For How Long Should You Top-Up Your Mutual Fund Investments?

Updated: June 25, 2024

Investing should not be a one-time activity. Rather, it’s best to do it regularly and over a long period of time. Making it a habit is the key to building wealth.

Thus, people who have Mutual Fund (or Unit Investment Trust Fund) investments should remember to top up or add more money to their investments.

Topping up means buying more shares of the same mutual fund you already have—and ideally, doing it on a frequent schedule, such as monthly or quarterly.

At this point, many start to ask, “How long should I top up my mutual fund investments?”

Should you continuously top up for 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? Should you increase the amount you top up every year or just top up with a fixed amount until the end? Below are my recommendations.

How much should you top up?

You must first decide how often you want to top up. For me, the best is monthly. But it’s perfectly okay to top up every so often, i.e., every 2 months or every 4 months, and so on. What’s important is you do it at least once a year.

Let’s say you chose to top up quarterly (every 3 months). Then, ask yourself how much you can afford to top up at this frequency. Ensure it’s a comfortable amount that won’t affect your regular spending budget.

Should I increase my top-ups over time?

It is recommended but not required. If you can afford to invest more money, you can increase your top-ups on your mutual fund investments or put it on a new investment—it’s your decision, and both are okay.

If you receive a windfall or a large sum of money suddenly comes your way, you can top-up all that amount in one go. Or, divide the amount over a period of 1-2 years and do cost averaging.

For how long should I top up?

And now, for the big question: how many years should you continuously top-up and invest in your mutual fund? The answer depends on your financial goal.

It’s important to have a reason for investing. This means having a specific purpose for the money. Is it to buy a house? For a dream vacation? Business capital? Your child’s college education? Or perhaps for your own retirement fund?

Having a specific purpose for the money means setting a target amount and date. For example, you could use it for your child’s college education, which you calculated to be P1.2 million after 10 years.

When you reach your target amount
Before you top up, check the total current value of your investment. You can stop topping up the moment it reaches your target amount.

When this happens, you are advised to redeem your shares and invest the amount in a low-risk investment to protect it from market volatility. If the money is in a low-risk mutual fund in the first place, then there’s no need to do anything.

Five (5) years before the target date for Aggressive / High-Risk Mutual Funds
If you’re investing in and topping up on a high-risk mutual fund (e.g., Equity Funds), it’s recommended that you stop buying additional shares when you reach 5 years from your target date.

Instead, you should monitor the total current value of your investment and consider when it is the best time to redeem the shares so you can transfer them to a low-risk investment.

This would be within the next 1-2 years depending on the economy’s direction. You’re doing this because it’s important to lock in your profits and minimize your money’s exposure to market volatility as your target date draws near.

Three (3) years before the target date for Moderate-Risk Mutual Funds
If your money is in a moderately aggressive investment (i.e., Balanced Funds), you can stop topping up your mutual fund when you reach 3 years from your target date.

The reason for doing this is the same as for the high-risk investment above. Likewise, after redeeming your shares, you can invest the money in a low-risk instrument.

One (1) year before the target date for Low-Risk Mutual Funds
Finally, if you’re investing in conservative funds (i.e., Fixed Income or Money Market Funds), then you can just top-up until a year before your target date.

Any additional funds you have can be invested in another financial goal. Alternatively, you can save the money in a savings account, where it’s safely waiting to be used and spent when your target date arrives.

Summary

The key to building wealth is to invest regularly. Start investing with what’s comfortable for you, but work on increasing the amount over time.

Have a purpose when investing. This means having a target amount and a target date. Both are important in helping you decide when to stop adding more money to your mutual fund investment.

Redeem your shares when you reach your target amount. Or when you reach the optimal time to lock in your profits and minimize your investment risk.

Never forget that the objective of investing is not simply to make money but to afford your dreams and to reach your financial goals.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy

3 comments

  1. This is one of the best information that I’ve read regarding mutual funds. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. […] For How Long Should You Top-Up Your Mutual Fund Investments? Should you continuously top-up for 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? And also, should you increase the amount you top-up every year, or just top-up with a fixed amount until the end? This post answers these questions. […]

  3. I have never invested in mutual funds because you can not use them as an underlying to write options against and “juice” the returns. Also, unless the fund manager has provisions to purchase put option protection and / or go short, then you are fully at the mercy of the market in a major downturn. A lot of folks, I believe, want to treat mutual funds as “set it and forget it” investments. Over a very long time frame this can work. Thank you Fitz for showing that mutual funds are NOT completely maintenance free. There will come a point in time where an investor MUST begin to make decisions about when to exit, hopefully at a swing high and protect profits.

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