Sarah Neudorf February 25, 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.
Actively Managed Funds: All mutual funds that are actively managed by a fund company in an effort to add value to shareholders returns fall into this category. In theory, an experienced portfolio manager can surpass the returns of an index fund by making well-timed and disciplined trades. The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of fund managers do NOT beat their index. But the good news is that the top 20% of these funds can and do on a regular basis. We will try to focus on this group of quality managers.
All the matters are the long term trends, and in the long run stable value funds barely keep up with inflation. Unless you are talking about a lifestyle fund, or a couple of very broad based index funds, you are probably not going to get the diversification you need from such a small number of funds. Generally speaking, if you are given the choice between two funds that cover the same asset class, you probably want to pick the one with the lower cost. Select funds that cover different asset classes.
Before you invest in a fund, look at the fees the company charges. You will notice these fees in the prospectus. If you are ambitious, you will be able to find the fee structure online. Always go with a fund that has a low expense ratio and stay away from 12b-fees. When buying mutual funds you will have various types of choose from. There are money market funds, municipal bond funds, corporate bond funds, mortgage-backed securities funds, U.S. Government bond funds, stock funds, and index funds.
Spreadsheets & Formulas I have known plenty of investors who have invested extensive time, money and research into choosing their mutual funds. They have devised their own systems, using complex formulas and spreadsheets to allow them to make the right choice about their mutual funds. Ultimately however, this begs the question: If you have to do all this research, why are you buying mutual funds in the first place? For the amount of time you are spending on your decisions, you could buy individual stocks and not pay a money manager a fee.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to buy loaded funds. These are funds that have sales charges attached to them. If you purchase these types of finds, you will be paying sales charges on top of other fees. Do not forget to overlook the mutual funds risk factor. If the fund looks to unstable over the years, or shows signs of it being too risky, do not get involved. And also check with the SEC to make sure the company is decent and has a good reputation.