Stocks Vs Index Funds: What Is Better For You

Stocks or index funds–which one is a better fit for your portfolio? Before we find the answers to this, let’s understand how the two are different. Visit

Investment in stock implies that you buy a company’s share. If you are a seasoned investor who can pick stocks wisely on the basis of your financial knowledge and are willing to take risks, you would find investing in stocks to be a good option. An index fund allows you to diversify by investing in a number of stocks that are put together in one basket of investments. Consider this if you are an investor who doesn’t have a big risk appetite and doesn’t want to go through the process of selecting stocks/mutual funds.

Investing in Index funds
1. Who invests in index funds? – Index funds are typically preferred by risk-averse investors who look forward to predictable returns in the future. Investors who choose not to monitor the market closely every day and prefer not to be involved in extensive tracking are the ones who choose index funds. You may choose a Sensex or Nifty index fund if you wish to gain exposure to the equity market minus the risks.
2. How to track various benchmarks? – An index fund is able to track the selected benchmark index by developing a composition of stocks that has the same proportion as the index. As a result, when the share price in the index increases, the index fund price also moves up and vice versa. The index funds track a benchmark index and hence are also known as passively managed funds.
3. Why do investors prefer index funds – Investors choose Index funds because they let one own a wide variety of stocks. The outcome of this is diversified funds that are cost-effective and also low risk. Another plus point of index funds is that they’re very liquid. They allow investors to enter and exit the trade at any given point. Hence, index funds are better suited to new investors than individual stocks.

Investing in Stocks
1. What kind of returns can you expect from stocks– Stock returns could be assessed on the basis of the long-term performance trends of a particular stock. If investors are investing in stocks, they do so because they hope that the prices would rise and there will be dividends to gain along with profits. However, one should also remember that stocks could even bring negative returns on the basis of several factors such as company performance, business segment, market trends, etc.
2. How do investors make money from stock investments – When share prices rise, more investors wish to jump into the market to make faster profits instead of waiting for mutual fund returns in the long run. Here’s a piece of advice–stock market trends have time and again shown that investors can gain more in the long term than the returns that they could earn in the short term.
3. Risk in stock investments – There are multiple risks that one may associate with direct stock investments, including company risk, market risk, tax, regulation changes, inflation, etc. Equity investments typically operate on the high-risk-high return concept.

4. Requirements for stock investments – Investors should have a Demat account to trade stocks. One also needs to consider the brokerage cost that comes with every stock purchase/sale. As a result, stock investments could be more expensive than index funds. Before you start investing in stocks, take stock of your experience and expertise when it comes to stock selection, or be prepared for major losses.

Which is better: index funds or stocks?
The answer for this depends on the kind of investor you are. If you are someone who chooses passive involvement in an investment, index funds could be your pick. may be the right choice. Stock investments on the other hand would suit those investors who have the kind of expertise required to be an active part of stock selection.

Are index funds safer?
Index funds are typically not as volatile as stocks. But remember that the volatility relies on the underlying index and the way its prices fluctuate. Stocks may seem to be very volatile in the short run, but large-cap stocks could yield more profit in the long term.

Greater Potential
In the case of some individual stocks, increased risk translates to better opportunity and returns even in the short term. You may even come across a few stocks whose prices increase many times a year but remember that they’re also the ones that have the potential of just crashing. can increase in price several times over a year. Hence, it is always best to avoid individual stocks if you’re just getting the hang of investments. It is a safer alternative to put a majority of your funds in an index fund where you know that there are going to be good returns in the future.

As you keep learning more about the stock market and begin to assess as well as research investments, you will be able to diversify and dive right into individual stocks independently. Research and analysis starts at the bottom line–do a proper debt analysis and figure out if they’re meeting or exceeding market expectations. There are many credible online resources that give you a good insight on the numbers of a company that you wish to invest in.

The Best Approach

Rather than picking between individual stocks or index funds, the ideal thing to do here is to invest in both of them. There are pros and cons in every strategy–investing all your capital in stocks is risky while putting them all on index funds could mean lower returns.

Of course you wouldn’t want to risk too much and choose steady gains over the course of time. For this you have index funds to invest a majority of your funds while you can set aside a sum to put into more speculative investment opportunities. There is enough potential to earn a lot of profit from stocks if you make informed choices despite the risk. But in case your speculation turns out to be incorrect, you wouldn’t incur a great loss since you only invested a small sum.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.