Brigitte Werfel January 19, 2020 Mutual Fund
When you work with mutual funds you can manage them better. You normally do not buy mutual funds directly. Instead you hire a professional manager to care for your purchase. These managers know how to care for the fund and have credentials to prove it. Buy having mutual funds you can keep track of them easier. This is because you only have one portfolio to deal with instead of perhaps hundreds of stocks. And if you need money quickly, you can go with mutual funds because they are very liquid.
The recent explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf and the resulting chaos and environmental damage tells you that any company can all of a sudden be exposed to dramatic unforeseen risk. In this case it was BP. Mutual Funds can also possess much more risk than you thought you were encountering.
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.
Watch for a solid record of returns, rather than funds showing spurts of great years followed by fits of lousy ones. Compare the funds returns to a relevant benchmark index, (large-cap vs. S&P 500, small-cap to the Russell Index, etc.) Solid funds should not only consistently beat the benchmarks, they should also beat their peers.
Spreadsheets & Formulas I have known plenty of investors who have invested extensive time, money and research into choosing their mutual funds. They have devised their own systems, using complex formulas and spreadsheets to allow them to make the right choice about their mutual funds. Ultimately however, this begs the question: If you have to do all this research, why are you buying mutual funds in the first place? For the amount of time you are spending on your decisions, you could buy individual stocks and not pay a money manager a fee.
Because these funds are not actively managed, you cannot weed out under-performing securities from the overall index. This can and does have a detrimental effect on your returns. If market conditions warrant action, index funds usually will not be altered unless it happens to coincide with their regular re-balancing schedule.