Besides the trading fee to purchase a mutual fund, there are other costs associated with this type of investment. Mutual funds are professionally managed pools of investor funds that invest in a focused manner, such as large-cap U.S. stocks.
There are many fees an investor will incur when investing in mutual funds. One of the most important fees to consider is the management expense ratio (MER), which is charged by the management team each year based on the number of assets in the fund. The MER ranges from 0.05% to 0.7% annually and varies depending on the type of fund. But the higher the MER, the more it impacts the fund’s overall returns.
You may see a number of sales charges called loads when you buy mutual funds. Some are front-end loads, but you will also see no-load and back-end load funds. Be sure you understand whether a fund you are considering carries a sales load prior to buying it. Check out your broker’s list of no-load funds and no-transaction-fee funds if you want to avoid these extra charges.
For the beginning investor, mutual fund fees are actually an advantage compared to the commissions on stocks. The reason for this is that the fees are the same regardless of the amount you invest. Therefore, as long as you meet the minimum requirement to open an account, you can invest as little as $50 or $100 per month in a mutual fund. The term for this is called dollar-cost averaging (DCA), and it can be a great way to start investing.