Sarah Neudorf February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
Keep It Simple In the final analysis, the most important thing you need to analyze when it comes to picking mutual funds is your needs. Look at your overall investment objectives and then make your investments accordingly. This will typically mean deciding what risk levels your comfortable with and then executing. Given historical results, for most of us that may very well mean buying index funds and dealing with matching the markets. No one has drawn up a superior playbook and 11% is not so bad anyway.
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.
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.
One way around the round-trip trap is instead of buying the same fund back (because now that energy fund is going up again) is to buy a similar fund from a different mutual fund family; in other words switch from ABC fund company to XYZ, as an example.
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.
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.