Heike Moeller February 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
Seek consistency Evaluate a mutual fund`s performance beyond just the recent year. Any fund can get lucky, but it`s the rare firm that prove themselves year after year. Examining a fund`s long term performance can answer the question of consistency. If the performance was good, was it repeatable due to skill - or merely a spike due to dumb luck?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to buy loaded funds. These are funds that have sales charges attached to them. If you purchase these types of finds, you will be paying sales charges on top of other fees. Do not forget to overlook the mutual funds risk factor. If the fund looks to unstable over the years, or shows signs of it being too risky, do not get involved. And also check with the SEC to make sure the company is decent and has a good reputation.