Sophie Moench January 19, 2020 Mutual Fund
In his book "The Trouble With Mutual Funds," Richard Rutner shares that "No one denies that the average mutual fund returns 2% less per year than the stock market returns in general. Yet the mutual fund industry spends billions of shareholder dollars to promote its money managers as experts who can manage investor`s dollars with skill. The vast majority of mutual funds (94% according to a recent five-year survey by Lipper Analytical Services) have underperformed the stock market as a whole."
The five costs of mutual fund investing are: 1. Tax Costs - excessive capital gains from active trading. 2. Transaction Costs - the cost of trades themselves. 3. Opportunity Costs - dollars taken out of portfolios for a fund`s safekeeping. 4. Sales Charges - both seen and hidden. 5. Expense Ration ("management fees") - no end to increases in site.
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.
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?
Always review the experience and performance of the fund`s managers. When you buy a mutual fund, you are actually investing in the experience, skill, and savvy that the manager brings to the table. When the manager leaves, the fund performance generally goes with him. How many years has the manager been leading the fund? The longer (if generating strong results), the better. And keep an eye out for the gurus. The industry`s better managers are well-respected, high-regarded, and often quoted in the press. You will find multiple articles and even manager profiles published in the popular financial magazines and newspapers.
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.
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