Mutual fund investing costs have nothing to do with fund quality. In fact, higher charges and fees come out of your pocket as an investor, and work to lower your investment returns. The same fund can be packaged and sold in more than one share CLASS, with different cost structures.
Mutual fund investing can be quite costly, or costs can be very reasonable. We have many more Mutual Funds Investing Help Articles Now Available.
You see, the ABC’s refer to CLASSES of funds (or of the same fund). Fund class determines what you pay to buy and hold a mutual fund investment. Read on to learn about Class A, Class B, and Class C mutual funds commonly sold to the public. You could save thousands over your investing lifetime.
Mutual fund investing involves two primary costs. You can minimize one, and totally eliminate the other. All mutual funds charge for YEARLY EXPENSES, you can minimize these.
Most funds also hit you with a SALES CHARGE called a LOAD. These you can minimize or totally avoid.
If you buy mutual funds through a broker, financial planner, etc., expect that you will be sold Class A, B, or some form of C shares called LEVEL LOAD FUNDS. Sales charges or loads are a source of income for commission-based investment representatives.
Now let’s look at some typical examples showing the costs of mutual fund investing for the various classes of a mythical stock fund, JKL Stock Fund.
JKL Class A: Front-end load sales charge of 5% comes off the top when you invest. If you invest $20,000, that means that $1000 never gets invested. You’ve just lost $1000 to sales charges. Yearly expenses are 1.5%. The first year about $300 wil be automatically deducted from your fund assets.
JKL Class B: Instead of a sales charge up front, you have a rear-end load to pay only if you pull money out in the first few years. For example, if you pull out $20,000 three years after you made your investment, you get hit for 3% or $600. Yearly expenses are higher than for the Class A fund, about 2% vs. 1.5%.
JKL Class C: These are level-load funds, and may be labeled by various other letters of the alphabet. Since there are several variations, we will generalize. These funds may or may not have sales charges up front or on the rear end. Their higher yearly expenses act as a load or sales charge, and can approach 2% or more.
Class A funds are the traditional and popular load mutual fund. Class B funds have lost in popularity, and the newer classes of level load funds (like C) have gained in popularity in recent years. Over time Class A funds are the least costly load funds for the average investor to own. Level load funds can be costly to hold over the long term.
If JKL offered a competitive NO-LOAD FUND version of their stock fund, yearly expenses would amount to about 1%, maybe less. There would be no loads or sales charges. We have many more Mutual Funds Investing Help Articles Now Available.