Heike Moeller February 24, 2020 Mutual Fund
Index Funds: Any fund that is made up of a static portfolio structured to mirror the investments of a proposed market index is classified as an index fund. There are small cap indices, bond indices, international indices, specialty indices and many others. The most widely used is the S&P 500 index where the fund uses the same 500 stocks that are included in the Standard and Poors 500. These portfolios are only changed when and if the index changes its holdings which allows for a very tax efficient, low turnover investment.
Index funds provide a static and very transparent investment portfolio. They also offer very low turnover of securities due to less buying and selling. This allows them to keep operating expenses at a minimum and usually substantially lower than their managed counterparts. The fact that they represent the entire stock or bond holdings of the index provides great diversification, which can also be a disadvantage.
The obvious advantage of mutual funds is that they allow you to pool your money with other investors and leave the decision making to someone else. You do not have to spend your days conducting in-depth analysis of stocks and other investments. You simply invest in a mutual fund and let the manager make the decision for you. That is the theory, but of course we all know we are going to have to do some research before we invest in a mutual fund. How much mutual fund analysis is appropriate before making an investment?
While it does not help the employee`s current tax situation, funds that were contributed on an after-tax basis may be easier to withdraw since they are not subject to the strict IRS rules which apply to pre-tax contributions. It does not include any matching funds that the employer might graciously throw in. Because every penny taken in the form of expenses is at least a nickel you will not have in retirement, you want low-cost funds. If these conditions are met, the funds can be withdrawn and used for one of the following five purposes.
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.
When you work with mutual funds you can manage them better. You normally do not buy mutual funds directly. Instead you hire a professional manager to care for your purchase. These managers know how to care for the fund and have credentials to prove it. Buy having mutual funds you can keep track of them easier. This is because you only have one portfolio to deal with instead of perhaps hundreds of stocks. And if you need money quickly, you can go with mutual funds because they are very liquid.