How is an ETF different from a mutual fund?
With a mutual fund, you buy and sell based on dollars, not market price or shares. And you can specify any dollar amount you want—down to the penny or as a nice round figure, like $3,000. With an ETF, you buy and sell based on market price—and you can only trade full shares.
ETFs typically have lower expense ratios compared to mutual funds because they're more passively managed. They disclose their holdings daily, allowing investors to see the underlying assets and make informed investment decisions.
Mutual funds are usually actively managed, although passively-managed index funds have become more popular. ETFs are usually passively managed and track a market index or sector sub-index. ETFs can be bought and sold just like stocks, while mutual funds can only be purchased at the end of each trading day.
Higher Management Fees
Not all ETFs are passive. Some ETFs are actively managed, meaning they're managed by a fund manager whose goal is to outperform the market. Actively managed funds often have higher fees since they require management to guide the fund.
SPY was launched in January 1993 and was the very first ETF listed in the U.S.10. Index investing pioneer Vanguard's S&P 500 Index Fund was the first index mutual fund for individual investors.
The choice comes down to what you value most. If you prefer the flexibility of trading intraday and favor lower expense ratios in most instances, go with ETFs. If you worry about the impact of commissions and spreads, go with mutual funds.
ETFs often generate fewer capital gains for investors than mutual funds. This is partly because so many of them are passively managed and don't change their holdings that often.
In terms of safety, neither the mutual fund nor the ETF is safer than the other due to its structure. Safety is determined by what the fund itself owns. Stocks are usually riskier than bonds, and corporate bonds come with somewhat more risk than U.S. government bonds.
|Assets under management
|Invesco QQQ Trust (ticker: QQQ)
|VanEck Semiconductor ETF (SMH)
|Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY)
|Global X Uranium ETF (URA)
Realistically, it comes down to preference and what you're doing. ETFs can be used by traders to take advantage of price movements throughout the day. If you don't plan to trade throughout the day, a mutual fund might work better if you choose one with lower costs.
Why I don t invest in ETFs?
Lower dividend yield
Some ETFs pay dividends, but investors may receive higher returns on specific securities, such as stocks with large dividends. That's partly because ETFs track a broader market and therefore have lower yields on average.
The single biggest risk in ETFs is market risk. Like a mutual fund or a closed-end fund, ETFs are only an investment vehicle—a wrapper for their underlying investment. So if you buy an S&P 500 ETF and the S&P 500 goes down 50%, nothing about how cheap, tax efficient, or transparent an ETF is will help you.
Liquidation of ETFs is strictly regulated; when an ETF closes, any remaining shareholders will receive a payout based on what they had invested in the ETF. Receiving an ETF payout can be a taxable event.
Most mutual funds are actively managed while most ETFs are passive investments that track a particular index. ETFs can be more tax-efficient than actively managed funds due to lower turnover and fewer capital gains.
ETF issuers collect any dividends paid by the companies whose stocks are held in the fund, and they then pay those dividends to their shareholders. They may pay the money directly to the shareholders, or reinvest it in the fund.
You expose your portfolio to much higher risk with sector ETFs, so you should use them sparingly, but investing 5% to 10% of your total portfolio assets may be appropriate. If you want to be highly conservative, don't use these at all.
Both are less risky than investing in individual stocks & bonds. ETFs and mutual funds both come with built-in diversification. One fund could include tens, hundreds, or even thousands of individual stocks or bonds in a single fund. So if 1 stock or bond is doing poorly, there's a chance that another is doing well.
These are VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF SMH, Invesco NASDAQ 100 ETF QQQM, Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund XLC, Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF MGK, and Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF VCR. These funds are likely to continue outperforming should the existing trends prevail.
The administrative costs of managing ETFs are commonly lower than those for mutual funds. ETFs keep their administrative and operational expenses down through market-based trading. Because ETFs are bought and sold on the open market, the sale of shares from one investor to another does not affect the fund.
ETFs can be more tax efficient compared to traditional mutual funds. Generally, holding an ETF in a taxable account will generate less tax liabilities than if you held a similarly structured mutual fund in the same account.
How do ETFs make money?
Most ETF income is generated by the fund's underlying holdings. Typically, that means dividends from stocks or interest (coupons) from bonds. Dividends: These are a portion of the company's earnings paid out in cash or shares to stockholders on a per-share basis, sometimes to attract investors to buy the stock.
Since ETFs are traded on the stock exchange, they can be bought and sold at any time during market hours like a stock. This is known as 'real time pricing'. In contrast, mutual funds can be bought and redeemed only at the relevant NAV; the NAV is declared only once at the end of the day.
|iShares U.S. Technology ETF
|SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF
|Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF
|Vanguard Information Technology ETF
Smallcap funds rewarded investors with a 37 percent returns on average in 2023, midcap funds with 32 percent, while largecap funds delivered 20 percent returns on average. On that note, here are the five things that had the most impact on your MF investments in 2023.
Benefit of ETFs: Cost Effectiveness
ETFs allow you to buy all 500 shares in one go and only pay one brokerage fee – significantly reducing the cost of building a diversified portfolio. The second level of cost efficiency comes down to the fees charged by the ETF provider. Those fees mainly cover their operating costs.