Heike Moeller February 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
This essay is to enlighten investors on what they are getting into if they are relying on mutual funds as a way to provide for their financial freedom at the time of retirement. Due to the complexities of following stocks and finding competent money management, unless you are a multi-millionaire, many Americans have turned to the quick fix known as a Mutual Fund.
Along with the increased buying and selling activities of an active manager comes a higher expense charge for those trading and management costs. Most actively managed funds have a 50 to 100% higher operating expense ratio than the average index fund. If you are not getting better returns, this can cost plenty over time. Also if your quality manager leaves the fund, you may need to find a better alternative.
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?
They are low to moderate risk investments and are very sensitive to interest rate changes - balanced funds mix stocks and bonds to reduce the investment risk of stocks and to benefit from the certainty of bonds - stock index funds consist of stocks of companies which are found in market indexes and who generally follow the stock market. As you near retirement, you might want to switch your investments to more conservative funds to preserve their value. Target-date funds simplify long-term investing.
SEC Chairman Arthur levitt, Jr. warned of growing unfairness in the relationship between individual investors and mutual funds in January 2001. Mr. Levitt made the following comment: "THERE ARE A NUMBER OF INSTANCES THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, DO NOT HONOR AN INVESTOR`S RIGHTS. INSTANCES WHERE...HIDDEN COSTS HURT AN INVESTORS BOTTOM LINE, WHERE SPIN AND HYPE MAKSE THE TRUE PERFORMANCE OF A MUTUAL FUND, AND WHRE ACCOUNTING TRICKS AND SLEIGHT OF HAND DRESS UP A FUND`S FINANCIAL RESULTS"
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.