Claudia Eggers February 6, 2020 Mutual Fund
The five costs of mutual fund investing are: 1. Tax Costs - excessive capital gains from active trading. 2. Transaction Costs - the cost of trades themselves. 3. Opportunity Costs - dollars taken out of portfolios for a fund`s safekeeping. 4. Sales Charges - both seen and hidden. 5. Expense Ration ("management fees") - no end to increases in site.
The recent explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf and the resulting chaos and environmental damage tells you that any company can all of a sudden be exposed to dramatic unforeseen risk. In this case it was BP. Mutual Funds can also possess much more risk than you thought you were encountering.
Mutual Fund returns are meeting the reasonable expectations of investors. In the greatest of bull markets, funds of all sizes seriously under performed the stock market. The inability of 85% of all fund managers even to match the performance of the market overall is the result of high fees (see above) short-term investment horizons and substantial transactions and tax costs.
Create a plan Define your financial goals. Are you saving for retirement? Putting money aside for a home? Funding a child`s college education? Your answer will have significant implications on your choice of mutual funds. More time gives you flexibility to use an aggressive approach. Immediate needs call for safety and capital preservation. Take careful consideration of your tolerance for risk. If the market dips, at what point would you lose sleep? Is it a 5% drop? 10% drop? An asset allocation plan will balance your portfolio and maximize return for your level of acceptable risk.
Dismiss recent results Past performance is no indicator of future results. No truer words could ever be spoken and they are included in every mutual fund advertisement. But it is extremely difficult to ignore these numbers which the fund companies conveniently place in big bold letters - immediately above the fine print warning us. Nothing is more attractive than a fund with a great record, especially given the dismal performance in the market.
Taxes are often overlooked and can substantially reduce your after-tax gain unless investing within a tax-deferred, retirement account. Avoid funds with large distributions (capital gain payments) by searching for funds with low turnover. Since buying and selling stock incurs transaction costs, lower turnover translates to lower expenses and lower capital gains taxes. Fund managers who seek to boost returns through repeatedly buying and selling securities are no friend of yours.
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