Heike Moeller February 12, 2020 Mutual Fund
The five costs of mutual fund investing are: 1. Tax Costs - excessive capital gains from active trading. 2. Transaction Costs - the cost of trades themselves. 3. Opportunity Costs - dollars taken out of portfolios for a fund`s safekeeping. 4. Sales Charges - both seen and hidden. 5. Expense Ration ("management fees") - no end to increases in site.
This essay is to enlighten investors on what they are getting into if they are relying on mutual funds as a way to provide for their financial freedom at the time of retirement. Due to the complexities of following stocks and finding competent money management, unless you are a multi-millionaire, many Americans have turned to the quick fix known as a Mutual Fund.
Before you invest in a fund, look at the fees the company charges. You will notice these fees in the prospectus. If you are ambitious, you will be able to find the fee structure online. Always go with a fund that has a low expense ratio and stay away from 12b-fees. When buying mutual funds you will have various types of choose from. There are money market funds, municipal bond funds, corporate bond funds, mortgage-backed securities funds, U.S. Government bond funds, stock funds, and index funds.
Along with the increased buying and selling activities of an active manager comes a higher expense charge for those trading and management costs. Most actively managed funds have a 50 to 100% higher operating expense ratio than the average index fund. If you are not getting better returns, this can cost plenty over time. Also if your quality manager leaves the fund, you may need to find a better alternative.
Watch for a solid record of returns, rather than funds showing spurts of great years followed by fits of lousy ones. Compare the funds returns to a relevant benchmark index, (large-cap vs. S&P 500, small-cap to the Russell Index, etc.) Solid funds should not only consistently beat the benchmarks, they should also beat their peers.
Index Funds: Any fund that is made up of a static portfolio structured to mirror the investments of a proposed market index is classified as an index fund. There are small cap indices, bond indices, international indices, specialty indices and many others. The most widely used is the S&P 500 index where the fund uses the same 500 stocks that are included in the Standard and Poors 500. These portfolios are only changed when and if the index changes its holdings which allows for a very tax efficient, low turnover investment.
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