Heike Moeller January 14, 2020 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.
Unfortunately, history seems to suggest not. Despite the fact that tens of thousands of individuals make their professions trying to beat the markets, almost none of them do so on a consistent basis. Many will have good runs, but ultimately no one seems to have a proven formula for beating the markets. Usually the hero of a bull market turns into the villain once the market turns on him or her.
Because these funds are not actively managed, you cannot weed out under-performing securities from the overall index. This can and does have a detrimental effect on your returns. If market conditions warrant action, index funds usually will not be altered unless it happens to coincide with their regular re-balancing schedule.
There are, in effect, FIVE separate bills that mutual funds charge. The best way to determine if something is effective for you or not is to dollarize the benefit or the burden. When you invest in the typical mutual fund (assuming outside of a qualified retirement plan), you face the following costs that erode your benefit and you probably were never aware of them, you will not find them in your prospectus and your broker is not going to sit down and tell you about them.
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
Index Funds: Any fund that is made up of a static portfolio structured to mirror the investments of a proposed market index is classified as an index fund. There are small cap indices, bond indices, international indices, specialty indices and many others. The most widely used is the S&P 500 index where the fund uses the same 500 stocks that are included in the Standard and Poors 500. These portfolios are only changed when and if the index changes its holdings which allows for a very tax efficient, low turnover investment.