Birgit Kuester January 20, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
All the matters are the long term trends, and in the long run stable value funds barely keep up with inflation. Unless you are talking about a lifestyle fund, or a couple of very broad based index funds, you are probably not going to get the diversification you need from such a small number of funds. Generally speaking, if you are given the choice between two funds that cover the same asset class, you probably want to pick the one with the lower cost. Select funds that cover different asset classes.
SEC Chairman Arthur levitt, Jr. warned of growing unfairness in the relationship between individual investors and mutual funds in January 2001. Mr. Levitt made the following comment: "THERE ARE A NUMBER OF INSTANCES THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, DO NOT HONOR AN INVESTOR`S RIGHTS. INSTANCES WHERE...HIDDEN COSTS HURT AN INVESTORS BOTTOM LINE, WHERE SPIN AND HYPE MAKSE THE TRUE PERFORMANCE OF A MUTUAL FUND, AND WHRE ACCOUNTING TRICKS AND SLEIGHT OF HAND DRESS UP A FUND`S FINANCIAL RESULTS"
Sometimes it is just a lot easier to pick fabulous mutual funds, and let professional money managers make the individual stock selections for you. If you go this route, and for many it is the way to go, than I suggest your big decisions are what sectors you want to invest in, and what are your asset allocations. Sounds like fancy language, but really it is not. It is just plain common sense investing. What is your aversion to risk? Do you want to embrace investment risk, or do you seek to encounter as little risk as possible.
Make sure the management team has not changed by the way. You do not want to pay for fabulous past results only to find out there is a new portfolio manager in town running your mutual fund. Watch out for the fad funds by the way. By the time an entire mutual fund sector is hot, and ripping up the charts with performance, it is too late 90% of the time, for you to be an investor. You do not want start becoming an investor in gold as it passes $1200 per ounce. That is the time you want to be thinking about exiting, not entering.
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.