Sarah Neudorf February 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
Most fund ratings are determined by the past performance of the company making the mutual funds available. The mutual funds performance is commonly tracked for a period of five to ten years in order to have a developed pattern emerge as to the performance. Being as the past is sometimes an indication of what the future holds it stands to reason that it should indicate future performance. This is not entirely the case as it is known that unless you can see into the future you will not know what the future holds with certainty.
Mutual fund ratings while they can be accurate at times are not something to base your future investments on alone. If you rely on these alone you may as be blind folded to pick your investments. If you are into investments but you do not want to invest in one kind of stock or another, perhaps you would rather invest in a mutual fund. With mutual funds you can diversify, meaning you can buy more than one kind of stock. By diversifying you reduce the risks without losing your returns.
Check out the fund`s cost of ownership. While you can not predict a fund`s performance, you can control the ongoing expenses. Since expenses impact your ability to grow investments over time, select a fund with low costs. Check the expense ratio, sales fees, trading costs, and 12b-1 fees charged to cover the marketing, distribution and sales. Everything counts against your bottom line - keep it small as possible. When possible, choose funds with expenses less than their category average.
Because these funds are not actively managed, you cannot weed out under-performing securities from the overall index. This can and does have a detrimental effect on your returns. If market conditions warrant action, index funds usually will not be altered unless it happens to coincide with their regular re-balancing schedule.
But you have to remember those special mutual fund factors: minimum holding requirements once you buy a fund; short-term penalty fees if you sell too soon, and a possible frozen account if you re-buy a recently sold fund or funds too soon within 12 months. In other words either you or your software must track or base your selling and buying decisions upon how long you have owned a fund with a re-buy restriction on recently sold funds so you do not get caught in the round-trip trap.
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.