For good and bad, Wall Street is constantly finding new ways for investors to attempt to grow their money. But, with all these products available for investors to choose from and a massive amount of information being presented to the average investor, it is easy to understand why so many investors still ignore ETFs and stick with mutual funds.
In most cases the average investor does not have a choice between a mutual fund and ETFs when it comes to their 401(K) plans through their employer. But for those investors who decide they want to put more money to work than just their 401(K) contributions, plowing more money into mutual funds is a bad idea for three reasons: truly knowing what your buying, performance, and cost.
Knowing What You Actually Own
Walk into any retail store in the US and pick up a any product; find the tag if it's a piece of clothing, the label if it's a drug or grocery item, or even the new Christmas toy you purchased, and you can find out exactly what was used to make that product. Depending on what the product is, there are different laws that have been put in place to protect the consumer which require the manufacturer to inform the customer of exactly what they are getting at all times.
Flip to the world of finance, unfortunately knowing what you are buying at all times is not always the case. While mutual funds are required to disclose their holdings to the public, these disclosures don't typically happen more than on a quarterly or semiannual basis. So what that means is that although you think you have purchased a large-cap growth mutual fund and that the manager must have at least 90% of the fund's assets in large-cap growth stocks, you essentially have no way of finding out if that's really were your money is invested. All the mutual fund manager needs to do is sell whatever doesn't meet the large-cap growth requirement the day before the fund's disclosure statement is put together and to investors it looks like the manager is doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing.
So why would a mutual fund manager not keep the funds in exactly what the fund's prospectus says they will do? Continue reading "3 Reasons ETFs Are Better Than Mutual Funds"