Birgit Kuester January 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
Before you invest in a fund, look at the fees the company charges. You will notice these fees in the prospectus. If you are ambitious, you will be able to find the fee structure online. Always go with a fund that has a low expense ratio and stay away from 12b-fees. When buying mutual funds you will have various types of choose from. There are money market funds, municipal bond funds, corporate bond funds, mortgage-backed securities funds, U.S. Government bond funds, stock funds, and index funds.
While both managed and index funds can yield nice long-term returns over time, I have found that if you can select the best managers in their field and allocate your assets to these top 20 percent of the fund world, you can get better returns from your fund investments. But if you are not sure whether your funds are in the top group, find out. and if they are not, you might be better off with an index fund.
Check out the fund`s cost of ownership. While you can not predict a fund`s performance, you can control the ongoing expenses. Since expenses impact your ability to grow investments over time, select a fund with low costs. Check the expense ratio, sales fees, trading costs, and 12b-1 fees charged to cover the marketing, distribution and sales. Everything counts against your bottom line - keep it small as possible. When possible, choose funds with expenses less than their category average.
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.
READ CLOSELY: How do all these fund costs affect you? Well, with the expense ratio which averages 1.6% per year, sales charges 0.5%, turnover generated portfolio transactions costs 0.7%, and opportunity costs - when funds hold cash rather than remain fully invested in stocks - 0.3%. The average mutual fund investor loses 3.1% of their investment returns to these costs each and every year. While this might not seem like much on the surface, costs would consume 31% of a 10% market return. Add in the 1.5% capital gains tax bill that the average fund investor pays each year, and that figure shoots up to 46%, nearly half of a potential 10% return. Do you feel like you are taking one or two steps back while trying to go forward yet?
Index Funds: Any fund that is made up of a static portfolio structured to mirror the investments of a proposed market index is classified as an index fund. There are small cap indices, bond indices, international indices, specialty indices and many others. The most widely used is the S&P 500 index where the fund uses the same 500 stocks that are included in the Standard and Poors 500. These portfolios are only changed when and if the index changes its holdings which allows for a very tax efficient, low turnover investment.