Birgit Kuester February 14, 2020 Mutual Fund
Mutual funds also cost less. You do not have to spend a lot of money to purchase them like you may have to with a single stock purchase. Plus, you can invest small amounts at any time with no trading costs. If you have decided to invest in a mutual fund, there is one problem. There are well over 10,000 funds available so which one to go with. Before you actually invest in a mutual fund get a prospectus from the company. The prospectus will tell you about the fund including the funds goals and how the goals will be achieved, along with a chart of past performance and fees.
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.
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.
Sometimes it is just a lot easier to pick fabulous mutual funds, and let professional money managers make the individual stock selections for you. If you go this route, and for many it is the way to go, than I suggest your big decisions are what sectors you want to invest in, and what are your asset allocations. Sounds like fancy language, but really it is not. It is just plain common sense investing. What is your aversion to risk? Do you want to embrace investment risk, or do you seek to encounter as little risk as possible.
READ CLOSELY: How do all these fund costs affect you? Well, with the expense ratio which averages 1.6% per year, sales charges 0.5%, turnover generated portfolio transactions costs 0.7%, and opportunity costs - when funds hold cash rather than remain fully invested in stocks - 0.3%. The average mutual fund investor loses 3.1% of their investment returns to these costs each and every year. While this might not seem like much on the surface, costs would consume 31% of a 10% market return. Add in the 1.5% capital gains tax bill that the average fund investor pays each year, and that figure shoots up to 46%, nearly half of a potential 10% return. Do you feel like you are taking one or two steps back while trying to go forward yet?
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.
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