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What is average maturity period?

Debt funds can offer relative stability and potentially steady income generation compared to investments in equities. However, there are different types of debt funds with varying maturities. Thus, choosing a suitable one requires a thorough understanding of ‘average maturity period’.

Let's break it down into simple terms.

What is average maturity period?

Imagine you lend money to multiple friends with different repayment timelines. Some pay you back in a year, while others take five years. The average maturity period represents the weighted average of these individual repayment tenures. Similarly, a debt fund invests in various bonds or debt instruments, each with a specific maturity date. The average maturity period definition, therefore, is the average time it takes for these borrowed funds to be repaid to the fund.

Why is understanding the average maturity period meaning so important?

Interest rate sensitivity: Longer maturities are generally more sensitive to interest rate changes. When interest rates rise, longer-term bonds can lose value more significantly than shorter-term ones. Conversely, when interest rates fall, longer-term bonds stand to potentially benefit more.

Investment horizon: Matching your investment horizon with the average maturity period is crucial. For short-term goals (less than 3 years), short-term debt funds with lower maturity periods can be suitable. For longer goals, consider funds with longer maturities.

Risk management: Shorter maturities generally offer relatively lower volatility and risk, while longer maturities can offer a higher potential return but with increased risk on account of market volatility.

There are two main methods of calculating average maturity period:

Weighted average maturity (WAM): This method considers the investment amount in each bond and its maturity date. Bonds with larger investments carry more weight in the calculation.

Macaulay duration: This method considers the present value of each bond's cash flows to calculate the average time until the investor receives all their money back.


The average maturity period provides an approximate timeframe but doesn't assure a definite return date for your investment. Moreover, a debt fund's risk and return profile are also influenced by factors like credit quality and issuer profile. Understanding the average maturity period can empower investors to make informed investment choices in debt funds. By considering your cash flow needs, risk tolerance, and market outlook, you can choose funds with maturity periods aligned with your financial goals. Always remember to seek professional guidance if you need personalised investment recommendations.

Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.