Which is more profitable index funds or mutual funds?
Because they don't require active management, the fees and the expense ratios of index funds tend to be lower, which means they can often outperform higher-cost funds, even without beating them.
Index funds offer lower fees and tax efficiency. Due to their passive nature, they often perform in line with market benchmarks, making them suitable for investors seeking broad market exposure at lower costs. On the other hand, active mutual funds aim to outperform the market by employing active management strategies.
|Benchmark index (%)
|360 ONE Focused Equity Fund
|Franklin India Focused Equity Fund
|HDFC Focused 30 Fund
|ICICI Prudential Focused Equity Fund
Over the long term, index funds have generally outperformed other types of mutual funds. Other benefits of index funds include low fees, tax advantages (they generate less taxable income), and low risk (since they're highly diversified).
Of course, you might also consider ETFs vs. mutual funds. Both are investment funds offering built-in diversification. However, unlike mutual funds, ETFs trade like stocks during regular market hours and may subject you to fewer taxes.
Disadvantages include the lack of downside protection, no choice in index composition, and it cannot beat the market (by definition). To index invest, find an index, find a fund tracking that index, and then find a broker to buy shares in that fund.
Ideally, you should stay invested in equity index funds for the long run, i.e., at least 7 years. That is because investing in any equity instrument for the short-term is fraught with risks. And as we saw, the chances of getting positive returns improve when you give time to your investments.
Index funds seek market-average returns, while active mutual funds try to outperform the market. Active mutual funds typically have higher fees than index funds. Index fund performance is relatively predictable; active mutual fund performance tends to be less so.
Warren Buffett has consistently recommended an S&P 500 index fund because it tracks a group of businesses that "are bound to do well" over time. The S&P 500 has been a profitable investment over every rolling 20-year period in history, and it returned 1,720% over the last 30 years.
Actively-managed mutual funds can be riskier investment options than index funds. With a portfolio manager trying to outperform the market, there's a chance they will make poor decisions that hurt the fund's performance.
What is the main disadvantage of index fund?
However, an index fund does not have that flexibility as it has to be fully invested in the index at all points of time. While index funds are free from the fund manager bias, they are still vulnerable to the risk of tracking error. It is the extent to which the index fund does not track the index.
The average stock market return is about 10% per year, as measured by the S&P 500 index, but that 10% average rate is reduced by inflation. Investors can expect to lose purchasing power of 2% to 3% every year due to inflation.
Investors who buy index funds will not lose all of their investment. That's because they're investments buoyed by hundreds or thousands of underlying securities. As such, they're highly diversified, making it almost impossible for them to reach a value of zero.
What Are the Results? Generally, when you look at mutual fund performance over the long run, you can see a trend of actively-managed funds underperforming the S&P 500 index. A common statistic is that the S&P 500 outperforms 80% of mutual funds.
Disadvantages include high fees, tax inefficiency, poor trade execution, and the potential for management abuses.
Over the full period, just 2% of actively managed Large-Cap Core funds beat the S&P 500. Even in categories such as small- and mid-sized stocks, and growth — which benefited from the tailwinds of an outperforming universe — a minimum of 81% of actively managed funds underperformed the benchmark.
Even the top investors put their money in index funds.
In fact, a number of billionaire investors count S&P 500 index funds among their top holdings. Among those are Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, Dalio's Bridgewater, and Griffin's Citadel.
Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research fund (ticker: PRCOX) is in this exclusive club, having bested—along with a team of about 30 research analysts—the S&P 500 index for the past five years on an annualized basis. U.S. Equity Research is a Morningstar five-star gold-medal fund.
Experts agree that for most personal investors, a portfolio comprising 5 to 10 ETFs is perfect in terms of diversification.
But by examining historical data, we can make an educated guess. According to Standard and Poor's, the average annualized return of the S&P index, which later became the S&P 500, from 1926 to 2020 was 10%. 1 At 10%, you could double your initial investment every seven years (72 divided by 10).
How much would $10,000 invested in S&P 500?
Assuming an average annual return rate of about 10% (a typical historical average), a $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 could potentially grow to approximately $25,937 over 10 years.
Think About This: $10,000 invested in the S&P 500 at the beginning of 2000 would have grown to $32,527 over 20 years — an average return of 6.07% per year.
Despite the array of choices, you may need to invest in only one. Investing legend Warren Buffett has said that the average investor need only invest in a broad stock market index to be properly diversified.
While it's true that index funds have historically provided solid returns, it's important to remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Blindly putting all of your savings into index funds without considering other investment options or your personal financial goals could be a mistake.
Index funds are great foundations for many investment portfolios. They're a low-cost way to get diversified exposure to almost any financial market segment. While you can pay a little extra for active management, this isn't necessary and often isn't even profitable.