Heike Moeller February 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
Keep It Simple In the final analysis, the most important thing you need to analyze when it comes to picking mutual funds is your needs. Look at your overall investment objectives and then make your investments accordingly. This will typically mean deciding what risk levels your comfortable with and then executing. Given historical results, for most of us that may very well mean buying index funds and dealing with matching the markets. No one has drawn up a superior playbook and 11% is not so bad anyway.
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 .
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?
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.
Along with the increased buying and selling activities of an active manager comes a higher expense charge for those trading and management costs. Most actively managed funds have a 50 to 100% higher operating expense ratio than the average index fund. If you are not getting better returns, this can cost plenty over time. Also if your quality manager leaves the fund, you may need to find a better alternative.
One way around the round-trip trap is instead of buying the same fund back (because now that energy fund is going up again) is to buy a similar fund from a different mutual fund family; in other words switch from ABC fund company to XYZ, as an example.