Birgit Kuester February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
Index funds provide a static and very transparent investment portfolio. They also offer very low turnover of securities due to less buying and selling. This allows them to keep operating expenses at a minimum and usually substantially lower than their managed counterparts. The fact that they represent the entire stock or bond holdings of the index provides great diversification, which can also be a disadvantage.
If any of this scares you, rethink your investments. The asset allocation model where they show you a pie chart with so many stocks, so many bonds and maybe 3% cash is a failure. This was designed for institutions with 100% investible assets, not for individuals with lifestyle needs and expenses. You will never see any real estate in that pie chart, yet for most Americans, their home is worth more than their other investments
While it does not help the employee`s current tax situation, funds that were contributed on an after-tax basis may be easier to withdraw since they are not subject to the strict IRS rules which apply to pre-tax contributions. It does not include any matching funds that the employer might graciously throw in. Because every penny taken in the form of expenses is at least a nickel you will not have in retirement, you want low-cost funds. If these conditions are met, the funds can be withdrawn and used for one of the following five purposes.