Is an IRA a Mutual Fund?

Some mutual funds specialize in meeting the financial needs of people saving for retirement, while IRA accounts offer special tax treatment on earnings that accumulate annually on an accumulated tax-deferred basis.

Investors migrate billions each year from workplace plans into individual retirement accounts (IRAs). But fees that vary considerably can quickly add up to costly differences that reduce savings over time.


Individual Retirement Accounts, commonly referred to as IRAs, provide tax breaks designed to encourage people to save for retirement. An IRA can be used to hold stocks, bonds and mutual funds as well as invest in real estate and private mortgages.

Mutual funds typically make their money through interest or dividend payments from securities they hold, as well as appreciation gains (sold for more than they cost initially), which they pass on to investors in the form of capital gains after deducting any losses.

IRAs can be owned by virtually anyone; some types are restricted to certain groups only. Investors can select among several investments when opening an IRA account; this could include real estate, precious metals or horses depending on its type. However, depending on its custodian, certain restrictions may be placed upon what can be invested in via an IRA account.


IRAs don’t typically pay taxes until you reach retirement age; however, you may need to take minimum distributions (RMDs) out each year from your account, and those distributions are considered income and subject to taxes accordingly.

Mutual funds generate income in multiple ways, including interest and dividend payments from its portfolio of securities, capital gains realized when selling more shares than purchased, and profits distributed among shareholders.

Some mutual funds require investors to pay front-end load fees or sales charges when purchasing shares, with regular investments over time helping reduce these fees through dollar cost averaging. Investors also incur distribution fees which cover costs related to distributing and managing their fund shares – these charges typically represent a percentage of total asset value; redemption fees may also apply when selling within a specified time after purchase.


IRAs involve additional costs beyond just initial investment costs. Fees associated with them vary based on account type and provider as well as investment type; examples include account maintenance charges, transaction fees for trading activities and mutual fund expense ratios and sales loads.

IRAs are intended to be held over time, and fees can have a major effect on an investor’s retirement savings. For instance, when transferring workplace 401(k) savings into an IRA and investing in mutual funds that charge front-end loads and high expense ratios will likely result in significantly higher annual fees compared with investing in share classes that do not charge such charges; this difference can lower an IRA balance significantly over its lifespan.


Investors with Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) have access to various investments, including individual stocks and mutual funds. Mutual funds often provide greater diversification benefits at lower fees while individual stocks carry greater risk, but could offer greater returns if managed properly.

IRAs also give accountholders more freedom in selecting investment options than traditional workplace retirement plans like 401(k). For instance, an IRA accountholder can purchase a target-date fund such as 2050 that works toward her desired retirement date; these funds take care of it all by automatically rebalancing her portfolio and altering its level of risk accordingly as retirement approaches.

IRA investors usually select funds (or fund share classes) that do not pay commissions to financial professionals, thus helping to minimize fees more than with 401(k) plans. On the other hand, some may choose collectibles or real estate investments which require more time and energy to maintain.

Raymond Banks Administrator
Raymond Banks is a published author in the commodity world. He has written extensively about gold and silver investments, and his work has been featured in some of the most respected financial journals in the industry. Raymond\\\'s expertise in the commodities market is highly sought-after, and he regularly delivers presentations on behalf of various investment firms. He is also a regular guest on financial news programmes, where he offers his expert insights into the latest commodity trends.

Categorised in: