What's the difference between an ETF and an index mutual fund?

ETFs are also traded like a stock, which means they can be bought and sold throughout the trading day. ETFs are advantageous in that they allow you to invest in multiple stocks and bonds. This allows you to have a more diversified investment portfolio.

They both help investors buy large swaths of investments in one fell swoop.

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MONEY's Ian Salisbury explains the difference between index funds, exchange traded funds, and mutual funds.

The amount of investment and the risk appetite of the investor are the aspects to which the investment narrows down upon. Despite being largely similar in nature, they are different and inexperienced investors in the stock market have to study all the aspects before making any choice. A retail investor shall be attracted towards index funds since they are simpler and cheaper to manage with minimum initial investment options. Institutional investors can consider ETF as they offer tax sops and features similar to regular stocks.

ETFs and open-end index funds are similar in many ways however they distinguished in many aspects. It is pivotal to set clear the goals of investments for effective selection of suitable investment. For instance, if one requires the flexibility of real-time pricing, or the tax advantages of long-term shareholding, ETFs could be a good fit.

On the other hand, ETFs are more exposed to market volatility which may be unattractive towards traditional and conservative investor, or if one wants to earn regular income without dealing with short-term price fluctuations.

Although some bond-focused ETFs exist, index funds may be a better choice if investors are looking for exposure to illiquid asset classes such as municipal and international bonds.

In the end, personal preference comes down to need for liquidity, the disposable income for investment, maturity time and preference of the asset class. You may learn more about Funds from these articles below —. What is the difference between index funds, ETFs, and mutual funds? An easy way to think about it is this: Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are a subset of index funds; and index funds are a subset of mutual funds.

A mutual fund is a basket of stocks, bonds, or other types of assets. In the case of most stock funds, holdings are selected by a portfolio manager, whose job it is to pick the stocks that he or she thinks are poised to perform the best while avoiding the clunkers.

The aim is to replicate the performance of that entire market. But because index funds buy and hold rather than trade frequently — and require no analysts to research companies — they are much cheaper to operate. This raises the question: As it turns out, plenty of investors around the world. Broadly speaking, there are two types.