Not All Investments In Mutual Funds Are Created Equal

July 13, 2012 · Posted in Investments 

A mutual fund is a pooled investment. When you buy shares in a mutual fund, you are buying shares in a professionally managed portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities.

Investment managers are responsible for buying and selling securities according to specific investment objectives, which are identified in the prospectus. Buying shares of a mutual fund can give you built-in diversification. A single mutual fund holds many different securities. When you buy into a mutual fund, investment professionals manage your money. They carefully research, select, and supervise all the assets in the mutual fund. This frees you from having to select and track individual investments. When you invest in mutual funds, you get access to some of the finest investment minds on Wall Street.

They like having a professional manager oversee the day-to-day decisions that a changing stock investment involves and see that as a distinct advantage. A good manager, they might argue, has access to information that would cost them an exorbitant amount, even if they had the time and inclination to do the work themselves.

Mutual funds make managing your portfolio very easy. Periodic statements will fill you in on the performance of your mutual fund, transactions within your account, and more. You’ll also be kept informed about the taxability of your distributions.

When one security in a fund drops, an insightful fund manager may have included stocks that could cushion or offset that loss. Diversification is a big selling factor for mutual funds; there is, in fact, relative safety in numbers. But that’s not to say that an investor couldn’t diversify via his own stock selections. Remember that diversification cannot eliminate or guarantee against the risk of investment loss; it is a method used to help manage investment risk.

Growth and income funds attempt to achieve both long-term growth and current income. They invest primarily in high-yield common stock, preferred stock, and convertible debt (bonds) to generate both growth and income. Because they include a mix of investments, these funds are typically less risky than growth funds.

Transacting business with stocks can be a more complicated experience. Placing buy orders, selling shares, or dictating any number of orders can be time-consuming. To some, however, that’s just part of the experience. In summary, fund investors are often attracted by the overall convenience. By way of contrast, stock investors may tend to be more comfortable with their own investing skills.

Index funds are mutual funds that attempt to match the performance of any of several market indexes. For example, a stock index fund may hold stocks that mirror the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Index funds provide a broad diversification within a single type of asset class. The performance of an unmanaged index is not indicative of the performance of any specific security. Individuals cannot invest directly in any index.

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