Sarah Neudorf February 26, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
Unless you have a crystal ball or a time machine, accurately predicting the future gyrations of a stock or the markets is nearly impossible. It may be slightly easier to follow the trend and reallocate your assets close to bottoms and close to tops, but if you are an average investor, you do not have the time, temperament or training to do it well. Most financial and investment advisers do not either.
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?
Dismiss recent results Past performance is no indicator of future results. No truer words could ever be spoken and they are included in every mutual fund advertisement. But it is extremely difficult to ignore these numbers which the fund companies conveniently place in big bold letters - immediately above the fine print warning us. Nothing is more attractive than a fund with a great record, especially given the dismal performance in the market.
Create a plan Define your financial goals. Are you saving for retirement? Putting money aside for a home? Funding a child`s college education? Your answer will have significant implications on your choice of mutual funds. More time gives you flexibility to use an aggressive approach. Immediate needs call for safety and capital preservation. Take careful consideration of your tolerance for risk. If the market dips, at what point would you lose sleep? Is it a 5% drop? 10% drop? An asset allocation plan will balance your portfolio and maximize return for your level of acceptable risk.
Always review the experience and performance of the fund`s managers. When you buy a mutual fund, you are actually investing in the experience, skill, and savvy that the manager brings to the table. When the manager leaves, the fund performance generally goes with him. How many years has the manager been leading the fund? The longer (if generating strong results), the better. And keep an eye out for the gurus. The industry`s better managers are well-respected, high-regarded, and often quoted in the press. You will find multiple articles and even manager profiles published in the popular financial magazines and newspapers.