Sophie Moench February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
Most fund ratings are determined by the past performance of the company making the mutual funds available. The mutual funds performance is commonly tracked for a period of five to ten years in order to have a developed pattern emerge as to the performance. Being as the past is sometimes an indication of what the future holds it stands to reason that it should indicate future performance. This is not entirely the case as it is known that unless you can see into the future you will not know what the future holds with certainty.
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?
Taxes are often overlooked and can substantially reduce your after-tax gain unless investing within a tax-deferred, retirement account. Avoid funds with large distributions (capital gain payments) by searching for funds with low turnover. Since buying and selling stock incurs transaction costs, lower turnover translates to lower expenses and lower capital gains taxes. Fund managers who seek to boost returns through repeatedly buying and selling securities are no friend of yours.
Picking mutual funds is a challenging task. You will need to spend time learning, researching, investigating, analyzing, and comparing. The key is to develop your own methodology using some of the components listed here along with your own judgment and decision capabilities. Review your investment plan and fund selection criteria at least once a year. Make sure the plan still matches your goals and the funds match your expectations.
There are thousands of mutual funds available. Thousands. But you only need groups with as few as ten and maybe at the most a hundred funds in order to give you good investment choices. In addition to the groups based on "source" you can create groups based on class or industry. You can do this by going to any of the broker sites or magazines I discussed previously and sorting or filtering on these criteria, for example: • Bonds - for a constant conservative investment • Dividends - for a constant, possibly conservative, cash flow of 3% - 8%. • Domestic - to find the best of what is happening in the USA. • Foreign - to invest in the best or emerging oversea markets
In developing mutual fund strategies it is important to recognize that most software programs, especially chart based programs, are designed to work best with stocks or ETFs. The holding requirements, short-term trading fees and round-trip penalties of most mutual funds companies require different software programs.