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Tax-Advantaged Traditions: Unveiling ELSS and Traditional Avenues

Traditional Tax Vs Traditional ELSS

Tax season can often feel daunting, but with the right knowledge and planning, you can leverage traditional tax-saving avenues to your advantage. From retirement funds to investment schemes, numerous options are available to help you minimize your tax burden while securing your financial future. Among tax-saving investment options, Equity-linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) stand out as a compelling choice for those seeking both tax benefits and potential wealth creation through equity markets. Understanding the average performance of ELSS categories can provide valuable insights into these investment avenues.


When it comes to tax-saving investments, individuals often weigh the pros and cons of various options. Traditional avenues like the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), Public Provident Fund (PPF), and National Savings Certificate (NSC) have long been popular for their tax benefits and stable returns. On the other hand, traditional ELSS (category average) offers an alternative by harnessing the potential of equity markets for tax-saving purposes. This guide will explore some of the most common traditional tax-saving and traditional ELSS(category average) investments highlighting their significance, benefits, and considerations for investors.


What is traditional tax avenues?

Traditional tax-saving avenues are investment options that offer tax benefits and stable returns, commonly used to reduce taxable income. Examples include the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), Public Provident Fund (PPF), and National Savings Certificate (NSC). These options are popular for their reliability and government backing.


Traditional Tax-Saving Avenues:


Stability and Security:

Traditional tax-saving avenues such as EPF, PPF, and NSC are known for their stability and security. These investments typically offer fixed or guaranteed returns, providing a sense of security to investors.


Tax Benefits:

Investments in traditional tax-saving avenues qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, allowing individuals to save on taxes while building long-term savings.

Low to Moderate Risk: Traditional tax-saving avenues are generally associated with low to moderate risk, making them suitable for conservative investors who prioritize capital preservation.


Employee Provident Fund (EPF):

The Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) is a key component of retirement planning, with both employers and employees contributing a portion of the employee's salary to it. Over time, this fund grows and provides tax benefits, as contributions are eligible for deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. This makes EPF a popular choice for those aiming to save on taxes while building a retirement corpus.


Public Provident Fund (PPF):

The Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a government-backed savings scheme offering attractive interest rates and tax benefits under Section 80C. Contributions, interest earned, and maturity proceeds are all tax-free, making PPF a tax-efficient option for long-term wealth accumulation.


Equity-linked Savings Scheme (ELSS):

Equity-linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) offer potentially higher returns and tax benefits by investing primarily in equities. ELSS is a type of mutual fund scheme that primarily invests in equity and equity-related instruments. Qualifying for tax deductions under Section 80C, ELSS has a mandatory three-year lock-in period, making it ideal for investors with a higher risk appetite and long-term goals.


National Pension System (NPS):

The National Pension System (NPS) is a voluntary retirement savings scheme designed to ensure financial security in old age. It offers tax benefits under Section 80C and an additional deduction under Section 80CCD(1B) for contributions up to a specified limit. NPS allows individuals to choose their asset allocation and investment options, providing flexibility and control over their retirement savings. With its tax-efficient structure and potential for long-term wealth accumulation, NPS is a valuable addition to any retirement portfolio.


Life Insurance Premiums:

Life insurance not only provides financial protection to your loved ones but also offers tax benefits. Premiums paid towards life insurance policies are eligible for tax deduction under Section 80C, subject to certain conditions. Additionally, the proceeds from life insurance policies received by the nominee are tax-free under Section 10(10D), making it a tax-efficient tool for risk management and wealth preservation.


Health Insurance Premiums:

In uncertain times, having sufficient health insurance is crucial, and it also provides tax benefits. Premiums paid towards health insurance policies for self, family, or parents qualify for tax deduction under Section 80D, helping to reduce your tax liability while safeguarding your family's health.


What is Traditional ELSS (Category Average)?

Traditional ELSS refers to the average performance of Equity-linked Savings Schemes within a specific category over a defined period. ELSS funds typically invest primarily in equity and equity-related instruments, offering investors exposure to the stock market while providing tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. The category average represents the collective performance of ELSS funds within a particular category, serving as a benchmark for evaluating individual fund performance.


Benefits of Traditional ELSS (Category Average):

Tax Benefits:

Like traditional tax-saving avenues, ELSS investments qualify for tax deduction of up to ?1.5 lakh  under Section 80C, offering investors a way to save on taxes while building wealth through equity markets. However, ELSS funds have a mandatory lock-in period of three years, during which investors cannot redeem their investments.

Potential for Growth:

ELSS funds have the potential to deliver attractive returns over the long term, leveraging the growth prospects of the Indian economy and equity markets.


Professional Management:

ELSS funds are managed by experienced fund managers who employ rigorous research and analysis to identify investment opportunities and optimize portfolio performance.


Potential for Higher Returns:

ELSS primarily invests in equity and equity-related instruments, offering the potential for higher returns compared to traditional tax-saving avenues like fixed deposits or bonds.


Wealth Creation:

By investing in ELSS, investors can benefit from the growth potential of the equity markets, which may result in long-term wealth accumulation.


Mandatory Lock-in Period:

ELSS has a mandatory lock-in period of three years, encouraging investors to stay invested for the long term and potentially ride out market fluctuations.


Considerations for Investors:

Risk Profile:

While ELSS funds offer the potential for higher returns, they are also subject to market volatility. Investors should assess their risk tolerance and investment horizon before allocating funds to ELSS.


Performance Analysis:

Comparing the performance of individual ELSS funds against the category average can provide insights into their relative performance and consistency over time.


Expense Ratio:

Investors should pay attention to the expense ratio of ELSS funds, as higher expenses can erode returns over the long term. Choosing funds with lower expense ratios can enhance overall returns.


Lock-in Period:

ELSS funds have a mandatory lock-in period of three years, during which investors cannot redeem their investments. Therefore, investors should align their investment horizon with the lock-in period to avoid liquidity constraints.


Risk Tolerance:

ELSS investments are subject to market risks due to their exposure to equity markets. Investors should assess their risk tolerance and investment horizon before investing in ELSS.


Market Volatility:

ELSS funds are susceptible to market volatility, with their performance varying based on market conditions. While they provide the opportunity for increased returns, they also entail higher risk compared to conventional tax-saving options. Given the short-term fluctuations in equity markets, investors should anticipate potential fluctuations in the value of their ELSS investments.



It's important for investors to diversify their investment portfolio across different asset classes to reduce overall risk. While ELSS can offer potential for higher returns, investors should consider diversifying their portfolio with other tax-saving avenues and investment options.


Financial Goals:

Investors should align their investments in ELSS with their financial goals, whether it's retirement planning, wealth creation, or tax savings. Understanding their objectives can help investors make informed decisions about their ELSS investments.


Equity Exposure:

Traditional ELSS (category average) investments provide exposure to equity markets, offering the potential for higher returns compared to traditional tax-saving avenues. These funds invest primarily in equities and equity-related instruments, aiming to capitalize on market growth.


Comparison between traditional tax saving and tradition ELSS avenues:


Return Potential:

Traditional ELSS (category average) investments typically offer the potential for higher returns compared to traditional tax-saving avenues. However, this comes with increased volatility and risk associated with equity markets.


Investment Horizon:

Traditional tax-saving avenues often have longer lock-in periods compared to ELSS funds. While ELSS funds have a lock-in period of three years, investments in EPF, PPF, and NSC have longer lock-in periods, ranging from five to fifteen years.


Risk Profile:

Investors with a low to moderate risk appetite may prefer traditional tax-saving avenues due to their stability and security. On the other hand, investors willing to take on higher risk in exchange for potentially higher returns may opt for Traditional ELSS (category average) investments.


Effectively navigating traditional tax-saving avenues like EPF, PPF, ELSS, NPS, life insurance, and health insurance is crucial for securing financial well-being. By strategically leveraging these options, individuals can optimize tax savings while working towards long-term financial goals. Seeking advice from a financial advisor or tax expert is essential to tailor a plan that aligns with individual needs and circumstances. Traditional ELSS (category average) investments provide a tax-efficient route to tap into equity market growth while enjoying Section 80C benefits. However, investors should assess their risk tolerance and conduct thorough research before committing. The decision between traditional avenues and Traditional ELSS depends on factors like risk tolerance and investment objectives, necessitating careful consideration and expert guidance. Ultimately, a well-informed approach can lead to a secure financial future with minimized tax burden.

- IFA Team