Don’t Miss the Forest for The Trees: Why Maxing Out the Rs. 1.5 Lakh Limit on Your PPF Before 5th of April Is Not Worth the Hype

As the financial year has ended, the buzz around investing the entire Rs. 1.5 lakh limit into your Public Provident Fund (PPF) account before April 5th intensifies. While on the surface, it seems like a prudent decision. If you ask me, it’s not worth the hype. Let me explain. 

The whole notion of investing the entire Rs. 1.5 lakhs (annual upper limit) to your PPF account before April 5th stems from the belief that it maximizes your returns. As per PPF rules, the interest for the month is calculated on the minimum balance in the account between the 5th and the last day of the month. So, if you deposit any money after the cut-off date of 5th, you’ll miss the interest on the deposited amount for that month.  

For example, if your opening PPF balance is Rs. 5 lakhs and you deposit Rs. 1.5 lakhs say on 8th April, you will earn interest on the minimum balance recorded for the month between 5th and 30th April, i.e. Rs. 5 lakhs. Of course, from the second month onwards, you would continue to enjoy interest on the deposited amount as well. 

But how much of a difference does not investing BEFORE 5th April really make? Let’s find out. 

Suppose on 1st April, you had an opening balance of Rs. 5 lakhs. Let’s compare two scenarios to understand how the difference would play out. Under the first scenario, we’ll deposit the Rs. 1.5 lacks before 5th April in one go, and under the second scenario, we will deposit the Rs. 1.5 lakhs after 5th April. 


Invested the Rs. 1.5 lakhs Before 5th April: 

Suppose you deposited the amount on 4th April. Thus, your new PPF balance becomes Rs. 6.5 lakhs (Rs. 5 lakhs opening balance + Rs. 1.5 lakhs new deposit). As per the rules, your minimum balance for the month would be recorded as Rs. 6.5 lakhs and you would earn monthly interest on this amount. Assuming a 7.1% interest compounding annually, your PPF corpus by the end of the financial year would clock up to Rs. 6.96 lakhs. 


Invested Rs. 1.5 lakhs After 5th April 

Now suppose you missed the cut-off date and deposited the Rs. 1.5 lakhs on 8th April. In this case, your minimum monthly balance between 5th and 30th April would be recorded as Rs. 5 lakhs and you would earn interest for the April month only on this amount. Your PPF corpus by the end of the financial year, in this case, would amount to Rs. 6.95 lakhs. 

As you can see, the difference is not massive. Yes, there is a difference of about Rs. 887, but if you zoom out and think on a grander scale, it’s trivial.  

Even if you invest in equal monthly installments of Rs. 12,500 each, the difference after accounting for opportunity cost is not meaningful even after 15 years.  

If you ask me, the purpose of saving and investing money is to help us achieve certain future goals – you might want a new car, or a new house, or you might be saving for your kids’ college tuition. Having that purpose in the back of the mind is really important. And you just have to ask yourself – Is this decision really going to impact my ability to achieve my goal by a significant amount?  

If the answer is no, it’s not worth sweating about. You would probably be better off worrying about more meaningful things like the asset allocation or risk profile instead of letting the noise occupy your mind.  

Remember, don’t miss the forest for the trees. While investing Rs. 1.5 lakhs to your PPF account before 5th April is a good thing, it’s not going to make a meaningful difference to your life. Cut the noise and think long-term. 


Thank you for reading and have a nice day! 

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