Brigitte Werfel February 4, 2020 Mutual Fund
Taxes are often overlooked and can substantially reduce your after-tax gain unless investing within a tax-deferred, retirement account. Avoid funds with large distributions (capital gain payments) by searching for funds with low turnover. Since buying and selling stock incurs transaction costs, lower turnover translates to lower expenses and lower capital gains taxes. Fund managers who seek to boost returns through repeatedly buying and selling securities are no friend of yours.
Investing in stocks, mutual funds and exchange traded funds can be a great way to build wealth, but timing the markets can be detrimental to your bottom line and extremely hard to do. While there are many services out there that claim to accurately pick the highs and lows, the reality is that very few individual investors can accurately use market timing effectively.
Index Funds: Any fund that is made up of a static portfolio structured to mirror the investments of a proposed market index is classified as an index fund. There are small cap indices, bond indices, international indices, specialty indices and many others. The most widely used is the S&P 500 index where the fund uses the same 500 stocks that are included in the Standard and Poors 500. These portfolios are only changed when and if the index changes its holdings which allows for a very tax efficient, low turnover investment.
Unless you have a crystal ball or a time machine, accurately predicting the future gyrations of a stock or the markets is nearly impossible. It may be slightly easier to follow the trend and reallocate your assets close to bottoms and close to tops, but if you are an average investor, you do not have the time, temperament or training to do it well. Most financial and investment advisers do not either.
Check out the fund`s cost of ownership. While you can not predict a fund`s performance, you can control the ongoing expenses. Since expenses impact your ability to grow investments over time, select a fund with low costs. Check the expense ratio, sales fees, trading costs, and 12b-1 fees charged to cover the marketing, distribution and sales. Everything counts against your bottom line - keep it small as possible. When possible, choose funds with expenses less than their category average.
There are, in effect, FIVE separate bills that mutual funds charge. The best way to determine if something is effective for you or not is to dollarize the benefit or the burden. When you invest in the typical mutual fund (assuming outside of a qualified retirement plan), you face the following costs that erode your benefit and you probably were never aware of them, you will not find them in your prospectus and your broker is not going to sit down and tell you about them.