ETFs vs Mutual Funds: Which Is Right for You?

WealthBasketDec 18, 2023

Beginning your journey to grow wealth, you’re confronted with a range of investment paths – stocks, bonds, ETFs, and Mutual Funds. So, this article lays out a clear comparison between ETFs and Mutual Funds, assisting you in selecting the right investment avenue for your financial goals. 

Difference Between ETF vs Mutual Fund

Let’s understand the difference between ETF and Mutual Funds:

AspectETFsMutual Funds
StructureETFs are investment funds traded on stock exchanges, similar to individual stocksMutual Funds pool money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio
TradingTraded on stock exchanges throughout the trading day like individual stocksBought and sold through the fund house at the Net Asset Value (NAV) at the end of the trading day
Management StylePassive and Active options are available. Passive ETFs track a specific index, while active ETFs are managed by professionalsMost mutual funds are actively managed by fund managers
FeesTypically, lower expense ratios compared to mutual fundsExpense ratios can vary, but most mutual funds have higher fees
Tax EfficiencyETFs tend to be more tax-efficient due to their lower capital gains tax rateMutual Funds are not as tax-efficient as compared to ETFs

Which one to Choose between ETF and Mutual Fund?

Investing in both ETFs and Mutual Funds helps in building a diverse investment portfolio. Yet, before picking a fund, there are crucial factors to consider:

  • Your risk tolerance
  • How long do you plan to invest?
  • Your financial goals
  • Tax-saving strategies
  • How easily you can access your investment?

Once you’ve narrowed these down, you can choose between ETFs and mutual funds based on your needs. Some prefer quick access to their money, making ETFs appealing for their flexibility and short-term gains. On the other hand, investing in mutual funds is better suited for those aiming to build a nest egg over time. The choice depends on you, considering all these factors before deciding between ETFs and Mutual Funds.


ETFs and mutual funds share a lot in common. Smart investors can create a well-rounded portfolio by blending these investment tools. Yet, investors must grasp how both funds work and evaluate the market risks they’re comfortable with. Seeking advice from a financial advisor before making investment decisions is also a wise move.


  1. How do ETFs differ from mutual funds?

ETFs are traded on stock exchanges like individual stocks, while mutual funds are bought and sold directly through the fund company at the end of the trading day at the net asset value (NAV).

  1. How do I choose between an ETF and a mutual fund?

Consider factors like investment objectives, expenses, liquidity, and trading preferences. ETFs may be better for those seeking flexibility, while mutual funds might suit those preferring professional management.

  1. Are there risks associated with investing in ETFs and mutual funds?

Yes, both types of investments carry market risk. They can be affected by changes in the value of their underlying assets, economic conditions, or geopolitical events.

  1. Do I need to have a demat and trading account to invest in ETFs?

Yes, you must have a demat or trading account to invest in an Exchange Traded Fund in India.