Heike Moeller February 24, 2020 Mutual Fund
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?
Past performance can provide a good starting point, but nothing more. In fact, past performance predicts losers better than the winners. A 1998 study from fund-tracking firm Morningstar, demonstrated the top fund performers rarely hold their spot on the charts. The study also concludes bottom performers rarely did anything but continue to sink. Never assume the past will repeat itself, yet, ignore a fund`s historical record at your own peril. Avoid the perennial losers.
The five costs of mutual fund investing are: 1. Tax Costs - excessive capital gains from active trading. 2. Transaction Costs - the cost of trades themselves. 3. Opportunity Costs - dollars taken out of portfolios for a fund`s safekeeping. 4. Sales Charges - both seen and hidden. 5. Expense Ration ("management fees") - no end to increases in site.
Understanding Mutual Fund Data Now that you know how to find mutual fund prices today, there is the matter of knowing how to read what it is that you have found. Funds are listed in alphabetical order, divided into columns underneath the name of the managing company. Your average newspaper will display three columns: in the first, you will see "NAV," short for net asset value.
When investing in mutual funds, you should check around for different accounts that may be available. Some require you to place cash up front and others may not require any cash to open the account. You should do an extensive detailed search to find an account that fits your needs as well as your bank account. Your best research tool is the World Wide Web and it is right at your finger tips 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Actively Managed Funds: All mutual funds that are actively managed by a fund company in an effort to add value to shareholders returns fall into this category. In theory, an experienced portfolio manager can surpass the returns of an index fund by making well-timed and disciplined trades. The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of fund managers do NOT beat their index. But the good news is that the top 20% of these funds can and do on a regular basis. We will try to focus on this group of quality managers.
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