Sophie Moench February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
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.
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.
These two lists illustrate just nine (9) possible groups. The next step is to either use software that enables you to find the best future performers within each group or perform fundamental analysis, studying the track record of the manager and his longevity managing the fund as one basic fundamental method. Technical analysis of the funds performance as compared to the markets as a whole is the method I use. You also need rules for when to sell and when to hold, because failing to sell when you should is what creates losses in your pocketbook.
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.
Stay Out of the Money Market Fund or Stable Value Funds - such funds are great if you are building an emergency cash reserve or saving for your summer vacation, but if your investment time horizon is long, putting your money in such vehicles is a poor decision. When the price is below the average you use, be in the Money Market, or stable value option that does not lose money! Move your investments to the stable option as soon as the indexes and funds move below the average you use.