Sarah Neudorf February 12, 2020 Mutual Fund
Mutual Fund returns are meeting the reasonable expectations of investors. In the greatest of bull markets, funds of all sizes seriously under performed the stock market. The inability of 85% of all fund managers even to match the performance of the market overall is the result of high fees (see above) short-term investment horizons and substantial transactions and tax costs.
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.
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.
Once you have discovered which index your fund tends to follow it will be obvious on the charts then pick one or two funds that follow the $RUT, one or two that follow the $MID, one or two that follow the EFA foreign funds are usually easy to spot by their names , and finally one or two that follow the NASDAQ.
Watch for a solid record of returns, rather than funds showing spurts of great years followed by fits of lousy ones. Compare the funds returns to a relevant benchmark index, (large-cap vs. S&P 500, small-cap to the Russell Index, etc.) Solid funds should not only consistently beat the benchmarks, they should also beat their peers.
Seek consistency Evaluate a mutual fund`s performance beyond just the recent year. Any fund can get lucky, but it`s the rare firm that prove themselves year after year. Examining a fund`s long term performance can answer the question of consistency. If the performance was good, was it repeatable due to skill - or merely a spike due to dumb luck?