Updated: March 25, 2016
As we approach tax time, many investors open their brokerages statements for the first time in a year. Those that “outsourced” their investing decisions to fund managers are often disappointed. On the whole, these vehicles tend to underperform the broader market.
Of course there are exceptions. For example, the Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM) has outperformed the S&P 500 over the past five years (83.4% cumulatively versus 81.6%). It pays a 3.4% yield today, which is certainly better than the S&P’s paltry 2.1% payout.
But VYM can leave you holding an unexpected tax bill this time of year. Even if you didn’t sell your shares of the fund in 2015, its realized gains can be passed onto you. The IRS doesn’t care if you yourself sold shares in the fund – it watches to see if the portfolio managers sold their holdings for profits during the year. …