What are Index Funds with Examples? Advantages, Differences

Index Funds-What Is an Index Fund-How an Index Fund Works-Example of Index Funds-Benefits of Index Mutual Funds Investing-Index Funds vs. Actively Managed Funds

The benchmark is used by index funds and passive investments. Benchmark indices track the overall performance of the market. Let us understand what is an index funds with examples. Along with advantages and difference between index funds and actively managed funds in this topic.

Indices are unaffected by idiosyncratic or ad hoc hazards because they reflect market-wide concerns. As a result, ordinary investors are not exposed to any of the two market risks. Read this interview with a leading expert for an insider’s perspective on blue chip stocks subject.

What are Index Funds?

A mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) whose portfolio matches or tracks an index, such as the S&P 500. (S&P 500). Index-tracking mutual fund are thought to provide diversified market exposure, low operational costs, and low portfolio turnover. These funds will always track their benchmark index.

For retirement savings, Warren Buffett advises these kinds of funds. Instead of buying individual stocks, he suggests that ordinary investors purchase an index fund that provides inexpensive access to all S&P 500 companies.

How an Index Fund Works?

Indexing makes investment management easier. Instead of picking individual stocks, a fund manager creates a portfolio whose holdings match an index. If the fund replicates the index’s profile, which might be the entire stock market or a significant portion of it, its performance will be the same as the index’s.

In almost every financial market, there is an index and a fund that monitors it. Most index funds in the United States track the S&P 500. People also employ: The Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index is the largest index in the United States. The MSCI EAFE Index covers companies from Europe, Australia, and East Asia.

Bloomberg’s Aggregate Bond Index is designed to track the entire bond market. The Nasdaq Composite Index contains 3,000 stocks. The DJIA index contains 30 of the world’s largest corporations. Also, a DJIA index fund would own the same 30 big, publicly traded companies. Index fund portfolios change rapidly in tandem with their benchmark indices.

If the fund’s managers want to duplicate a weighted index, they can change the proportions of different securities. Weighting reduces the value of an index or portfolio position. Index ETFs, like index mutual funds, monitor market indices. Some investors find them liquid and/or less expensive.

Real-World Example of Index Funds

Since the 1970s, index funds have existed. They grew in the 2010s as a result of passive investing, low expenses, and the bull market. According to Morningstar Research, investors will pour $400 billion into index ETFs in 2021. In the same year, actively managed funds lost $188 billion.

Vanguard’s chairman, John Bogle, introduced the first fund in 1976. It remains one of the best in terms of long-term performance and affordable fees. The Vanguard 500 Index Fund’s composition and performance are identical to those of the S&P 500. Vanguard Admiral Shares returned 7.84 percent per year as of June 2021, while the S&P 500 returned 7.86 percent. The minimum investment is $3,000, with a 0.04 percent expense ratio.

Who Should Invest in an Index Fund?

Index funds replicate a market indices, so their returns are identical. These funds are preferred by investors seeking stable returns with low risk. So, the manager of an actively managed fund changes the portfolio based on the performance of the underlying equities.

The portfolio gets more risky. Because indices funds are passive, they do not carry these risks. The returns will not be greater than the index. Actively managed stock funds generate higher returns for investors.

Index Funds vs. Actively Managed Funds

The investment in index funds is passive. Active vs. passive investing Active investments include mutual funds that pick equities and time the market.

Cost Savings

The expense ratio of index funds is lower than that of actively managed funds. Transaction fees, taxes, and accounting charges are all included in mutual fund expense ratios. Because index fund mimic a benchmark index, they do not require research analysts or other stock pickers.

The less they trade, the less they pay in transaction fees and commissions. Also, actively managed funds have larger staffs and more transactions, which raises expenses.

The expense ratio is paid by investors to cover additional fund charges. Low-cost index fund are typically less than 1%; 0.2 to 0.5 percent is typical, and some companies provide 0.05 percent or less. Actively managed funds typically carry a fee of 1 to 2.5 percent.

Costs have an immediate impact on a fund’s performance. The expense ratios of actively managed funds are higher than those of index funds. They are unable to match benchmark returns.

Better Gains / Returns

According to advocates, passive funds have outperformed most actively managed funds. The majority of mutual funds do not outperform benchmark or market indices. According to S&P Dow Jones Indices’ SPIVA Scorecard, 75% of large-cap US funds had lower 10-year returns than the S&P 500.

Passively managed funds do not outperform the market. Because the market always wins, their goal is to match the market’s risk and return. Long-term performance is frequently improved by passive management. Actively managed mutual funds benefit from shorter investment periods.

According to SPIVA, 60% of large-cap mutual funds underperformed the S&P 500 over a year. Approximately one-third succeed rapidly. Other methods of controlling money Over 86% of midcap mutual funds outperformed their benchmark, the S&P MidCap 400 Growth Index.

Advantages of Index Funds

Indexes are stock groups that define market segments. Passive indices funds track the performance of an indices. Moreover, passively managed funds trade in accordance with their benchmark. Passively managed funds do not require a team of professionals to identify investment opportunities. Advantages of index funds are as following:

No Bias Investing

Index fund are automated and regulated. Fund managers are told how much money to put into indices funds. This eliminates subjective and skewed investment decisions.

Index Funds are Cheap

Fund managers do not need research expertise to pick stocks in an index fund because it replicates its benchmark. There is no stock trading. These elements reduce index fund management costs.

Commercial Exposure

A balanced stock portfolio results from investing in proportion to an index. As a result, one index fund can deliver the returns of a bigger market segment.

Investing in the Nifty index fund gives you access to 50 equities across 13 industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals to financial services.

Index Funds are Tax-efficient Investments

Because index fund are managed passively, the manager rarely trades. Fewer transactions result in lower capital gains for unitholders.


Index funds are simpler to manage because managers do not have to worry about the stocks in the index. A fund manager will occasionally rebalance the portfolio.

What Things Should You Consider as an Investor?

“Tracking error” is a little difference between the returns and the benchmark. Fund managers strive to reduce this error. Consider the following before investing in index funds:

Index Funds Returns

Index funds seek to replicate the performance of the index. Actively managed funds aim to outperform the benchmark. Because of tracking concerns, results may deviate from the index. Better indices funds commit fewer errors.


Because index fund monitor a market index, they are less volatile. Index funds are excellent bets during market rises. Index funds typically lose value when the market declines. Both actively and passively managed funds, should be included in a portfolio.

Costs of Investment

Index funds are typically less expensive than actively managed funds. Index fund managers do not require a strategy. Even a fund with a lower fee ratio could outperform.


Taxable capital gains come from the selling of index fund. The holding time has an effect on the tax rate. Short-term capital gains (STCG) are taxed at a rate of 15%. (with a 4% fee and a 4% Health and Education cess).

If the total LTCG from equity-oriented mutual funds or equity shares reaches $1,000,000 per year, long-term capital gains (LTCG) from funds held for more than 12 months are subject to a 10% long-term capital gains tax (with appropriate surcharge plus 4% Health & education cess).

Spending on the Sidelines

Index funds undergo rapid change. If these oscillations continue for an extended period of time, you may lose investment gains. Long-term investors should consider these types of funds. Index fund must be patient in order to reach their full potential.


People are looking at index fund and other passively managed funds because they are skeptical that fund managers can maximize mutual fund returns for investors. Read this article on meaning of index funds with examples, advantages and more before investing.

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