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Getting started with Mutual Funds

Investing in mutual funds is a great way to devote your savings and increase your income.
Most people prefer mutual fund investments amongst other stock market investments as they don’t require your active participation.
Also, unlike trading stocks, options, and other securities, mutual fund investing requires little or no expertise.
However, it is important to have a good knowledge of how the investment works before delving into it.

What is a Mutual Fund?

A mutual fund is described as “a professionally managed investment vehicle that pools money from numerous investors to purchase securities,” according to Wikipedia.
These investors may be individuals or institutions.
In simpler terms, a mutual fund is a pool of money collected from different investors by expert fund managers who invest the money in the stock exchange market.

Since not everyone has experience investing in stocks, mutual funds provide a leeway to invest directly in the money market. The amount of money you can invest is usually unrestricted.
The more money you invest, the more returns you are entitled to.

How Mutual Funds Work

Mutual fund investment is a very simple concept. Here is an illustration to give you a better prospect of the concept.
Mr. Adams is an experienced trader with a vast knowledge of the stock exchange market and investment strategies.
Mr. Adams decides to start a mutual fund and calls for investors.
Let’s assume he gets 10 investors, all contributing $1,000 each, which gives Mr. Adams $10,000 worth of mutual funds to invest in.

Mr. Adams then creates mutual fund units and allocates them to each investor based on the amount contributed.
He creates MF units of $100 each, so each of the 10 investors will get 10 units of mutual funds.
This is done so people can easily track their investments.
It also means that any new investor will need $100 to be able to buy a unit of the mutual fund.
Amount invested by each investor = $1,000

  • MF units allocated = 10
  • Cost per unit (NAV) = $100
  • Total MF units = 100


So Mr. Adams started trading in the stock market with $10,000. He buys stocks, bonds, treasury bills, and other securities.
After a few months, Mr. Adams will calculate the current value of the mutual fund investment and the profit that has been made.
If the value of the investment rises to $11,000 (additional profit of $1,000), for instance,
Then the face value of each unit of the MF would be $110 ($11,000/100).

The $11,000 value would be gotten after deducting the amount Mr. Adam will take for using his expertise and time for the investment.
The value of the investment and, consequently, the face value of the mutual fund will continue to increase monthly and yearly.
So if you invest $1,000, for instance, your investment may rise by more than 50% in months. This profit can be shared in three different ways.


Understanding Mutual Funds

How Mutual Fund Profits Are Shared

Dividend scheme

With this system, profit is declared and shared with investors as a dividend.
So if the MF fund house (Mr. Adams in this case) declares a dividend of 50% at the end of the year, investors will get a $50 dividend on every unit of MF they own.
If you invested $1,000, for instance, (10 units), your dividend for the period would be $500 (10 x $50).

However, your initial mutual fund investment of $1000 will still be invested to continue earning interest for you.
An important point to highlight here is that the face value (NAV) of a unit of the MF will be reduced once interest is paid.
So, for instance, if the value had increased to $200 per unit of MF, then upon paying a $50 dividend, it would be reduced to $150.

Growth Scheme

With this system, no payment is made to investors for some time. Rather, the investment is left to grow.
The value of the 10 MF you hold will continue to grow. This scheme is ideal for long-term investors.

Dividend Re-investment

Under this arrangement, when a dividend is declared by the MF house, the recurring amount isn’t paid out to the investors; rather, it is reinvested into the fund.
So, for instance, if you were to be paid a dividend of $500 as in our previous illustration, Instead of handing you the money, you will be allotted extra MF units equaling the amount.
In this case, if the value of each unit is N150, then you get an extra 3.3 mutual fund units.


Each scheme has its advantages. If you want to receive payments for your mutual fund investment, then you should choose the dividend scheme.
However, if you want a long-term investment to accumulate over a period, then you should choose either the growth or dividend reinvestment scheme.
It is also important to state that every mutual fund has a locking period, after which investors can exchange their mutual fund investments for cash.


So you can easily sell off your mutual funds to get cash.
The return you get is, however, dependent on the profit-sharing scheme you choose.
An investor in the growth scheme would earn more than another using the dividend plan because the latter has received dividend payments before.


Investing in Mutual Funds

Mutual fund investing offers a great way to put money in the stock market, especially if you are inexperienced.
There are several benefits to investing in mutual funds and I will outline them below.

Benefits of Mutual Fund Investment

Here are 10 advantages of mutual funds investment.

1. Simplicity.

For the ordinary investor, putting together a stock and bond portfolio can be challenging, if not impossible. For most people, the time and knowledge required to research and assess a dozen or more companies, for example, is prohibitively difficult. That’s not to mention the trades required to construct the portfolio, as well as the continuing research and analysis required to keep it in good shape. When it comes to mutual funds, however, individuals can begin investing with just one mutual fund.

2. Professionally Managed.

The fact that mutual funds are professionally managed is one of the main reasons why investing in them is simple. Instead of performing your own research, analysis, and buying and selling of stocks and bonds, you have a professional money manager do it for you. The core of how mutual funds work is professional management: When investors purchase mutual fund shares, they are pooling their money. Managers utilize this fund to purchase the stocks and bonds that eventually constitute a portfolio.

3. You Can Invest in a Variety of Ways.

Depending on your financial aim, risk appetite, and time horizon, mutual funds offer a variety of scheme possibilities.

4. Diversification

Diversification is a primary goal for many investors, but it can be difficult to achieve, particularly for smaller accounts.
Diversifying your investments greatly minimizes the risk associated with owning a single investment that can perform poorly.
The beauty of mutual funds is that every dollar you invest is spread across a variety of assets. Your money is pooled with that of other investors and invested in dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of different securities.

5. Mutual Funds are Readily Available.

Many mutual fund firms allow customers to start investing in a certain amount of money. Furthermore, because mutual funds are easily traded, their low cost and ease of usage make them accessible.

6. Investment and Withdrawals are Done Systematically.

It’s simple to take advantage of mutual funds’ systematic investment. Many mutual fund firms allow investors to put money into a mutual fund every month. Money can be withdrawn from a bank account and directly invested in a mutual fund. Money can be taken from a mutual fund and placed into a bank account regularly. In most cases, there are no charges for this service.

6. Automatic Reinvestment.

Without a sales load or additional costs, an investor can easily and automatically have capital gains and dividends reinvested into their mutual fund. You should use the option to reinvest dividends and capital gains unless you are searching for income (i.e. dividends separated and placed into cash for income purposes). This will take advantage of compounding interest, which simply means that instead of the cash coming out and being put into a separate account, the interest, dividends, and gains will be used to acquire more shares of your mutual funds.

7. Transparency.

Investors will be kept up to date on market and scheme information. They can look at info sheets, offer paperwork, yearly reports, and other documents.

8. Well-Regulated.

The Securities and Exchange Board regulates and oversees mutual funds. Investors’ interests are protected by this organization. This makes mutual funds a safer investing option. Mutual funds must present investors with conventional information about their investments, as well as supplementary disclosures such as the scheme’s specific investments and the amount of money invested in each security.

9. Liquidity.

Unless there is a pre-determined lock-in period, mutual funds are considered liquid investments. This implies that as an investor, you can redeem your unit holdings at any time (subject to any exit load, if any) and have access to your money at any time. Furthermore, funds are well-integrated with the banking system, which means that the majority of funds may send money immediately to your bank account.

The Risks of Investing in Mutual Fund

The following is a list of the most common forms of investment risk that mutual funds face*.

1. Market Risk

The possibility of losing some or all of your principal. Because markets change, it’s always possible that the mutual funds you own will fall in value.

2. Risk of Rising Interest Rates

The possibility that rising interest rates will depreciate the value of your mutual funds. Bond prices fall as interest rates rise, and bond mutual funds may suffer as a result.

3. Risk of Inflation

There’s a chance you’ll lose your purchasing power. If your mutual funds increase by 5% in a year while your cost of living increases by 2%, you will only receive a true return of 3%.

4. Currency Volatility Risk.

The possibility that your gains will be eroded if the currency rate falls (or add to losses). Even if the value of a foreign-currency-denominated fund rises, a drop in the foreign currency’s value can diminish your profits when converted back into Canadian dollars.

5. Credit Risk

The danger is that a bond or other security issuer will run out of money before making interest payments or redeeming the bonds for face value when they mature. Larger returns are paid on securities with a higher risk of default.

Fortunately, not all mutual funds are vulnerable to all types of risk. For example, equity funds are vulnerable to market risk but can help protect against inflation. Fixed-income funds, on the other hand, are vulnerable to interest-rate risk while providing some protection against market risk. You can lessen the impact of risk on your overall portfolio by diversifying.

Mutual fund Companies

BlackRock Mutual Funds

In 1998, BlackRock partnered with PNC Financial Services Group to launch its first mutual funds.
The majority of BlackRock mutual funds need an initial commitment of $0 to $1,000.
Furthermore, BlackRock Technology Opportunities Fund Service Shares (BSTSX) was one of the best-performing BlackRock mutual funds over the last year. The fund has performed admirably.

Black Rock Mutual Fund

Blackrock’s Best Mutual Fund.

BlackRock Technology Opportunities Fund Service Shares S| Mutual Fund

The Fund’s goal is to deliver long-term capital growth. It invests at least 80 percent of its net assets in equity securities issued by the U.S and non-U.S technology companies in all market capitalization categories, which are chosen for their rapid and long-term growth potential from technological development, advancement, and application.
It has the potential to invest in both existing and developing markets. The fund generally invests in common stock, although it may also buy preferred shares and convertible securities. It also has the option of investing in Rule 144A securities, which are privately placed shares purchased by qualified institutional buyers.

Vanguard Mutual Funds

If a random sample of the population were asked to name the largest mutual fund business, the Vanguard Group would almost certainly come out on top.
Vanguard is the most serious competitor to BlackRock.
Its appeal stems from a large number of fund offerings (over 190 in the United States), minimal fees, and a proven track record of positive returns.
As of January 2021, the Vanguard Group managed about $7.2 trillion.

Vanguard Mutual Funds

Vanguard Best Mutual funds

Admiral Shares of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX)

The VTSAX fund, which requires a minimum investment of $3,000, give investors exposure to the entire US equity market, including small-, mid-, and late-growth and value equities.
The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares, which was founded in 1992, has about a trillion dollars in assets under management and more than 3,590 stocks in its portfolio.
Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Facebook are among the company’s top holdings.

Charles Schwab Mutual Fund

For nearly five decades, Charles Schwab has been a trusted name in the financial services business, with its major fund products focusing on index funds.
Its funds have grown in prominence as a result of its low fees and lack of a minimum investment requirement.
Charles Schwab, which includes TD Ameritrade holdings, oversees $6.7 trillion in assets as of December 2020.

Charles Schwab Mutual Funds

Best Charles Schwab Mutual Fund

The Schwab Fundamental US Large Company Index Fund  (SFLNX).

Large-cap firms like AT&T (T) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) are held in the Schwab Fundamental US Large Company Index Fund because of their solid financial profiles, which include revenue growth, dividends, and share buybacks.
The fund is adequately diversified at the sector level and has a tiny 0.25 percent expense ratio, significantly lower than the 1 percent for large-cap value mutual funds.
A 5.5 percent interest in Apple (AAPL), a 2.3 percent stake in Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), and a 2.1 percent stake in Exxon Mobil Corp. are among the top holdings (XOM).
The fund’s three-year return was 11.8 percent, while its five-year return was 9.6 percent.

Mutual Fund Calculator

A mutual fund calculator is a useful financial tool that allows investors to determine the returns on their mutual fund investments. How can you choose between the hundreds of mutual funds on the market? Examining the future and the costs that could eat into long-term returns is an excellent approach to narrow down your options. This is where a mutual fund calculator can come in handy.

What Is The Best Way To Use The Mutual Fund Calculator?

  • Set A Starting Investment Amount.
  • Next, if you plan to make regular new investments (as experts recommend), select an annual contribution. Many mutual funds have a minimum initial commitment, but if you make monthly installments, your broker may waive that requirement.
  • Add the number of years you intend to keep your money in the fund. The higher the prospective rewards, the longer the time horizon.
  • Enter the mutual fund’s expected yearly return. (You can look up the fund’s past performance on the internet, but keep in mind that past success is no guarantee of future outcomes.)
  • Finally, add the mutual fund’s annual expenses, also known as the cost ratio. Lower fees imply more of your money will stay invested for long-term growth potential.

List of Mutual Fund Calculators

Mutual Funds vs. ETF

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) both have several advantages for your portfolio, including low-cost immediate diversification. However, there are some significant distinctions, particularly in terms of the cost of the funds. Overall, ETFs have an advantage because they are more likely to practice passive investing and offer tax benefits. Here’s a breakdown of the difference between mutual fund and ETFs.

  • Mutual funds are typically actively managed, meaning that they buy and sell assets inside the fund to beat the market and help investors profit.
  • ETFs are often passively managed because they mirror a certain market index and may be purchased and sold much like stocks.
  • Mutual funds have higher fees and expense ratios than ETFs, which reflects, in part, the higher expenses of active management.
  • Mutual funds can be open-ended (where trading takes place between investors and the fund and the number of shares available is unlimited) or closed-end (where the fund issues a fixed number of stocks regardless of the investor demand).
  • Exchange-traded open-end index mutual funds, unit investment trusts, and grantor trusts are the three types of ETFs.

Index Funds vs. Mutual Funds

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) both have several advantages for your portfolio, including low-cost immediate diversification. However, there are some significant distinctions, particularly in terms of the cost of the funds. Overall, ETFs have an advantage because they are more likely to practice passive investing and offer tax benefits.

ETFs and Mutual Funds Have Certain Similarities.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds have the most in common because they are both professionally managed collections of individual stocks or bonds, or “baskets.”

The Difference Between Mutual Fund and Index Fund.

  1. If you prefer smaller minimum investment amounts.                                                                               An ETF can be purchased for the price of one share, often known as the ETF’s market price. Depending on the ETF, the price could be as low as $50 or as high as a few hundred dollars. The minimal initial investment in a mutual fund is not determined by the fund’s share price. Instead, they’re a certain sum of money. A $3,000 minimum investment in most Vanguard mutual funds will get you 30 shares of a hypothetical fund with a net asset value (NAV) of $100 per share.
  2. If you want more direct control over your trade’s price.
    ETFs not only provide real-time pricing, but they also allow you to employ more advanced order types that provide you the most price control. It’s fine if you want to keep things simple. Simply place a market order. It will bring you the greatest current pricing without the hassle. You’ll get the same price as everyone else who bought and sold that day, regardless of when you place your order. That price isn’t determined until the end of the trading day.
  3. If you wish to automate the repetition of specific transactions.
    ETFs do not allow you to make automatic investments or withdrawals. Depending on your preferences, you can set up automatic investments and withdrawals into and out of mutual funds.
  4. If you want to invest in an index fund.
    The majority of ETFs, including our approximately 70 Vanguard index ETFs, are index funds (often known as “passive” investments). We also have over 65 Vanguard index mutual funds to choose from.

Mutual Funds vs. Stocks

When you buy a stock, you’re buying a piece of one company’s shares. By combining multiple firm equities into one investment, a mutual fund provides more diversification.

What does it imply?
An individual company’s share. You can profit as a shareholder by selling the shares at a profit or receiving a dividend. A unit of a fund that is made up of a variety of investments. It’s possible that the assets were picked to reflect a specific industry or to balance earnings and losses.

Who Is It Most Appropriate For?
Investors seeking potentially profitable financial gains from increased stock prices and/or dividends, as well as those seeking voting power within the company.
Those who want their investing decisions made for them. Professional fund managers choose which stocks, bonds, and other investments to buy and sell for most mutual funds.

What Are the Fees and Costs?
When you purchase and sell stocks, you must pay a trading charge. When you sell, you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on the price increase. When you purchase or sell shares, you may be charged sales commissions, as well as management costs. Even if you hold the fund, you may have to pay capital gains taxes since mutual fund managers buy and sell positions within the fund.

What is the relationship between risk and reward?
You’re betting on the success of a single firm when you buy a single stock. If the company does well, you’ll make money; if it doesn’t, you’ll lose money. Mutual funds are more diversified than individual stocks, so they are less risky by definition, but they can still lose money. Their gains and losses are typically lower than those of equities.

Bottom line

It is important to make investment decisions with efficiency.
Knowledge of how mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other securities on the stock exchange market work would enable you to make profitable investment decisions.

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