Mutual Fund | Definition

/ˈmyo͞oCH(əw)əl fənd/

A mutual fund | spac | debt | loan | atm | definitionsallows you to buy a share of a company's professionally managed fund or portfolio. The fund is made up of stocks, bonds, or other securities.

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Did You Know

Fund managers and analysts select the types of securities that a mutual fund will hold. With mutual funds, all investors share profits and losses from the mutual fund, such as dividend payouts or the sale of stock.

Investing is a financial strategy that many people use to accumulate wealth over time. However, when starting out, there could be a couple of obstacles that need to be overcome. There are many different types of investments, and taking the time to understand what to look for while investing can take a lot of time. 


Instead of facing all of these obstacles alone, you can pay a mutual fund to take care of these hurdles for you. Some people use mutual funds, and it is important to know what it is, how it works, and whether it is worth it. 


What is a Mutual Fund?


A mutual fund allows you to buy a share of a company's professionally managed fund or portfolio. The fund is made up of stocks, bonds, or other securities. Fund managers and analysts select the types of securities. All investors share profits and losses.


A mutual fund is a firm where an investor is given an investment opportunity. These companies specialize in developing investment strategies that will provide returns to themselves and their customers. 


The investor will give money to the mutual fund, and in return, they will own parts of different shares. The portfolio manager picks out diverse stocks to put in his portfolio. This person is legally required to make decisions based on the client's best interest. 


Once the mutual fund has selected the shares they want to keep for the short term, and long term, those they wish to buy and sell frequently, an investor can then purchase shares in the firm. Once the investor gives money to the mutual fund, they become part shareholders, meaning if the overall price of the portfolio goes up, then they can sell their shares in the mutual fund for a profit. 


Recommended Read: How to Invest in Big Companies with Fractional Shares | Investing for Beginners

How the Mutual Fund Share Price is Calculated


The mutual fund share price is called Net Asset Value (NAV). The NAV is calculated by taking the total value of all its holdings, and dividing it by the total number of outstanding shares. At the end of each day, the price of the mutual fund will change because of the daily fluctuation in stock prices.


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Mutual funds only trade once per day. Therefore, they will only change in value once per day. Also, mutual funds typically require a larger initial investment, ranging from $1,000-$3,000 per share. 

How to Make Money in the Mutual Fund


There are a couple of ways to make money with mutual funds. The first way is through selling shares of mutual funds. As mentioned above, you can purchase the shares of mutual funds, which means that you can also sell them. As a result, if the fund performance does well and the value of the shares goes up, you can then sell those shares at a profit.


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Another way of making money through mutual funds is by earning dividends or interest. Since mutual funds invest in a variety of different financial instruments, these positions sometimes give out passive income in the form of dividends and interest payments. Once the mutual fund receives these amounts, they distribute them proportionately among the investors in the mutual fund.


Lastly, for actively managed funds, the experts constantly look at the ideal time to purchase and sell a stock. If they decide to sell their position in the stock market, then these capital gains would also be proportionately distributed back to the investors. 


Recommended Read: How to Read Financial Statements | Investing for Beginners

How Mutual Funds Make Money


Mutual funds make money in various ways, but one primary way is through redemption fees. When the mutual fund sells shares it was holding, a portion of the gains earned will be charged back to the investor. The redemption fees are capped at 2% by the SEC to ensure that mutual funds do not charge a substantial fee for earning their client money. 


Another fee mutual funds charge is expense ratios. Expense ratios are typically around 1%-3% of the total assets under its current management. As a result, the more assets the firm has under its control, the higher the rate it will charge its clients. 


Why People Invest in Mutual Funds


There are a couple of reasons why people invest in mutual funds, but one of the main reasons is because of their passive investing nature. With a mutual fund, someone else is actively managing the portfolio and making the tough decisions, freeing up time for the investor elsewhere. 


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Another reason why people invest in mutual funds is that they do not have personally research any investments. Mutual funds have already chosen which companies to invest in, and typically these investments are based on a set financial strategy. 

Types of Mutual Funds


There are different types of mutual funds, but some of the most popular ones are stock funds and bond funds. 


Stock funds, also known as equity funds, are mutual funds that invest primarily in stocks. These assets focus on maximizing returns through the stock market and may sometimes take on riskier investments, depending on the client’s risk tolerance.


Mutual funds offer target date funds as well. These funds look at a person’s direction and whether they wish to put the money aside for a larger goal, such as retirement. If so, the firm will begin investing in less risky securities as retirement age becomes closer to ensure that theclient’s’ money will be maximized once they choose to stop working.


Recommended Read: How to Start Investing | Investing for Beginners


Benefits of Investing in Mutual Funds


Investing through mutual funds is more convenient for novice investors since they are managed by investment professionals, meaning it is a less hands-on approach to investing. However, since there are three ways a mutual fund can provide you with a source of income, the fees may be worth it.


Another benefit of mutual funds is the difference in strategy. Depending on your intentions and risk level, the mutual fund will have a variety of approaches to help maximize returns for its clients.


consultant and client

Image Credit: Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko /


Additionally, when purchasing shares, the transaction fees could become substantial and reduce the amount you retain after selling your positions. However, when using a mutual fund, these fees are typically covered but also much lower as the firm has a substantial amount of money used to purchase stocks


Disadvantages of Mutual Funds


One of the main disadvantages of mutual funds is the high fees. For example, one of the leading mutual funds is Vanguard, and their fees start between 5% to 7% in the beginning years, and as the years go on, their fees will lower. 

However, another disadvantage is that you do not have power over the investments being made. As a result, although you may receive money, not only is it split with other people, but you do not have say on what companies the mutual funds choose to invest. 


The Money Wrap-Up


Regardless of whether you choose to go with a mutual fund or invest yourself, considering all alternatives is key. Before deciding to invest, it is essential to thoroughly research the different investing methods and use the one which suits you the best. Investing requires due diligence, and when decisions are made without any thought, they can have negative repercussions. 


Disclaimer: The information explained in the article should not be considered as investing advice. Always do your research before investing.


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