Every investment type has its share of pros and cons, the same holds true when it comes to mutual funds. For many investors this is the only way to go while others are very wary or even contemptuous of those who elect to navigate the safer waters of mutual funds rather than taking the risks of the open seas of the stock market. Either way you should understand that there are many benefits to be found by working with mutual funds rather than stocks.
You will find a good many of these benefits listed here.
1) Safety in numbers. In a mutual fund you pool your money with a group of people in order to buy a certain set of stocks or bonds or some combination of the two. In this you share the risks among you. Some will argue that you also share the rewards but that is the price you must pay in order to have the security that comes with shared risk.
2) Diversity. You won’t need to worry about intentional diversification with mutual funds for the most part because they are already diversified for you. In most cases you have to purchase very specific mutual funds in order to get a group of stocks or bonds that are too similar in nature, as this would defeat the purpose for many mutual fund investors. It is possible to purchase an industry specific mutual fund though that does increase your risks to some degree. Having your investments spread out across industries and investment type helps minimize the impact should a catastrophic loss occur in one area the blow is softened because the fund encompasses more than one specific stock or bond.
3) Professional management. The average citizen would be hard pressed to afford the services of a financial advisor or stock broker and still have a significant amount of money left in which to invest. You are graced with the skills of a professional investor to guide your fund through the shark infested waters of the trading Bermuda triangle while you are allowed to put your mind to rest and focus on other things such as the places you will go when retirement strikes or the college educations your children will have courtesy of your investments today.
4) Lower transaction fees. This is a huge benefit to many investors who know without a doubt that those transaction fees can literally kill the profits you’d make on occasion. The reason the fees are often lower is that mutual funds are purchased in large lots because they use the collective monies of a large group of people to make a larger purchase rather than using a small amount of money from one person to do the job. Same fee, but more bang for the buck and it’s divided among others in the group rather than one person absorbing the entire transaction fee.
5) The ability to cash out at any time. This isn’t really different than stocks but for those who are considering all with no preconceived understanding you should understand that you can get your money out whenever you need to if emergencies arise. There are fees involved of course but you can recover your investment most of the time and bring home a bit of a profit on occasion.
6) Easy as pie. This is something that most people overlook when making investment decisions but should pay a little more attention to. It is easy to purchase a mutual fund and it can often be done for very little money, especially when compared to stock purchases.
There are a few downsides to dealing with mutual funds as well though for many the benefits far outweigh the potential for lower returns, which is the most commonly complained about detraction from mutual fund investing. It is still worth checking out the cons as well as the pros when it comes to investing in mutual funds compared to stocks, bonds, and other forms of investing.