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Mutual Funds 101: How does a mutual fund make me money?

When it comes to mutual funds, you can make money in three possible ways:

  1. Income earned from dividends on stocks and interest on bonds. A mutual fund pays out nearly all of the net income it receives over the year (in the form of a distribution).
  2. An increase in the price of securities (called a ‘capital gain’). Most funds also pass these gains on to their investors.
  3. The fund share price increases. This happens if fund holdings increase in price. You can then sell your shares for a profit.

You are usually given the choice whether to receive a cheque for distributions or to reinvest the earnings and get more units.

“Whether you take the funds to cover day-to-day expenses, put it in an emergency fund, or reinvest the money—every decision comes with different tax implications. That’s why it’s important to discuss your options first with your financial advisor”, says Educators Certified Financial Planner professional Jim Wanamaker.

Mutual funds can save you money, too.

Mutual funds can affect your savings directly (as in how much they increase in value) and indirectly (as in how much you save).

“At Educators, we know that education members have different reasons to save. Their retirement is longer than most. Or they’re saving for that 4 over 5. Mutual funds can be one of the ways they can maximize their savings,” says Karen Hubbard, Regional Vice-President, Client Advisory Services, Educators Financial Group.

Many experts say that one of the prime advantages of mutual funds is the professional management they provide for your money.

That’s because the cost of mutual funds makes professional advice available to all Canadians, whether the amount they have to invest is large, small, or somewhere in between. In fact, 19% of mutual fund investors had less than $5,000 in financial assets when they first started using an advisor and 50% had less than $25,000*.

With mutual funds, you’ll also benefit from economies of scale.

That’s because a mutual fund buys and sells large amounts of securities at one time, so its transaction costs are lower than what you would incur for securities transitions as an individual. Yet another benefit if you happen to be investing a smaller amount of money, because it allows you to participate through a ‘pooled’ approach. If you were trading stocks and bonds as an individual, it would cost a lot more.

It’s no wonder why mutual funds are so popular with Canadian investors.

As of 2015, 33% of Canadian households held mutual funds. In addition, 86% of Canadian mutual fund investors said those funds would help them meet their financial goals**.

However, before you invest in mutual funds, you should understand the costs and risks involved and how you’re protected. “With the recent changes to the industry’s Client Relationship Model (CRM), it’s easier for investors to understand the fees they pay, the services their charged for, and how their investments are performing” says Chuck Hamilton, CEO and President, Educators Financial Group.  You can find out more about the fees you pay as an investor, online at The Learning Centre.

Naturally your best resource for information about mutual funds is none other than an Educators Financial Advisor.

Regardless of where you are on the pay grid or how much you’re looking to invest, we’ll be able to answer any questions you may have about mutual funds (or any other investments) to ensure your portfolio works just as hard as you do.

Have one of our financial advisors contact you.

Plus check out our A to Z glossary of investment terms and other mutual fund articles in The Learning Centre:

Mutual Funds 101: Your essentials questions and answers.
Mutual Funds 101: What are the risks of investing in mutual funds? How am I protected?
Mutual Funds 101: The costs associated with mutual funds.
Mutual Funds 101: The top 6 questions you should ask before buying a mutual fund.

*Poltara, 2016

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