Sophie Moench February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
Make sure the management team has not changed by the way. You do not want to pay for fabulous past results only to find out there is a new portfolio manager in town running your mutual fund. Watch out for the fad funds by the way. By the time an entire mutual fund sector is hot, and ripping up the charts with performance, it is too late 90% of the time, for you to be an investor. You do not want start becoming an investor in gold as it passes $1200 per ounce. That is the time you want to be thinking about exiting, not entering.
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.
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.
Index Funds Of course for many of us, our primary investment vehicles are index funds. These are funds which are designed to match the performance of a major stock index. This takes the decision making away from a money manager. It also makes deciding on a fund very easy. If I want to match the market, I simply buy the index I want to match and move on with my life. In many ways this is a win-win.
There are, in effect, FIVE separate bills that mutual funds charge. The best way to determine if something is effective for you or not is to dollarize the benefit or the burden. When you invest in the typical mutual fund (assuming outside of a qualified retirement plan), you face the following costs that erode your benefit and you probably were never aware of them, you will not find them in your prospectus and your broker is not going to sit down and tell you about them.