Tuesday, September 16, 2014 05:22am
North Adams, MA now: 50 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: ETFs Are Tax Efficient
By: Bill Schmick On: 12:27AM / Friday March 11, 2011
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0

Tax time is drawing closer and as it does, the annual barrage of questions concerning investments, portfolios, dividends and capital gains distributions are keeping financial advisors and accountants quite busy.

"One of the most frustrating issues to me," writes a Long Island investor, I'll call Joey G., "are the mutual fund capital gain distributions."

As a large holder of mutual funds, every year, between November and December, Joey is hit with substantial taxable capital gain distributions from the mutual funds he owns.

"I have no idea how much they are going to be or when they are going to be distributed until it's too late, so there's no way I can plan for them tax-wise."

Joey G. is not alone in voicing this complaint. For readers who are not familiar with mutual funds capital gains distributions, it works like this:

During the year, mutual fund manager try to buy stocks low and sell those same stocks at higher prices, generating capital gains, the more successful the manager the higher the capital gains.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the fund manager then passes on all these taxable gains to the holder of the fund, in this case Joey G., Depending upon the size of your holdings; this tax bill can be many thousands of dollars. To some this may seem to be a high-class problem since the higher the capital gains distributions, the more expected appreciation in the price of the fund but not always.

There are years such as 2008, when, as the market declined, fund mangers sold stocks they had held for a long time. Those sales generated huge capital gain distributions for their investors. At the same time, because the markets were declining, investors sold out of mutual funds in great numbers sending the price of mutual funds to multi-year lows.

"Not only did I have to pay a huge tax bill that year," laments Joey G., "but the very same mutual funds that gave me this tax bill were now selling at deep discounts to my purchase price."

For those who are tired of these capital gains issues, I would suggest looking at exchange-traded funds or ETFs. Since they are index funds, once their indexes are created, they rarely change (no need to buy or sell) so there are relatively few, if any, capital gains distributions.

On occasion there may be a gain (or loss) generated but only if the underlying index the ETF tracks changes in composition. For example, if you purchased the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), that ETF tracks the performance of the S&P 500 Index. If at some point the S&P were to replace one or more stocks in the index, the ETF manager of SPY would also do the same. In that case, there could be a gain or loss (and a distribution) in the ETF. Those kinds of changes occur infrequently.

There are exceptions to this rule; however, since not all exchange-traded funds are created equal. There are some "black box" ETFs that are actively managed. Their marketing managers claim that because of their internal strategies, their ETF can out perform whatever index they represent. Sticking with the S&P 500 example, the actively-managed ETF might only select a sub-set of the index, or buy and sell various stocks within the index, in an effort to provide outperformance. The results of these black box beauties are checkered at best. To me, these hybrids rarely fulfill their promise while their expense ratios are higher than plain vanilla ETFs and there can be capital gain distributions as well.

Since more than 75 percent of mutual fund managers fail to outperform the indexes anyway, ETFs make sense on the performance side as well. They are cheaper to own, the tax advantages are clear and the next time you compare an ETF to a mutual fund remember that the mutual fund performance does not include the taxable consequences of capital gain distributions.

Bill Schmick is an independent investor with Berkshire Money Management. (See "About" for more information.) None of the information presented in any of these articles is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or e-mail him at wschmick@fairpoint.net. Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill's insights.



Tags: ETFs, capital gains, taxes      
News Headlines
Developer Details Plans for Former Adams Mill
Pittsfield Historical Commission Invites Input on St. Mary's Demolition
Pittsfield Prepping For New School Costs Estimates
Williams Senior Harrier Wins National Honor
Williamstown's Friendship Club Raises Funds for Outings
Williams College Football Looks to Bounce Back
MCLA, Williams to Partner with North Adams Schools on Science
UCP to Celebrate Employees, Volunteers at Annual Meeting
Rx Roundup Scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27
MCLA Presents 'Broadway's Next H!t Musical'
Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (144)
Independent Investor (196)
Archives:
September 2014 (3)
September 2013 (3)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (6)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (8)
November 2013 (7)
October 2013 (6)
Tags:
Retirement Selloff Pullback Stock Market Taxes Interest Rates Metals Jobs Currency Federal Reserve Greece Crisis Rally Fed Banks Markets Oil Stimulus Debt Ceiling Economy Congress Japan Housing Stocks Deficit Energy Europe Europe Recession Commodities Fiscal Cliff Debt Election Bailout Euro
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Waiting on the Fed
The Independent Investor: The United States of Scotland?
The Independent Investor: Europe Follows the U.S. lead
@theMarket: What's Up With Bonds?
The Independent Investor: Baby Boomers and Retirement
@theMarket: Labor on Their Mind
The Independent Investor: Financing ISIS
@theMarket: Geopolitical Risk Trumps Economic Growth
The Independent Investor: Beware the Russian Bear
The Independent Investor: Why Some Corporations Are Leaving America


View All
Josh Billings RunAground 2014
The team from Pittsfield's Allen Heights Veterinary won the...
Football: Amherst vs Williams
Football: Amherst vs Williams in a scrimmage on Saturday...
Girls Soccer: Drury vs...
Taconic girls soccer team took a 3-2 win over Drury on...
Football: Wahconah vs...
The Wahconah Warriors tamed the Chicopee Colts 44-6 at home...
Football: Taconic vs...
The Taconic Braves ran over the Cathedral Panthers 20-8 at...
Youth Center Chair Reception...
Inspired seating was on display Saturday night in the...
Volleyball: Mount Greylock vs...
Mount Greylock bested Wahconah 3-2 on Wednesday night at...
Northern Berkshire Food Fest...
Hundreds flocked to Main Street on Sunday for the annual...
Williamstown Fun Run 2014
About 100 participants competed in the 5-kilometer and...
Soccer: Pittsfield vs Mt...
Friday night girl's soccer PHS wins over Mount Greylock...
Soccer: St. Joe s vs McCann...
McCann Tech defeated St. Joseph, 5-2, Wednesday afternoon...
Boys and Girls Cross Country
Lenox's girls went 3-0 on the afternoon, beating Hoosac,...
Soccer: Renaissance vs McCann
The McCann Tech girls soccer team lost to Renaissance, 2-1,...
Berkshire Trendsetter Awards...
The presenting of the fourth annual Berkshire Trendsetter...
Football: Pittsfield vs....
Pittsfield's football team opened the season with an 18-14...
New Citizens Sworn in 2014
Seventeen new citizens from 14 countries were sworn in on...
Josh Billings RunAground 2014
The team from Pittsfield's Allen Heights Veterinary won the...
Football: Amherst vs Williams
Football: Amherst vs Williams in a scrimmage on Saturday...
Girls Soccer: Drury vs...
Taconic girls soccer team took a 3-2 win over Drury on...
Football: Wahconah vs...
The Wahconah Warriors tamed the Chicopee Colts 44-6 at home...
Football: Taconic vs...
The Taconic Braves ran over the Cathedral Panthers 20-8 at...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved