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The Top 15 No-Load Mutual Funds

When it comes to investing, my advice is simple. Buy index funds and no-load mutual funds and ignore the stock market (and the endless media analysis and speculation on individual stocks). It’s easy enough to understand, but where should starting investors turn for guidance on which funds to choose? Kiplinger’s maintains a list of its favorite 25 mutual funds. Fifteen of those funds are “no-load” (i.e., they don’t charge a sales fee to invest in them). Here they are:

No-Load U.S. Stock Mutual Funds

  • Baron Small Cap (BSCFX)
  • CMG Focus (CGMFX)
  • Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX)
  • Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX)
  • Longleaf Partners (LLPFX)
  • Selected American Sahres S (SLASX)
  • T. Rowe Price Equity Income (PRFDX)
  • T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth
  • T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Growth

No-Load International Stock Mutual Funds

  • Artio International Equity II A (JETAX)
  • Dodge & Cox Int’l Stock (DODFX)

No-Load Bond Mutual Funds

  • Dodge & Cox Income (DODIX)
  • Harbor Bond Institutional (HABDX)
  • Loomis Sayles Bond (LSBRX)
  • Vanguard Infl-Protected Secs (VIPSX)

If you’re in your twenties and just starting out investing in an IRA or non-retirement account; I would think that a combination of three-four of these funds would make an ideal first portfolio (perhaps one or two U.S. stock funds, an international fund, and a very small investment in a bond fund).

Interested in learning more about a particular mutual fund? I recommend you set up a free account with Morningstar; my favorite source for mutual fund data.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite no-load mutual fund that is or isn’t included on this list?

Published or updated on May 13, 2009

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


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  1. Ryan says:

    The one problem I have with all of these funds is their expense ratios. For a person under 30, such as myself, you should consider investing in a Total Stock Market Index Fund such as the one offered by Vanguard or Fidelity that offers expense ratios of 0.1% as opposed to 0.5%+ like the ones listed above. Expense ratios are just a fancy way of saying: money taken away from your profits.

    Just adjust how much you have in stocks, bonds, and cash over time as recommended by the typical retirement funds, but, instead of buying into a retirement fund with an expense ratio of more than 1%, you manage the money yourself. So you can put 80% in Total Stock Market, 15% in bonds, and 5% in cash. Also, you should make an account to play around with on the side if you like to dabble in stocks like myself.

  2. Daddy Paul says:

    The author made some great choices in 2009.
    I tip my hat!

  3. Chelsea says:

    The Artio fund is closed to new investors and has not been performing even near the levels of some other international mutual funds. Look into Asia, look into Brazil, look into India. If you get double the return, load is only being pennywise.

  4. I’m a big fan of Dodge and Cox. They close their funds when they feel they get too large. Few fund families do this, and when they do there definition of what’s too big is often far greater.

  5. Hank says:

    The entire mutual fund family, Dodge and Cox, are fabulous! They have the best long term mentality, their fund managers invest in their funds, they select stocks by committee focused on a 3 to 5 year time horizon, and their great managers have been around for decades.

  6. These are an excellent group of funds for the under thirty crowd. In addition to the no load feature, these funds all have very low expenses and reasonable entry costs. And the stock funds would probably be enough for a beginning portfolio since most of this group have some bond exposure and some are keeping a lot of cash on the sidelines.

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