Load vs. No-load Mutual Funds, is it worth the difference?
What is the difference between $535,285 and $485,644? Using simple arithmetic, you will get $49,641. Wow! Forty-nine-thousand-six-hundred-forty-one dollars is really big! And here’s the thing, anyone here can earn either $535,285 or $485,644 in just 20 years of investing your $100,000 in a certain fund company. But the question is how can I earn the bigger one? Consider the idea of investing in a Mutual Fund Industry.
Mutual Fund, with an amazing holding of trillions of dollars in the United States alone, is a growing international industry. Mutual Fund, which aims to turn out income and capital gains, is, according to an article “A Brief History of Mutual Funds,” an investment medium consists of many shareholders investing to securities such as stocks, bonds and similar assets. Mutual funds are of two types—the load funds and the no-load funds. Here, you have to choose in what type you want to put your money in.
Investing in a Load Mutual Fund means one has to pay sales charge or load. The load comes in three forms: the front-end load, usually 5%, to be paid at the time of purchase, the back-end load, to be paid when you want to sell the shares and the level-load or the 12b-1 fees to be paid as long as you are in the investment. No-load mutual funds, simply, are funds that do not charge large fees to the investors. Though, still, investors need to pay small fees such as the Annual management fee, which is the cost of having an investment manager to have the investment funds supervised.
According to Jim McWhinney in “A Brief History of the Mutual Funds,” the idea of mutual funds started in Netherlands in the eighteenth century. It began to spread across Switzerland in 1849 followed in 1880 in Scotland, then to Great Britain and France where it made its way to the United States in the 1890’s. Only in 1928 did the first no-load fund was established. This was through the birth of the State Street Investor’s Trust in 1924.
Since one has less to pay, investing in no-load mutual funds means that the investor’s money will compound more over the years. For a clear demonstration of the difference between the two—the load and no-load funds, let me give you a concrete example.
Say Mr. A invested $100,000 for a load mutual fund in Company A, Mr. B, on the other hand, put in the same amount, $100,000 but in a no-load mutual fund. Mr. A needs to pay for a 5% front load upon purchase, Mr. B doesn’t have to since he is under the no-load fund. After load, Mr. A only has $95,000. Mr. B still has $100,000 as his investment. Over a specified period, both will have 10.00% rate of return, which is, an increase or decrease on the initial investment coat, and 1.25% Annual Management Fee.
Engaging in a load mutual fund means payment to 12b-1 fee or the level load. Generally, it falls between 0.25 to 1% of the investor’s fund’s net assets. Therefore, Mr. A has 0.25% 12b-1 to pay; Mr. B does not have to. Let us compare the earnings of the two. During the first year of investment, Mr. A will earn $103,075, while Mr. B has $108,750. Watch the difference. Mr. B who invested in a no-load fund for one year, earned, $5,675 more than Mr. A who invested in a load fund. In the course of 20 years, Mr. B. will gain $535,285 which is $49,641 more than Mr. A who will earn $485,644. With investment under no load fund, Mr. B will earn more than Mr. A. The difference in the net earnings between the two is due to the deductions that Mr. A has for the front load and the level load.
Therefore, it seems that investing with lesser fees to pay, in a no-load fund, is better than investing with loads to shoulder over time. Since the continuous growth of funds and billions of dollars earnings of the investors in 1960, the mutual fund industry is still growing, opening up new markets around the world with increasing number of investors under the no-load fund. If any of you wants to earn $535,285, start joining the herd.
McWhinney, Jim. “A Brief History of the Mutual Funds.” Investopedia. 2008. Forbes Media Company. 27 May 2008 <http://www.investopedia.com>.