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ETF vs Mutual Fund: Which is Right For You?

Loan Express | September 29, 2022

Loan Express does not require credit checks, decline a loan based off a credit check, nor do credit checks affect the minimum approved amount of the loan. The following article is purely for educational purposes.

What are Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

Exchange-traded funds trade on exchanges, just like common stocks. On the other side of the trade is an investor (like yourself), not a fund manager. You can buy and sell any time during the exchange’s open and close at whatever price is offered based on market conditions. There is also no minimum holding period, which comes in handy when tracking international assets which don’t reflect new information right away. EFTs reflect the new market reality, however, faster than mutual funds can.

With an EFT, buyers and sellers are doing business with one another, and the managers have much less to do. If the price of a share is too high, EFT providers will create more supply to bring it back down, and all of this can be executed with a computer program. The EFT structure is more tax efficient, as well, since investors are taxed each year based on the gains and losses within their portfolios.

Unlike mutual funds, EFTs are relatively new, so investors who are not new to the game are likely to hold mutual funds. It is important to consider capital gains taxes when making the decision to move to an EFT.

What is a Mutual Fund?

When you put your own money into a mutual fund, the company you invested in manages it either directly or through a brokerage. The cost of a mutual fund is based on the price it stands at when the market closes that day, or the next if you place your order after the markets close. When you sell your shares, the same process occurs in reverse. Selling early can assess a penalty, so try to wait out your decision and hope the markets do well the following days instead of making a snap choice. 

Mutual funds track indexes, which means the people who run them pick different holdings to try and beat the index that they judge their performance against. This can be more costly as managed funds require spending money on analysis, company visits, and industry research, meaning mutual funds are more expensive to run and own than EFTs.

Differences between ETFs and Mutual Funds

  • EFTs don’t reinvest your monetary distributions in more units or shares, while mutual funds do.
  • Mutual funds come with a minimum investment and higher expenses, unlike EFTs. However, this means that with higher fees, investors receive more information and a better look into the exchange. 
  • EFTs trade all day, changing minute by minute, while mutual funds are priced once daily at the end of the trading day. 

What is the Cost Comparison?

If you like to be aware of the money you’re spending, you might be interested in the lower fees and no investment minimums offered by EFTs. However, if you wish to invest small amounts regularly, trading commissions can reduce your returns, increasing the cost of your investment.

Mutual funds come with a minimum investment and higher expenses because of management and operational fees, which means you get the services of a manager who is much more involved in the funds’ investment selection and management. 

So, if you are just starting out but want to independently invest in the exchange, EFTs may be the right choice for you. If you’ve been saving up to invest your money seriously and have someone manage it so you know you’ll be getting the most worth out of your trading, mutual funds may be a great step towards your financial future.

Benefits of Investing in ETFs

If you enjoy the responsibility and independence of managing your investments, ETFs that you have full control over would be great for you. ETFs trade all day, meaning the price can change minute by minute and let you monitor your shares to make an informed decision when investing or selling. This flexibility works well for some investors because they can trade any time the market is open.

Benefits of Investing in Mutual Funds

If you’re the kind of investor who saves up money to invest in something you may feel safer with, combined with a simpler, hands-off experience with advice from an advisor, mutual funds are the path for you. Mutual funds are great for those who want their portfolios professionally managed, and you can easily set up automatic investments towards your mutual funds, so you don’t have to remind yourself to contribute each month. Mutual funds also provide structure, regular cash flow, and investing your money more tax efficiently. 

Final Verdict

Mutual funds often make sense when investing in lesser-known companies, or complex yet possibly rewarding areas like equity funds with risk/reward profiles. For investors who want to keep things simple and try their hand at the exchange, the EFT combination of low costs, ease of access, and emphasis on index tracking can be very appealing. 

The right choice for you fully depends on your goals and how you want to invest your money.

Financial Help with Loan Express

The first step in investing is making sure your finances are looked after and in the right place. Navigating the financial market, from ETFs to mutual funds to even debt, can be a confusing process. Loan Express is here to help provide you with resources and financial literacy to ensure you live a worry-free life with money in your pocket that you can invest confidently.