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.
When you are setting up an account over the internet with your online broker, you must first meet three important requirements. Your computer must be able to connect to the internet, your web browser must be at least 128-bit compatible such as Netscape 3.0 or Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, and you must have at least a small amount of money if not more to start. Some online brokers require that you have as much as $1,000 or the equivalent in securities to open an account.
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.
READ CLOSELY: How do all these fund costs affect you? Well, with the expense ratio which averages 1.6% per year, sales charges 0.5%, turnover generated portfolio transactions costs 0.7%, and opportunity costs - when funds hold cash rather than remain fully invested in stocks - 0.3%. The average mutual fund investor loses 3.1% of their investment returns to these costs each and every year. While this might not seem like much on the surface, costs would consume 31% of a 10% market return. Add in the 1.5% capital gains tax bill that the average fund investor pays each year, and that figure shoots up to 46%, nearly half of a potential 10% return. Do you feel like you are taking one or two steps back while trying to go forward yet?
Most fund ratings are determined by the past performance of the company making the mutual funds available. The mutual funds performance is commonly tracked for a period of five to ten years in order to have a developed pattern emerge as to the performance. Being as the past is sometimes an indication of what the future holds it stands to reason that it should indicate future performance. This is not entirely the case as it is known that unless you can see into the future you will not know what the future holds with certainty.
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.