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Where Can I Buy Mutual Funds?

Where to buy mutual fundfs


After you have decided that investing in a mutual fund is right for you, the next choice you have is where to buy the mutual fund from. Depending on your situation, you may have a multiple choices or no choice at all. Here are some things to consider.


No Choice Where to Buy Mutual Funds

Most individual investors in the United States have no choice over where they buy their mutual funds from because they purchase them inside of a retirement plan such as a 401k. 401ks are setup by the companies who sponsor them, and as such, the company decides which funds will be available to employees who participate.
However, if you invest on your own outside of your company retirement plans, you do have a choice.

Your Choice: Broker

If you are making the decision to buy a mutual fund, your first stop is usually your normal stockbroker. Most brokers and brokerage firms have access to thousands of different mutual funds for their clients. 
If you purchase through your broker, there are two things to consider: loads and fees, and commissions.   Loads and fees are charged by the mutual fund itself, and are passed through by the broker. Some loads are sales charges which benefit the fund, while others benefit the broker. You should try to invest in no load funds whenever possible because there are many high quality mutual funds that don’t charge sales loads.
Second, you should look at the commission structure. Many brokers have fund families that they don’t charge commissions for, while other fund families they do. Some large brokerages have mutual funds in house, and they don’t charge anything for customers to invest in. As such, make sure you are aware of any potential commissions for investing.

Your Choice: Direct Buy

As I mentioned above, some mutual funds aren’t available at every brokerage, and so you may want to buy directly from the mutual fund itself. Also, some investors just prefer this. If this is the case, you simply contact the mutual fund company and open an account with them.   The same rules apply though – make sure that you are watching out for loads and fees. 
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