Understanding Mutual Funds Loss

Losses in mutual funds are expected as it depends on market conditions, but redeeming in haste can bring the losses in reality. Read to know more in the blog.
Understanding Mutual Funds Loss
3 mins read

Mutual funds offer many benefits to investors. They help diversify your portfolio, give you the advantage of professional fund management and even offer tax benefits. However, on the flip side, there is one key limitation — the returns from mutual funds are not guaranteed. So, it is natural to be worried about mutual fund losses.

If you are on the fence about MF investment, you may be wondering if you can lose money in mutual funds. Let us find out the answer to this question and see what to do if it is a possibility.

Can you lose money in mutual funds?

The short answer? Yes. It is possible to lose money in mutual funds depending on how the values of the assets in the fund’s portfolio move. The value of a mutual fund is generally expressed in terms of the Net Asset Value (NAV) of its units. The formula for the NAV per unit is simple, as shown below:

Net Asset Value (NAV) per unit = (Fund’s Assets — Fund’s Liabilities) ÷ Total Number of Outstanding Units

For example, say a fund’s total assets amount to Rs. 50 lakhs and its liabilities amount to Rs. 5 lakhs. If the fund has 1 lakh units outstanding, the NAV per unit will be Rs. 45 (i.e. Rs. 50 lakhs minus Rs. 5 lakhs, divided by 1 lakh units).

Now, say you invest Rs. 90,000 in the fund. Since the NAV of the fund is Rs. 45 per unit, you can purchase 2,000 units. After a year, if the NAV of the fund drops to Rs. 35 per unit, your holdings will only be worth Rs. 70,000. This essentially means you have lost Rs. 20,000 in the mutual fund.

What to do if you are losing money in mutual funds?

Losses and underperformance are common in the markets. However, many investors are not aware of how to react and what steps to take next. If you too are not sure what to do in case you suffer mutual fund losses, here are some tips that can help.

  • Avoid panic selling: Panic or fear is the first emotion you may feel when you discover that you are losing money in mutual funds. This emotion may prompt you to exit the fund immediately before the losses increase. However, such panic-driven selling is rarely a smart move. So, ensure that you remain calm and perform the various assessments required.
  • Look into the reason for the loss: The first thing you need to assess is the reason for the loss. Is your mutual fund performing badly because the overall market is in a bearish phase? In that case, your mutual fund losses may be due to the broad market forces. Such downturns are common in the market and usually correct or reverse with time.
  • Capitalise on the downtrend: If the downtrend is a broad-market phenomenon, you can capitalise on the falling prices while you wait for them to reverse upward. This is possible if you have chosen SIP investments instead of a lump sum investment because you can accumulate more fund units in a falling market, thereby increasing your investments.
  • Compare fund performance: You also need to better understand if the mutual fund losses are generic or specific to the scheme you have invested in. To do this, you can compare the fund performance with that of other schemes in the same category. If other similar funds are performing well, your specific scheme may be poorly managed, leading to losses.
  • Take corrective action if needed: In case you are losing money in mutual funds because of fund-specific factors, it may be time to take corrective action. If a fund has been consistently underperforming for 2 to 3 years or more, it may be time to redirect your capital to other better-performing schemes in the same category.
  • Diversify your investments: If no corrective action is required, you can diversify your portfolio and include other upward-trending assets in your basket of investments. This will help offset some of the mutual fund losses while you wait for the market to correct and the prices to rise once more.


This concludes our guide on what to do if you are losing money in mutual funds. You can follow all these practices or handpick the ones that work best for your specific investment journey. However, the important thing to remember is that downturns are a part of the market cycle. So, it is crucial to ensure you do not succumb to negative biases stemming from fear or panic.

If you are looking for mutual fund schemes that can help you meet your various short-term and long-term goals, the Bajaj Finserv Mutual Funds Platform is the place to be. Check out the 1,000+ fund options available on our platform, compare the mutual funds of your choice and identify the ideal scheme for your goals.

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Frequently asked questions

What to do if my SIP investments are incurring losses?

If you are incurring losses in your mutual fund SIPs, it is important to avoid panic-driven selling. Instead, check if the downtrend is due to broad-market triggers. In that case, you can remain invested and accumulate more units till the prices reverse upward.

Should I redeem my mutual fund investments if they are making losses?

If your mutual fund losses are due to market-related triggers, you may continue to remain invested provided the portfolio is solid and made of quality securities. However, if it is a fund-specific issue, you may need to take corrective measures.

Can my mutual fund investment value go to zero?

The chances of your mutual fund investment value going to zero are practically almost impossible as it would mean that all the assets in the fund’s portfolio will have to lose their entire value. However, the returns from a fund can go to zero or even become negative.

When to exit a mutual fund?

You may consider exiting a mutual fund if your target returns have been achieved, if your target goal is approaching or if the fund has been consistently underperforming.

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