Heike Moeller February 24, 2020 Mutual Fund
Investing in stocks, mutual funds and exchange traded funds can be a great way to build wealth, but timing the markets can be detrimental to your bottom line and extremely hard to do. While there are many services out there that claim to accurately pick the highs and lows, the reality is that very few individual investors can accurately use market timing effectively.
Create a plan Define your financial goals. Are you saving for retirement? Putting money aside for a home? Funding a child`s college education? Your answer will have significant implications on your choice of mutual funds. More time gives you flexibility to use an aggressive approach. Immediate needs call for safety and capital preservation. Take careful consideration of your tolerance for risk. If the market dips, at what point would you lose sleep? Is it a 5% drop? 10% drop? An asset allocation plan will balance your portfolio and maximize return for your level of acceptable risk.
For instance Morningstar gives one to five stars as ratings. The score the company first gets on the risk of the fund is what the system is based on. The performance of the fund for the previous five years is then taken away from the original rating. The reliability of this system is not very good as the performance is based on past numbers and can not accurately predict the future earnings or losses on these funds.
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?
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
Lipper Inc ranks its funds based on prior performance. The worse the performance the higher the rating to indicate a larger risk, the lower the rating the better the performance has been. The total return, preservation, consistency of the return, its tax efficiency and the expense are all factored in to determine the funds actual risks. This method should be more accurate in determining the actual risk and profit factor involved in the mutual fund.
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