I don't plan on working again. How long can I keep money in my EPF account?

Usually, an EPF account remains operative till the beneficiary turns 58. However, there are certain tax implications that one must be aware of.

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The withdrawal of the tax benefit from EPF on leaving the job makes it return at par with other investment avenues, or makes it less attractive.
I will soon quit my job and am unlikely to return to work again. I have been contributing to my provident fund for 14 years and do not want to withdraw the money. How long can I keep the money in the EPF?

Jayant R. Pai, CFP and Head of Marketing, PPFAS Mutual Fund replies, "Usually, an EPF account remains operative till the beneficiary turns 58. However, only the provident fund balance as on the date of resignation will be exempt from income tax. All interest earned on that balance will be liable to be taxed. So, while it may be tempting to not withdraw, the withdrawal of the tax benefit either brings the EPF return at par with other investment avenues, or makes it less attractive. So, it may be preferable to withdraw the balance and invest it elsewhere."

I am 51 years old and have taken a sabbatical. I have savings of Rs 65 lakh in fixed deposits. How should I invest this money to earn a monthly income of Rs 50,000?


Ankur Choudhary, Co-Founder and CIO, Goalwise replies, "To earn a monthly income of Rs 50,000 from Rs 65 lakh, you need a pre-tax return of around 10%. If you are willing to stay invested for more than five years, and can take some risks, you can get this return by investing the amount equally in equity (large-cap funds) and debt (liquid funds). Set up a monthly systematic withdrawal plan (SWP) of Rs 50,000 from this portfolio. Please note that your portfolio will not gain Rs 50,000 every month as equity investments don’t always give positive returns. But given the long investment duration, the returns should average out around that number. Also, to invest in equity funds, you can use a six month systematic transfer plan. This will help average out your purchasing price and also avoid bad timing."
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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