Birgit Kuester February 4, 2020 Mutual Fund
The main advantage of active management is that quality managers use their experience, analytical skills and economic research to help find undervalued investments that are ready to out perform the market. They can focus their buying on the areas that they find most attractive and sell or avoid those that are under-performing. An active manager can take advantage of market dips to buy or sell as necessary which can add value to your investment.
Before you invest in a fund, look at the fees the company charges. You will notice these fees in the prospectus. If you are ambitious, you will be able to find the fee structure online. Always go with a fund that has a low expense ratio and stay away from 12b-fees. When buying mutual funds you will have various types of choose from. There are money market funds, municipal bond funds, corporate bond funds, mortgage-backed securities funds, U.S. Government bond funds, stock funds, and index funds.
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.
In his book "The Trouble With Mutual Funds," Richard Rutner shares that "No one denies that the average mutual fund returns 2% less per year than the stock market returns in general. Yet the mutual fund industry spends billions of shareholder dollars to promote its money managers as experts who can manage investor`s dollars with skill. The vast majority of mutual funds (94% according to a recent five-year survey by Lipper Analytical Services) have underperformed the stock market as a whole."
READ CLOSELY: How do all these fund costs affect you? Well, with the expense ratio which averages 1.6% per year, sales charges 0.5%, turnover generated portfolio transactions costs 0.7%, and opportunity costs - when funds hold cash rather than remain fully invested in stocks - 0.3%. The average mutual fund investor loses 3.1% of their investment returns to these costs each and every year. While this might not seem like much on the surface, costs would consume 31% of a 10% market return. Add in the 1.5% capital gains tax bill that the average fund investor pays each year, and that figure shoots up to 46%, nearly half of a potential 10% return. Do you feel like you are taking one or two steps back while trying to go forward yet?
Seek consistency Evaluate a mutual fund`s performance beyond just the recent year. Any fund can get lucky, but it`s the rare firm that prove themselves year after year. Examining a fund`s long term performance can answer the question of consistency. If the performance was good, was it repeatable due to skill - or merely a spike due to dumb luck?
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