Sarah Neudorf February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
As you can see, there are many reasons why market timing of mutual funds can be a difficult task. It is better to use an asset allocation model and adjust your allocations as needed. While most stock investors that trade or time the market usually lose money, most fund investors tend to make money over time. So select quality funds that meet your objectives, adjust your allocations and let the markets work to your advantage.
But you have to remember those special mutual fund factors: minimum holding requirements once you buy a fund; short-term penalty fees if you sell too soon, and a possible frozen account if you re-buy a recently sold fund or funds too soon within 12 months. In other words either you or your software must track or base your selling and buying decisions upon how long you have owned a fund with a re-buy restriction on recently sold funds so you do not get caught in the round-trip trap.
Check out the fund`s cost of ownership. While you can not predict a fund`s performance, you can control the ongoing expenses. Since expenses impact your ability to grow investments over time, select a fund with low costs. Check the expense ratio, sales fees, trading costs, and 12b-1 fees charged to cover the marketing, distribution and sales. Everything counts against your bottom line - keep it small as possible. When possible, choose funds with expenses less than their category average.
With over 6,000 mutual funds available, it may be tempting to pick funds from a popular star or index rating system. Savvy investors, however, balance multiple factors in their selection process. Ratings represent only the historical performance of funds and cannot predict the future. Performance consistency, management skill, and expense limitations are among the many factors that influence a funds prospects. Each must be carefully evaluated to improve your chances of finding a fund to outperform the market.
While both managed and index funds can yield nice long-term returns over time, I have found that if you can select the best managers in their field and allocate your assets to these top 20 percent of the fund world, you can get better returns from your fund investments. But if you are not sure whether your funds are in the top group, find out. and if they are not, you might be better off with an index fund.