In this video I discuss the differences between Index Funds vs ETFs vs Mutual Funds and give you my opinion on what’s the best investment is for your portfolio.
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DIFFERENCES: I want to start with Mutual Funds and why I think they are a mistake to purchase in this day/age. Mutual funds have been around the longest and the biggest identifier of a mutual fund is that it is professionally managed – this is also referred to as ACTIVE management. Stocks that are chosen within a Mutual Fund are chosen by a professional stock manager.
The fund fees are often higher because well, you have to pay the mutual fund manager to do the work. Typically mutual funds charge 1-2% per YEAR on the amount that you have invested into the mutual fund, which is called their expense ratio.
Index Funds typically have low fees. Their management style is PASSIVE management. An Index Fund is like a Mutual Fund, but it has no portfolio manager, thus saving you on fees.
An Index Fund just is constructed to MATCH or TRACK the components of a financial market index, such as the S&P 500. By buying the S&P 500 Index Fund, such as VFIAX, for around $300 you get to own a small percentage of the entire index.
Index funds seek to match the risk and return of the market, on the theory that in the long-term, the market will outperform any single investment. And
SO whats an ETF then?
Well a ETF is still a basket of securities, but its main difference is that it trades on the market so you can buy and sell it throughout the day, an Index Fund however, only trades once per day.
If you buy an ETF, since it trades like a stock, you’ll still be paying some commissions on it with a typical online broker.
Since ETFs do trade on the market, you can buy and sell it as you please, which, if you want that flexibility, it’s there. However, I would just recommend buying and holding if you are purchasing an ETF that tracks the market.
The other difference is that with these online brokerages, you may be able to buy into ETFs using fractional shares – which means if you have $50 you can buy a portion of an ETF, instead where some Index Funds might have a minimum – VFIAX for example has an initial minimum of $3000.
So which one is right for you?
Overall, I don’t love Mutual Funds. So with the remaining options – I would say, go with an Index Fund if you can meet the minimums and want a very passive strategy where you don’t want to be involved in your own portfolio, with Index funds you can also automatically reinvest dividends which is super powerful. Buy an ETF if you want to have more control over your own portfolio, and if you want to buy fractionally into them.
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