our Robo-advisory Tool for a start-to-finish financial plan! More than 1,000 investors and advisors use this!
New Tool! => Track your mutual funds and stock investments with this Google Sheet!
We also publish monthly equity mutual funds, debt and hybrid mutual funds, index funds and ETF screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel. Subscribe button courtesy: Vecteezy.
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel.
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp Channel
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp
Podcast: Let's Get RICH With PATTU! Every single Indian CAN grow their wealth! 
Listen to the Lets Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
Listen to the Let's Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
You can watch podcast episodes on the OfSpin Media Friends YouTube Channel.
Lets Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube
Let's Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube.

  • Do you have a comment about the above article? Reach out to us on Twitter: @freefincal or @pattufreefincal
  • Have a question? Subscribe to our newsletter using the form below.
  • Hit 'reply' to any email from us! We do not offer personalized investment advice. We can write a detailed article without mentioning your name if you have a generic question.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!

About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
Our flagship course! Learn to manage your portfolio like a pro to achieve your goals regardless of market conditions! More than 3,000 investors and advisors are part of our exclusive community! Get clarity on how to plan for your goals and achieve the necessary corpus no matter the market condition is!! Watch the first lecture for free!  One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos! Reduce fear, uncertainty and doubt while investing! Learn how to plan for your goals before and after retirement with confidence.
Our new course!  Increase your income by getting people to pay for your skills! More than 700 salaried employees, entrepreneurs and financial advisors are part of our exclusive community! Learn how to get people to pay for your skills! Whether you are a professional or small business owner who wants more clients via online visibility or a salaried person wanting a side income or passive income, we will show you how to achieve this by showcasing your skills and building a community that trusts and pays you! (watch 1st lecture for free). One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos!   
Our new book for kids: “Chinchu Gets a Superpower!” is now available!
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower
Both the boy and girl-version covers of "Chinchu Gets a superpower".
Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So, in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it, as well as teaching him several key ideas of decision-making and money management, is the narrative. What readers say!
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower (small version)
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower!
Must-read book even for adults! This is something that every parent should teach their kids right from their young age. The importance of money management and decision making based on their wants and needs. Very nicely written in simple terms. - Arun.
Buy the book: Chinchu gets a superpower for your child!
How to profit from content writing: Our new ebook is for those interested in getting side income via content writing. It is available at a 50% discount for Rs. 500 only!
Do you want to check if the market is overvalued or undervalued? Use our market valuation tool (it will work with any index!), or get the Tactical Buy/Sell timing tool!
We publish monthly mutual fund screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
About freefincal & its content policy. Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance developments. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. Follow us on Google News. Freefincal serves more than three million readers a year (5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified with credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions will be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Connect with us on social media
Our publications

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingPublished by CNBC TV18, this book is meant to help you ask the right questions and seek the correct answers, and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You Want Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantThis book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at a low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner.

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover-new This is an in-depth dive into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, and how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically, with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step. Get the pdf for Rs 300 (instant download)