Dave Ramsey's 4 mutual fund types explained - Shawn Roe (2024)

Dave Ramsey's 4 mutual fund types explained - Shawn Roe (1)

DaveRamsey is a genius when it comes to inspiring people with common sense to get out of debt and to live within their means.He gets a fair bit of criticism on his investing advice though. Dave recommends people spread their investments across four types of mutual funds:

  1. Growth (25%)
  2. Growth and Income (25%)
  3. Aggressive Growth (25%)
  4. International. (25%)

Enthusiastic readers and listeners probably run off to Google to find these 4 mutual fund investments to invest like Dave and build wealth. But the answers are hidden – and followers end up having to contact an investing ELP (endorsed local providers) SmartVestor Pro that follows Dave’s rules (and pays for his endorsem*nt).

Dave purposely shies away from giving specific investment advice to his listeners. Part of it probably has to do with the rules and regulations around giving investment advice, and part of it is probably because he’s honed his message for simplicity and maximum effect. The problem is: many debt-free followers are left wondering where to invest their retirement or extra money. I’m no ELP SmartVestor Pro, but let me help fill-in where Dave has left off when it comes to investing in mutual funds for maximum efficiency.

4 Mutual Fund Types

Dave recommends investing equally amongfour mutual fund “types”:

  1. Growth and Income
  2. Growth
  3. Aggressive Growth
  4. International

The first problem is that it isn’t clear what these fund “types” mean. These aren’t exactly commonterms used to describe mutual funds. So we have to interpret what Dave means. According to several others who have explored this topic and Dave’s own words,it’s fair to interpret his mutual fund recommendations as follows:


  1. Growth and Income = Large-Cap Funds (which invest in big companies like Coca-Cola and Home Depot)
  2. Growth = Mid-Cap Funds
  3. Aggressive Growth = Small-Cap Growth Funds (which invest in smaller companies poised to grow bigger)
  4. International =World stocks funds (which invest in companies outside of the US)

Going backwards, international is the easiest one to interpret. Obviously Dave recommends investing in mutual funds that focus on companies outside of the US. The problem is that there are many types of international funds which only invest in China, or only Europe, or only “developing markets” like Southeast Asia or South America. How can you know which one to choose?

Next, Dave recommends Aggressive Growth, which means smaller companies. Small cap companies are considered aggressive growth because they invest most of their profits back into themselves in order to get larger (and more profitable). So, aggressive growth definitely means small cap companies, and we can find funds that invest specifically in small companies focused on growth.

Growth and Income means that the companies offer dividends or interest payments. These companies are usually larger companies that have grown large enough to offervalue in the form of consistent profits (think Coca-cola and Home Depot). There’s not a lot of room for growth in these large companies. So growth and income means large cap. Dave Ramsey's 4 mutual fund types explained - Shawn Roe (2)

The first category Dave always recommends is simply Growth which he calls the “Goldilocks” funds, because they’re “just right”. This category is considered the foundation of many diversified portfolio strategies. Dave explained on his radio show that this category means mid-cap funds. However, he also said that you could achieve the same “result” by investing in an S&P500 fund. He regularly mentions S&P500 funds as safe investments for people who have maxed out their retirement accounts and need to invest in regular taxable account.This “Goldilocks” category is where I personally invest most of my money. More specifically, I invest in index funds all day long.

Which Funds to Choose?

This is the golden question. Dave purposely makes a point not to recommend specific funds when he discusses investing. He emphasizes that investing in any mutual funds that even somewhat match his recommendation is a million times better than sitting out of the market. He relies on his ELP’s (endorsed local providers) SmartVestor Pros to handle the specifics. Well, I’m no pro, but I can look up mutual funds in an online screener and find the best performing over the last 10 years with average risk (or less). I specifically looked for funds led by the same manager for at least 5 years to fit Dave’s recommendation of fund with “long track records”. Here are 3 example portfolios loosely matching Dave Ramsey’s mutual fund recommendations:


You can copy these ticker symbols and put them into your favorite search engine (Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, Morningstar, etc) to get more specific information. Or copy them down and ask your SmartVestorto find funds that match or beat these.

All 3 of the Dave Ramsey’s portfolios outperformed the S&P500 total return over 10 years from 2006 ~ 2016.

The S&P500 is the green line in the graph below. Notice how it’s lower than the other 3 lines representing Ramsey-like portfolios. The dates are from Jan 2006 to November 2015 or approximately the last 10 years.

But wait… there’s more!

Hindsight is 20/20, meaning that it’s not fair to look back at historical returns and cherry-pick the best funds to match against the general market (S&P500). It’s been more than 4 years since I wrote the original article. Let’s see how the exact same mix of funds has compared over the last 10 years from 2010 to 2020.

Dave Ramsey's 4 mutual fund types explained - Shawn Roe (4)

Over the last 10 years from 2010 to 2020, three Dave Ramsey-inspired portfolios tracked pretty closely together until around 2018-2019. As of Mar 31, 2020, $10,000 invested in the S&P500 would’ve turned into $28,429. That’s almost triple, with not additional investments added to the original amount. AND it includes the beginning of the coronavirus crash of 2020. The original 3 portfolios that had beaten the S&P500, all lost more starting around 2019 than the S&P500 fund (represented by the ETF).

What should I invest in?

Some people give Dave Ramsey a hard time about his investing strategy being simple, or risky, or just plain wrong. The truth is that Dave’s best advice is helping people get out of debt. Once you’ve followed his plan to get out of debt, start looking elsewhere for investment advice. The easiest plan, which beats all other plans most of the time, is to simply invest in broad index funds with low expense ratios.

Disclaimer: I am not an investing professional. I’m also not affiliate with Dave Ramsey or any company he owns. The above isan opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

Dave Ramsey's 4 mutual fund types explained - Shawn Roe (2024)


What are Dave Ramsey's four types of mutual funds? ›

investing in four types of mutual funds growth, growth and income, aggressive growth, and international.

What are the 4 types of MF? ›

There are four broad types of mutual funds: Equity (stocks), fixed-income (bonds), money market funds (short-term debt), or both stocks and bonds (balanced or hybrid funds). Kevin Voigt is a former staff writer for NerdWallet covering investing.

What do the different fund series mean? ›

Mutual funds are often categorized into different “series” or “classes” which are designed to provide different benefits for investors and/or different compensation arrangements for the advisors that sell the fund.

What is the best performing mutual fund over the last 10 years? ›

Highest Return Mutual Funds in Last 10 Years
Fund Name5 Years Return10 Years Return
Quant Flexi Cap Fund (G)31.5%22.2%
HSBC Small Cap Fund Fund (G)26.0%22.0%
Motilal Oswal Midcap fund (G)27.7%21.7%
Quant Infrastructure Fund (G)36.2%21.5%
16 more rows

What are Dave Ramsey's mutual funds? ›

What It Means To 'Actually Invest' In the video accompanying the tweet, Ramsey shared the four types of mutual funds he invests in: growth, growth and income, aggressive growth, and international — along with his investment strategy. “I invest in those in up times, in down times, in all times,” Ramsey said.

What is the 4 fund investment strategy? ›

The Four Fund Combo is built on four index funds (or exchange-traded funds) that include the most basic U.S. equity asset classes: large-cap blend stocks (the S&P 500 SPX, +0.27%, in other words), large-cap value stocks, small-cap blend stocks, and small-cap value stocks.

Which is the best type of mutual fund? ›

List of Best Mutual Funds in India sorted by ET Money Ranking
  • HYBRID Dynamic Asset Allocation. ...
  • HYBRID Equity Savings. ...
  • HYBRID Conservative Hybrid. ...
  • ICICI Prudential Credit Risk Fund. ...
  • ICICI Prudential All Seasons Bond Fund. ...
  • ICICI Prudential Medium Term Bond Fund. ...
  • ICICI Prudential Floating Interest Fund. ...
  • SBI Magnum Income Fund.

Which category of mutual fund is best? ›

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to which type of mutual fund is the best. The best type of mutual fund depends on your financial goals and risk tolerance. Equity funds offer growth potential, debt funds provide stability, ELSS funds offer tax benefits, and ETFs offer diversification.

Which mutual fund is best? ›

  • Mirae Asset Flexi Cap Fund Direct Growth. ...
  • LIC MF Flexi Cap Fund Direct Plan Growth Option. ...
  • Axis Flexi Cap Fund Direct Growth. ...
  • Canara Robeco Flexi Cap Fund Direct Plan Growth Option. ...
  • Sundaram Flexi Cap Fund Direct Growth. ...
  • Navi Flexi Cap Fund Direct Growth. ...
  • SBI Flexicap Fund Direct Growth.

What is a series D mutual fund? ›

Series D funds, also know as Discount Series funds, are created specifically for self-directed investors who purchase mutual funds through an online or discount brokerage.

What is the difference between a series and F mutual funds? ›

*Series A securities are available to all investors while Series F is only available to investors who have a fee-based account with their representative's firm and whose representative's firm has an agreement with a fund company.

What is a O series mutual fund? ›

O series: The letter "O" doesn't actually stand for a word beginning in O. Generally O refers to institutional mutual funds. T series: Mutual funds with the letter "T" at the end will be tax-advantaged most of the time. These funds often have some portion of the returns that are not taxable.

What if I invest $1,000 a month in mutual funds for 20 years? ›

If you invest Rs 1000 for 20 years , if we assume 12 % return , you would get Approx Rs 9.2 lakhs. Invested amount Rs 2.4 Lakh.

What is the safest type of mutual fund? ›

Money market mutual funds

These mutual funds own safe securities such as cash and very short-term debt, making them generally safer than either stock- or bond-based mutual funds but also lower-return.

Which mutual fund is best for the next 5 years? ›

List of Best Performing Mutual Funds in India as of Last 5 Years (as per 5Y annualized Returns)
Fund CategoryFund Name5Y Return (Annualised)
EquityQuant Small Cap Fund Direct Plan-Growth40.19%
Quant Mid Cap Fund Direct-Growth38.69%
Bank of India Small Cap Fund Direct-Growth34.17%
Tata Small Cap Fund Direct-Growth33.44%
11 more rows
May 6, 2024

What is Dave Ramsey's financial plan? ›

Save $1,000 for your starter emergency fund. Pay off all debt (except your mortgage) using the debt snowball method. Save three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund. Invest 15% of your household income for retirement.

Why does Dave Ramsey recommend that you invest in mutual funds for at least five years? ›

A: Mutual funds are like the Swiss Army knife of investing — they diversify your risk across a bunch of investments. Dave likes them because they're reliable and stable over time. By staying invested for at least five years, you give these funds the time they need to show their true potential.

What are the most popular mutual funds? ›

Top Mutual Funds
SymbolName50 Day Average
FSELXFidelity Select Semiconductors30.17
BISCXUBS US Small Cap Growth P21.45
BNSCXUBS US Small Cap Growth A17.69
HIMDXHennessy Cornerstone Mid Cap 30 Instl23.94
21 more rows

What is the best mutual fund to invest in? ›

5 Best Mutual Funds to Buy Now
Mutual FundAssets Under ManagementExpense Ratio
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX)$1.6 trillion0.04%
Fidelity 500 Index (FXAIX)$512.4 billion0.015%
Fidelity ZERO International Index (FZILX)$4 billion0%
American Funds Bond Fund of America (ABNDX)$82.6 billion0.62%
1 more row
5 days ago

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