Claudia Eggers February 4, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
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.
Unfortunately, history seems to suggest not. Despite the fact that tens of thousands of individuals make their professions trying to beat the markets, almost none of them do so on a consistent basis. Many will have good runs, but ultimately no one seems to have a proven formula for beating the markets. Usually the hero of a bull market turns into the villain once the market turns on him or her.
The obvious advantage of mutual funds is that they allow you to pool your money with other investors and leave the decision making to someone else. You do not have to spend your days conducting in-depth analysis of stocks and other investments. You simply invest in a mutual fund and let the manager make the decision for you. That is the theory, but of course we all know we are going to have to do some research before we invest in a mutual fund. How much mutual fund analysis is appropriate before making an investment?
While both managed and index funds can yield nice long-term returns over time, I have found that if you can select the best managers in their field and allocate your assets to these top 20 percent of the fund world, you can get better returns from your fund investments. But if you are not sure whether your funds are in the top group, find out. and if they are not, you might be better off with an index fund.
With over 6,000 mutual funds available, it may be tempting to pick funds from a popular star or index rating system. Savvy investors, however, balance multiple factors in their selection process. Ratings represent only the historical performance of funds and cannot predict the future. Performance consistency, management skill, and expense limitations are among the many factors that influence a funds prospects. Each must be carefully evaluated to improve your chances of finding a fund to outperform the market.