Birgit Kuester January 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
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?
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.
Here is what I think you should consider doing. First unless you are a real expert, consider buying Index Funds, as opposed to investing in funds that carry a high load, or sales charge associated with them. If you pay a big commission, you simply have less dollars in the investment to work with. Studies show that for most mutual funds, the commission or load simply is not worth it. Do not let a good or even a great salesman talk you into a load fund, unless you have checked for yourself, that the returns over several different periods of time have been outstanding.
One way around the round-trip trap is instead of buying the same fund back (because now that energy fund is going up again) is to buy a similar fund from a different mutual fund family; in other words switch from ABC fund company to XYZ, as an example.
Spreadsheets & Formulas I have known plenty of investors who have invested extensive time, money and research into choosing their mutual funds. They have devised their own systems, using complex formulas and spreadsheets to allow them to make the right choice about their mutual funds. Ultimately however, this begs the question: If you have to do all this research, why are you buying mutual funds in the first place? For the amount of time you are spending on your decisions, you could buy individual stocks and not pay a money manager a fee.
Because these funds are not actively managed, you cannot weed out under-performing securities from the overall index. This can and does have a detrimental effect on your returns. If market conditions warrant action, index funds usually will not be altered unless it happens to coincide with their regular re-balancing schedule.