Sarah Neudorf February 17, 2020 Mutual Fund
This essay is to enlighten investors on what they are getting into if they are relying on mutual funds as a way to provide for their financial freedom at the time of retirement. Due to the complexities of following stocks and finding competent money management, unless you are a multi-millionaire, many Americans have turned to the quick fix known as a Mutual Fund.
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.
Watch the indexes, and watch your funds if they have symbols. Fixed Funds Fixed Funds, sometimes called Guaranteed Funds, are known for steady, predictable growth in the long term. They carry Guaranteed Interest Contracts underwritten by insurance companies, and because of that fact are commonly considered very low risk funds. This includes the additional protection of the funds from garnishment or attachment by creditors or assigned to anyone else, except in the case of domestic relations court cases dealing with divorce decree or child support orders QDROs; i e , qualified domestic relations orders .
But you have to remember those special mutual fund factors: minimum holding requirements once you buy a fund; short-term penalty fees if you sell too soon, and a possible frozen account if you re-buy a recently sold fund or funds too soon within 12 months. In other words either you or your software must track or base your selling and buying decisions upon how long you have owned a fund with a re-buy restriction on recently sold funds so you do not get caught in the round-trip trap.
If any of this scares you, rethink your investments. The asset allocation model where they show you a pie chart with so many stocks, so many bonds and maybe 3% cash is a failure. This was designed for institutions with 100% investible assets, not for individuals with lifestyle needs and expenses. You will never see any real estate in that pie chart, yet for most Americans, their home is worth more than their other investments