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WHAT IS A MUTUAL FUND?

WHAT IS A MUTUAL FUND?

A mutual fund portfolio is a pool of investments created from the fund manager’s investment decisions, which are held in trust on behalf of the individual investors. Each fund has a defined investment objective that determines the overall management of the fund and the types of investments that can be held in it. When you invest in a mutual fund, you purchase units in the fund, where each unit represents a share of the fund’s value.




HOW DO MUTUAL FUNDS WORK?


Types of mutual funds


A diverse array of mutual funds is available to investors, including money market, fixed income, balanced and equity funds. Mutual funds vary in the amount of returns generated and their degree of risk. The chart below shows money market funds are the least risky and generally have the lowest returns while equity funds are usually the most risky but tend to have the highest potential returns.

WHAT IS AN ETF?

MUTUAL FUNDS VS. ETFS


MUTUAL FUND TYPE BREAKDOWN


Money market funds:These types of funds invest primarily in treasury bills and other high quality, low risk short-term investments. Offering stability and minimal risk, money market funds deliver returns in the form of regular monthly distributions that are typically better than those of a traditional bank account. Investors looking to meet short-term goals or access funds in case of emergency often choose money market funds as an investment solution.


Fixed income funds:

By investing in fixed income securities such as mortgages, bonds and preferred shares, fixed income funds offer regular cash flow while preserving capital; through dividends. These funds typically distribute interest income and provide potential for capital gains. Fixed income funds may also be used as a way to diversify an investment portfolio.


Balanced funds and portfolio solutions:

Balanced funds hold a combination of equities, fixed income and money market investments. The portfolio manager adjusts the asset mix based on the objective of the fund and their view of the economy. Investors receive distributions in the form of interest, dividends and capital gains.


Equity funds:

Equity funds invest in the stocks of public companies. These companies range in size from large to small, or both, and can be located in Canada only, the United States only, other specific countries or all countries. Equity funds may also focus on companies in certain sectors such as energy, gold or financials. These funds are ideal for investors looking for potential growth over the long term.


How are Mutual Funds taxed?

If you hold your mutual funds in a non-registered account, any money you make on them is subject to tax. Distributions are taxable in the year you receive them, whether you get them in cash or they are reinvested for you. Interest, dividends and capital gains are all treated differently for tax purposes, and that will affect your return from an investment.


If you hold your mutual funds in a registered plan, like an RRSP, a RRIF or an RESP, you won’t pay tax on the money you make as long as that money stays in the plan. When money is withdrawn from the plan, it will be taxed as income.


With a TFSA, you don’t pay any tax on the money you make while it’s in the plan – or when you take it out.





THE TAKEAWAY


Since mutual funds are easy to understand and a smart investment choice for almost all types of savers and investors, these security types are the standard investments in RRSP plans and TFSAa. However, although mutual funds are relatively simple to use, they are not for everyone and investors should be careful to select the best funds that align with their goals and tolerance for risk. A Volpe Financial Solutions broker would be glad to complete an investment analysis on your current portfolio and devise a tailored investment plan for your future goals. If a mutual fund is the appropriate option for you, we are here to help!

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