How to Invest Online in a Mutual Fund

Mutual funds are managed by experts.

Mutual funds are managed by experts.

Mutual funds make investing easy. Instead of having to track individual company stocks and performance, -- or trying to take a crash course in finance in an attempt to understand everything -- you can simply invest in a solid mutual fund and let experts handle all the details. Investing advisers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) usually manage mutual funds, which provide you with a diverse selection of stocks, bonds and securities designed to minimize your investment risk.

Search online for mutual funds that appeal to your investing style and preferences. Each mutual fund is a collection of several investments, many of which are themed or related to each other in some way. One mutual fund may concentrate on buying technology stocks for example, while another may be a collection of real estate or precious metal assets.

Take notes on the mutual funds that catch your interest, then use free online financial tools to view the fund's past performance. The SEC explains that past performance doesn't guarantee future performance but it can help you determine how volatile the fund has been over time.

Search for a free mutual fund cost calculator online and compare the costs of each fund in which you're interested. All mutual funds have costs that will lower your overall return on investment.

Search for investment accounts online that advertise having the funds in which you're interested. Generally, when you research mutual funds at finance news websites, such as Yahoo! Finance, you're shown a list of brokers who offer the fund you're researching.

List fees, services and features of each online investment service, so you can make a solid side-by-side comparison.

Sign up with the investment service that best meets your personal needs, desires and budget.

Print, fill out and mail all required forms to complete your account setup.

Sign into your new account once it has been activated, then follow the step-by-step instructions to start investing in your chosen mutual fund.

Tip

  • While online investment services and their requirements vary, you usually have to pass a credit check and have a valid checking account in order to be approved for an investment account.
 

About the Author

Kathy Burns-Millyard has been a professional writer since 1997. Originally specializing in business, technology, environment and health topics, Burns now focuses on home, garden and hobby interest articles. Her garden work has appeared on GardenGuides.com and other publications. She enjoys practicing Permaculture in her home garden near Tucson, Ariz.

Photo Credits

  • Ryouchin/Digital Vision/Getty Images