Brigitte Werfel February 24, 2020 Mutual 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.
Funds are usually chosen by those that want to cut down on the risk. The diversity of mutual funds allows for investing in more than one source. A mix of bonds, money market securities or stocks make up a fund in order to cut the risk of putting everything in one place. They are rated in order to help the investor chose which funds are right for them. Each company has its own standards for determining a funds rating.
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.
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"
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?
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.