Sarah Neudorf 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.
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.
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?
When you are setting up an account over the internet with your online broker, you must first meet three important requirements. Your computer must be able to connect to the internet, your web browser must be at least 128-bit compatible such as Netscape 3.0 or Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, and you must have at least a small amount of money if not more to start. Some online brokers require that you have as much as $1,000 or the equivalent in securities to open an account.
With over 6,000 mutual funds available, it may be tempting to pick funds from a popular star or index rating system. Savvy investors, however, balance multiple factors in their selection process. Ratings represent only the historical performance of funds and cannot predict the future. Performance consistency, management skill, and expense limitations are among the many factors that influence a funds prospects. Each must be carefully evaluated to improve your chances of finding a fund to outperform the market.
Here is what I think you should consider doing. First unless you are a real expert, consider buying Index Funds, as opposed to investing in funds that carry a high load, or sales charge associated with them. If you pay a big commission, you simply have less dollars in the investment to work with. Studies show that for most mutual funds, the commission or load simply is not worth it. Do not let a good or even a great salesman talk you into a load fund, unless you have checked for yourself, that the returns over several different periods of time have been outstanding.