Sophie Moench February 24, 2020 Mutual Fund
Investing in stocks, mutual funds and exchange traded funds can be a great way to build wealth, but timing the markets can be detrimental to your bottom line and extremely hard to do. While there are many services out there that claim to accurately pick the highs and lows, the reality is that very few individual investors can accurately use market timing effectively.
Along with the increased buying and selling activities of an active manager comes a higher expense charge for those trading and management costs. Most actively managed funds have a 50 to 100% higher operating expense ratio than the average index fund. If you are not getting better returns, this can cost plenty over time. Also if your quality manager leaves the fund, you may need to find a better alternative.
The trading strategy for each group will be different. One group may only require a "minimum hold" of 30 days while another may require 90 days. A `dividend` group may result in very infrequent trades while a `sector` group may trade more frequently because of changes in the economy and offer opportunities for large gains, large profits. You may, as I have, have two or even three different strategies for the same group of funds, one based on more frequent trading then the other.
Index funds provide a static and very transparent investment portfolio. They also offer very low turnover of securities due to less buying and selling. This allows them to keep operating expenses at a minimum and usually substantially lower than their managed counterparts. The fact that they represent the entire stock or bond holdings of the index provides great diversification, which can also be a disadvantage.
There are, in effect, FIVE separate bills that mutual funds charge. The best way to determine if something is effective for you or not is to dollarize the benefit or the burden. When you invest in the typical mutual fund (assuming outside of a qualified retirement plan), you face the following costs that erode your benefit and you probably were never aware of them, you will not find them in your prospectus and your broker is not going to sit down and tell you about them.
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.
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