Sarah Neudorf January 16, 2020 Mutual Fund
Make sure the management team has not changed by the way. You do not want to pay for fabulous past results only to find out there is a new portfolio manager in town running your mutual fund. Watch out for the fad funds by the way. By the time an entire mutual fund sector is hot, and ripping up the charts with performance, it is too late 90% of the time, for you to be an investor. You do not want start becoming an investor in gold as it passes $1200 per ounce. That is the time you want to be thinking about exiting, not entering.
Past performance can provide a good starting point, but nothing more. In fact, past performance predicts losers better than the winners. A 1998 study from fund-tracking firm Morningstar, demonstrated the top fund performers rarely hold their spot on the charts. The study also concludes bottom performers rarely did anything but continue to sink. Never assume the past will repeat itself, yet, ignore a fund`s historical record at your own peril. Avoid the perennial losers.
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?
There are thousands of mutual funds available. Thousands. But you only need groups with as few as ten and maybe at the most a hundred funds in order to give you good investment choices. In addition to the groups based on "source" you can create groups based on class or industry. You can do this by going to any of the broker sites or magazines I discussed previously and sorting or filtering on these criteria, for example: • Bonds - for a constant conservative investment • Dividends - for a constant, possibly conservative, cash flow of 3% - 8%. • Domestic - to find the best of what is happening in the USA. • Foreign - to invest in the best or emerging oversea markets
Stay Out of the Money Market Fund or Stable Value Funds - such funds are great if you are building an emergency cash reserve or saving for your summer vacation, but if your investment time horizon is long, putting your money in such vehicles is a poor decision. When the price is below the average you use, be in the Money Market, or stable value option that does not lose money! Move your investments to the stable option as soon as the indexes and funds move below the average you use.
These two lists illustrate just nine (9) possible groups. The next step is to either use software that enables you to find the best future performers within each group or perform fundamental analysis, studying the track record of the manager and his longevity managing the fund as one basic fundamental method. Technical analysis of the funds performance as compared to the markets as a whole is the method I use. You also need rules for when to sell and when to hold, because failing to sell when you should is what creates losses in your pocketbook.
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