A Quick Primer on Mutual Fund Investing | MyForexNews

A Quick Primer on Mutual Fund Investing | MyForexNews

Mutual funds are among the most sought-after investing vehicles out there. For newbie investors, it might sound a bit difficult to understand. But really, it’s simple.

Understanding the various types of mutual funds can significantly impact your investment strategy. From index funds that track a specific market index to bond funds focused on fixed income, each type of fund comes with its own set of characteristics and benefits.

Whether you’re looking for capital gains in the long term or seeking a professionally managed portfolio, mutual funds offer diverse options to meet your financial goals.

Before investing, it’s crucial to review the fund prospectus, which details management fees, transaction fees, and redemption fees. This information helps fund shareholders make informed decisions about where to allocate their resources for optimal returns. Here, we got you a quick primer on mutual fund investing. Read on and learn what you can and cannot do with mutual funds.

Types of Mutual Funds

Stock Funds Stock funds primarily invest in equities. Within this category, there are various subcategories based on the size of the companies they invest in (small-, mid-, or large-cap) or their investment approach (aggressive growth, income-oriented, or value). These funds can focus on U.S. stocks or foreign equities, and understanding their strategies can be aided by using an equity style box.

Bond Funds Bond funds fall under the fixed-income category and aim to provide a consistent return. They invest in instruments that offer a fixed rate of return like government bonds, corporate bonds, and other debt instruments. These funds distribute the interest income they generate to their shareholders. While some bond funds are actively managed to profit from undervalued bonds, they generally carry higher risks and returns, especially if they specialize in high-yield, high-risk junk bonds compared to those investing in safer government securities.

Index Mutual Funds Index mutual funds aim to mirror the performance of a specific index like the S&P 500 or the DJIA. These funds appeal to cost-sensitive investors because they require less analytical work from advisors, which means lower fees. Often, they outperform actively managed mutual funds, offering a rare blend of lower costs and better performance.

Balanced Funds Balanced funds invest in a variety of securities including stocks, bonds, money markets, or alternative investments. Known as asset-allocation funds, their goal is to reduce risk through diversification. Mutual funds often outline their allocation strategies in advance, allowing investors to know what assets they are investing in indirectly. Some funds adapt their allocation percentages dynamically to suit different investor goals or respond to market and life changes. Portfolio managers may adjust the asset class ratios as needed to align with the fund’s strategy.

Money Market Mutual Funds Money markets involve safe, short-term debt instruments, mostly government Treasury bills. The returns are modest, slightly better than regular savings accounts but less than certificates of deposit (CDs). Money market mutual funds serve as temporary holding spots for cash intended for future investments or emergencies. Unlike savings accounts or CDs, they are not insured by the FDIC.

Income Funds Income funds aim to provide consistent income, making them suitable for retirement investing. They mainly invest in government and high-quality corporate debt, holding bonds until maturity to generate interest income. While these funds’ holdings might appreciate, their primary objective is steady cash flow.

International Mutual Funds International mutual funds invest in assets outside the investor’s home country, while global funds invest worldwide. Their volatility varies based on investment location and timing. They can diversify a portfolio since returns from international investments might offset lower domestic returns.

Regional Mutual Funds Regional mutual funds concentrate on specific geographic areas, like a single country, a continent, or economically similar countries. They invest in local company stocks, bonds, or other securities. Examples include funds focusing on Europe, emerging markets, or Latin America. These funds offer growth potential from specific regions but also carry risks like political instability, currency fluctuations, and economic uncertainty.

Sector and Theme Mutual Funds Sector mutual funds target specific economic sectors, such as finance, technology, or healthcare. Theme funds may cross sectors; for example, an AI-focused fund might invest in healthcare and defense sectors. These funds vary in volatility and may see synchronized sector-wide gains or losses.

Socially Responsible Mutual Funds Socially responsible funds invest in companies that meet specific ethical criteria, avoiding industries like tobacco, alcohol, weapons, or nuclear power. Sustainable funds focus on investments in green technologies such as solar and wind power or recycling. These funds also consider environmental, social, and governance factors to ensure the companies they invest in promote environmental and community well-being.

How to Buy Stock Funds

This one’s pretty straightforward. Although mutual fund shares do not trade freely, you can easily buy directly from the fund. You can also use the services of an authorized broker through an online platform.

When you buy mutual fund shares, remember to check the type of the fund and the terms of the investment. Most of these funds require you to put in a minimum contribution, though not all do this.


And before you buy shares, you can check the costs you have to pay. These funds carry annual expense ratios derived from a percentage of your investment.

There are also a number of fees that mutual funds charge.

Load fees are a thing. These are practically the fund’s commission charges. But the money doesn’t go to the fund. The fees are for brokers who sell the shares of the funds to the investors.

Remember that not all funds carry upfront fees like this. Others carry backend load fees if you choose to redeem your shares before a predetermined time.

Trading and Settlement

When you start trading mutual funds, you need to check the process through which your trades will go.

The trade date refers to the day when you place an order to buy or sell. The settlement of the trade happens within two days after the date of trade, as per the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


dividends written on a price tag above coins - myforexnews

There are mutual funds that pay dividends. Of course, your tax liability should be protected. Every dividend distribution you receive add up to your taxable income every year.

Is earning dividend income one of your primary goals? If not, it’s best not to buy into these kinds of funds.

Now, if you want to go for it, you have to keep in mind the following:

  • The ex-dividend date is the last day when shareholders can be eligible for the dividend distribution.
  • Remember the SEC’s rule about the settlement period? Take note that because of that, the ex-dividend date usually falls three days ahead of the report date.
  • The report date refers to the day when the fund lists down the shareholders who will receive dividend payments.
  • Buy the shares ahead of the ex-dividend date for your name to be included in that list.
  • To avoid the tax impact, delay the purchase until after the record date.

How to Sell Stock Funds

Similar to buying shares, you can sell mutual fund shares directly through the fund itself or through an authorized broker.

You will receive an amount equal to the number of shares you got multiplied by the net asset value. Of course, you’d have to pay all fees and due charges.

Bottom Line

That’s how you start investing in mutual fund shares. Although it’s very unique in its structure and regulations, you probably see how it also is easy to manage once you get the ins and outs. So, learn the ropes now and earn profits later.