Gold ETFs vs Gold Mutual Funds: Where should you Invest

Gold ETFs vs Gold Mutual Funds: Where should you Invest

Here’s All You Should Know About Gold ETFs vs Gold Mutual Funds Before Making an Investment

With inflation on the rise, investors are searching for areas of safety and security. Many investors are looking towards gold as a haven. It's an easy way to protect assets when the market takes a downturn, and it offers protection. To provide some diversification in your portfolio, consider investing in gold. There are several ways to invest in gold.

The two most common are through a gold ETF or buying shares of a gold mutual fund. Each option of gold fund vs gold ETF has its benefits and risks. Gold ETFs and Gold Mutual Funds. But which is the right one for you? It's a common question among investors looking for an alternative asset to boost their portfolio.

What Are Gold ETFs?

Gold ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) are funds that hold gold bullion as an investment. This differs from a gold fund, which invests in gold mining companies. As with all ETFs, the value of a gold ETF fluctuates based on market conditions and supply-and-demand factors.

ETFs are essentially baskets of stocks that trade like stocks on an exchange. The fund's price is based on gold, but it's not backed by physical gold.

The Gold ETFs track the price movements of gold. They are traded on stock exchanges like stocks and can be sold short or bought on margin.

What Are Gold Mutual Funds?

Gold mutual funds are investment funds that hold physical gold bullion as part of their investment portfolios. While they don't directly invest in gold ETFs, they invest in other securities representing ownership of a certain amount of gold bullion. The most common type of mutual fund is an index fund, which tracks an index such as an industry group or market sector.

Gold mutual funds can be used to buy gold at any time, unlike an ETF which only trades during certain times daily. However, they also have higher fees than ETFs. They are not listed on stock exchanges but are managed by professional fund managers who invest in various assets, including stocks, bonds and commodities such as gold or silver.

Gold ETF vs Gold Mutual Fund- An Overview

Precious metals are considered a haven and an excellent alternative to equities. Gold has been one of the most popular investment options for investors looking to hedge against inflation and stock market volatility.

Both these products offer exposure to physical gold and are ideal for those who want to invest in the yellow metal for long-term gains. However, there are some significant differences between them. Look at how gold ETFs and mutual funds stack up against each other regarding features and benefits.

Gold ETFs are an investment option that is attractive to many investors. In a world where the average investor can get instant access to their money, gold ETFs offer the chance to sell your shares anytime. In addition, they provide easy diversification and can be traded on an exchange like any other stock.

However, before investing in gold ETFs, you need to consider a few things. Since they are not actual physical gold or gold coins, some risk is involved with using them as an investment vehicle. For example, suppose the fund manager sells all his holdings at once. In that case, it could cause the price of gold to drop dramatically in value because he cannot buy more shares without impacting his portfolio's performance rating.

The same thing goes for mutual funds. While they buy physical gold for their clients' accounts (or futures contracts) if something happens that causes them to lose confidence in their ability to keep up with inflation. They may sell out of these positions and leave you with nothing but paper profits when prices were higher than they are now.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Gold ETFs

Gold ETFs are listed on stock exchanges and trade like stocks. You can buy or sell them anytime during market hours, just as a stock or bond. They tend to have lower expense ratios than mutual funds because they don't require an advisor to manage them or pay commissions when you buy or sell shares.

A gold ETF might be a good option if you want to trade your portfolio frequently without paying big transaction fees. The first thing to know about gold ETFs is that they are not mutual funds. They are exchange-traded funds (ETFs), meaning you can buy and sell them anytime during the day.

That's because gold ETFs are like stocks in that they represent a small piece of an underlying asset. In this case, it's gold bars or coins in a vault somewhere in the world. These ETFs' prices change daily based on the supply and demand for physical gold.


  • Low Management Expense Ratio (MER) - Typically, gold ETFs have an MER of 0.25% or less, while some mutual funds charge 1% or more per year in management fees.
  • Liquidity - Since they trade like stocks, you can buy or sell them immediately. You don't have to wait until your investment reaches a particular dollar value before redeeming it for cash.
  • Diversification - Because gold ETFs track an underlying index (such as GLD), they aren't subject to individual managers' investment styles or preferences. This makes them particularly valuable when investing in retirement accounts (where manager risk is not an option).


  • High Fees: You may have to pay a premium to buy a gold ETF, and there are transaction costs when you sell. The expense ratios for gold ETFs are often higher than for mutual funds.
  • The most significant disadvantage of investing in gold ETFs is that they don't provide any yield or dividends like stocks, so your profits will only come from price appreciation or capital gains. Mutual funds may be a better choice if you want an income from your investment since they pay dividends regularly based on their performance.
  • Another drawback is that there are no guarantees when investing in gold ETFs because there's no guarantee that the fund will always have enough premiums to cover withdrawals from its shares.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Gold Mutual Funds

Gold mutual funds are better than gold ETFs because they provide diversification, management expertise and liquidity. The fund manager will manage your money while you take the investment decision. You can choose between gold mutual funds based on the investment objective, risk profile, expense ratio, performance track record, etc.

They are an easy way to invest in gold. They're also a good option for investors who don't have the time or resources to buy physical gold or for those who want access to safe gold exposure without purchasing and storing the metal themselves.

These funds are managed by portfolio managers who buy securities tied to the metal's price. When gold prices go up, so do the value of these funds. When it falls, they lose value as well.


  • Tax efficiency: Because mutual funds hold other investments in addition to their gold holdings, they don't typically incur capital gains taxes when they sell those investments. This means their distributions are often more tax efficient than direct stock market investments like stocks or ETFs that sell directly into cash positions without first selling any of their underlying assets.
  • Diversification: Gold funds provide exposure to a wide range of companies across sectors in an economy. Suppose your portfolio has a large amount of cash or debt-oriented instruments that have performed poorly recently. In that case, you can allocate some portion of your portfolio to gold mutual funds to balance it.
  • Liquidity: Unlike physical gold, which is not easily liquidated in times of emergency or when you need cash quickly, investments in gold mutual funds can be sold easily without any transaction cost or tax implications.


  • High volatility: Gold prices have historically been volatile; therefore, investing in them is unsuitable for risk-averse investors who want stability in their portfolios over long periods.
  • Less control over price fluctuations: Mutual fund managers aren't always able to predict when the price of gold will rise or fall — no one can do that ideally all the time.
  • Investing in gold requires more research than other types of investments because many factors must be considered before deciding where to buy gold (e.g., location) and which type of gold product (e.g., coins vs bars).

Wrapping Up

Although gold fund vs gold ETF India is a viable investment option, you should understand their differences before making any decisions. Gold may be a solid addition to your investment portfolio.

Still, the type of gold product you buy shouldn't be based solely on the numbers—your goals, timeline, and preferences should all be factored into your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What factors to consider when choosing between gold ETF vs mutual funds?

You should consider many factors when choosing between gold ETF vs gold mutual fund. Let's take a look at two of them:

  • Liquidity: Liquidity means how quickly you can convert an asset into cash without affecting its price. Gold ETFs are highly liquid since they can be rapidly sold on any exchange where they are listed. On the other hand, mutual funds have lower liquidity as investors need to sell their shares through an intermediary like a broker or bank before converting them into cash.
  • Fees: Gold ETFs generally charge lower fees than mutual funds because they don't require ongoing management by fund managers or advisers who charge fees for managing your money. However, other fees may be associated with buying and selling shares in an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Which is better: Gold ETF vs Gold mutual fund?

The answer depends on your investment objectives, risk appetite and tolerance for volatility. Both investment options give you easy access to the yellow metal and help you save on transaction costs.

Which is cheaper: Gold ETF vs Gold mutual fund?

Mutual funds tend to be more expensive than ETFs because they operate with more oversight and regulation. That said, there are low-cost mutual funds on the market that offer many of the same benefits as low-cost ETFs. Consider fees when choosing between an ETF and a mutual fund.