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When To Buy Mutual Funds

According to the Investment Company Institute, 103.9 million individuals held U.S.-registered funds in 2019. Retail investors are drawn to mutual funds because of their simplicity, affordability and the instant diversification these funds offer. Rather than build a portfolio one stock or bond at a time, mutual funds do that work for you. Also, mutual funds are highly liquid, meaning they are easy to buy or sell.

when to buy mutual funds

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All investments carry some risk, but mutual funds are typically considered a safer investment than purchasing individual stocks. Since they hold many company stocks within one investment, they offer more diversification than owning one or two individual stocks.

*Vanguard average expense ratio: 0.06%. Industry average expense ratio: 0.20%. All averages are for index mutual funds and ETFs and are asset-weighted. Industry average excludes Vanguard. Sources: Vanguard and Morningstar, Inc., as of December 31, 2021.

All funds carry some level of risk. With mutual funds, you may lose some or all of the money you invest because the securities held by a fund can go down in value. Dividends or interest payments may also change as market conditions change.

As with any business, running a mutual fund involves costs. Funds pass along these costs to investors by charging fees and expenses. Fees and expenses vary from fund to fund. A fund with high costs must perform better than a low-cost fund to generate the same returns for you.

It takes only minutes to use a mutual fund cost calculator to compute how the costs of different mutual funds add up over time and eat into your returns. See Mutual Fees and Expenses to learn about some of the most common mutual fund fees and expenses.

Choosing the best mutual fund for you depends a lot on what you need, in particular your risk tolerance and time horizon. But it also depends on what else you already have in your portfolio. Here are a few key questions to consider in finding the best mutual fund for you:

Target-date mutual funds are popular in 401(k) accounts, and they typically invest in stocks, bonds and money market instruments. Investors pick when they want to access their money (say, at retirement) and then the target date fund selects investments that are appropriate for that time period, reducing risk as the investor nears the target date. Usually this means the fund shifts investments from higher-risk (but high-return) stocks to lower-risk bonds over time.

Mutual funds are more likely to be actively managed than ETFs, which is why they come with slightly higher average fees. You could also end up paying a sales commission for some mutual funds. An initial investment of a few thousand dollars is typically required for mutual funds, whereas an ETF can be purchased for the price of one share. Some ETFs allow fractional shares to be purchased, which means you can start investing with just a few dollars.

Fidelity's FundsNetwork allows you to invest in mutual funds from hundreds of fund companies outside of Fidelity, including many available with no transaction fees.3 Explore your financial options by searching through our world class library of funds.

Other fees and expenses, including those which apply to a continued investment in the fund, are described in the fund's current prospectus. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, or its affiliates, receives compensation in connection with (i) access to, purchase or redemption of, and/or maintenance of positions in mutual funds and other investment products ("funds"), (ii) infrastructure needed to support such funds as well as additional compensation for shareholder services, start-up fees, infrastructure support and maintenance, marketing, engagement and analytics programs and/or (iii) a fund's attendance at events for FBS's clients and/or representatives, and opportunities for the fund to promote its products and services. This compensation may take the form of sales loads and 12b-1 fees described in the prospectus and/or additional compensation paid by the fund, its investment adviser or an affiliate. Fidelity reserves the right to change the funds available without transaction fees and reinstate the fees on any funds. Fidelity will charge a short term trading fee each time you sell or exchange shares of FundsNetwork No Transaction Fee (NTF) funds held less than 60 days (short-term trade).

Data quoted represents past performance. Past performance is not an indication of future results and investment returns and share prices will fluctuate on a daily basis. Your investment may be worth more or less than your original cost when you redeem your shares. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. For most recent quarter end performance and current performance metrics, please click on the fund name.

A mutual fund's prospectus contains its investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information and should be read and considered carefully before investing. For a current prospectus, visit

E*TRADE charges $0 commission for online US-listed stock, ETF, mutual fund, and options trades. Exclusions may apply and E*TRADE reserves the right to charge variable commission rates. The standard options contract fee is $0.65 per contract (or $0.50 per contract for customers who execute at least 30 stock, ETF, and options trades per quarter). The retail online $0 commission does not apply to Over-the-Counter (OTC) securities transactions, foreign stock transactions, large block transactions requiring special handling, futues, or fixed income investments. Service charges apply for trades placed through a broker ($25). Stock plan account transactions are subject to a separate commission schedule. All fees and expenses as described in a fund's prospectus still apply. Additional regulatory and exchange fees may apply. For more information about pricing, visit

If you are attempting to enroll in this offer with a Joint Account, the primary account holder may have to fulfill at the tiers noted before the secondary account holder can enroll in this offer. If you experience any issues when attempting to enroll with a Joint Account, please contact us at 800-387-2331 and we will be able to assist you with your enrollment.

All-Star lists are not a recommendation by E*TRADE Securities or its affiliates to buy, sell or hold any security, financial product or instrument, nor is it an endorsement of any specific security, company, fund family, product, or service. All-Star Mutual Funds typically have at least a three year track record and compare favorably against their peers based on historical return, risk, expenses, manager tenure, performance and style consistency, asset size and growth and must be 1) structured through sound investment philosophy and process, 2) implemented with acceptable level of investment risk management strategy and 3) supported by a well-balanced investment firm. All-Star Mutual Funds can include mutual funds managed by our affiliates, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Eaton Vance Management and Calvert Research and Management. The Income Producing Funds are certain mutual funds included on the All-Star List which distribute income at least quarterly and have a consistent track record of paying regular distributions higher than the relevant benchmarks. For more information on the All-Star List, please see the list criteria on

You can use Automatic Investing to add to existing mutual fund positions. If you don't already own shares in the fund you wish to buy, you must schedule an initial purchase during the setup of your Automatic Investing plan. The initial purchase amount must meet or exceed the required minimum initial investment set by the fund company.

While investing in equity mutual funds, do it via systematic investment plans (SIPs) as you are reducing the risk factor further by investing a fixed amount at regular intervals, irrespective of prevalent market conditions. This is because when markets are down, you get more units and when markets are up you buy fewer units.

If an investor had invested INR 10,000 in HDFC Top 100 Fund in Jan 2006, when the Sensex was up in December 2007, the value reached INR 19,451. Later when there was a market fall between 2008 and 2009, the value crashed back to 10,602 (March 2009). However, if the investor continued to stay invested, the value was at INR 55,202 in Jan 2018.

For most investors, mutual funds are a great way to build a diversified portfolio without a lot of extra cost or hassle. They typically own hundreds if not thousands of different stocks, bonds and other securities, providing you with instant diversification. Follow these seven simple steps to get started investing in mutual funds.

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) both involve investing in baskets of securities and are generally less risky than investing in individual stocks or bonds. However, there are a few key differences:

The mutual fund window is an option designed for TSP participants who are interested in greater investment flexibility. If you meet certain eligibility requirements and pay the necessary fees, you can choose to invest a portion of your TSP savings in your choice of available mutual funds.

If you have more than one TSP account, such as a civilian account and uniformed services account, and you want to invest money from each account in the mutual fund window, you need to establish two separate mutual fund window accounts. This means that eligibility requirements and associated fees also apply separately to each account.

Annual fees cover administrative and maintenance expenses for the mutual fund window. When you initiate your first transfer, the combined $150 ($55 administrative fee plus $95 maintenance fee) will be taken proportionally from the TSP fund or funds you choose for the transfer. For each year after that, the annual fees will be taken proportionally from all the TSP funds in your account on the last business day of the month of your initial transfer. 041b061a72

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