Birgit Kuester February 14, 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?
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.
Mutual funds investors are always confronted with the decision about investing in managed funds or using an index fund. There are plenty of people who believe one is better than the other, so we will review the advantages and disadvantages of each and I will provide my own suggestion to help you out.
Actively Managed Funds: All mutual funds that are actively managed by a fund company in an effort to add value to shareholders returns fall into this category. In theory, an experienced portfolio manager can surpass the returns of an index fund by making well-timed and disciplined trades. The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of fund managers do NOT beat their index. But the good news is that the top 20% of these funds can and do on a regular basis. We will try to focus on this group of quality managers.
Watch for a solid record of returns, rather than funds showing spurts of great years followed by fits of lousy ones. Compare the funds returns to a relevant benchmark index, (large-cap vs. S&P 500, small-cap to the Russell Index, etc.) Solid funds should not only consistently beat the benchmarks, they should also beat their peers.
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.
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