Birgit Kuester February 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
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.
Taxes are often overlooked and can substantially reduce your after-tax gain unless investing within a tax-deferred, retirement account. Avoid funds with large distributions (capital gain payments) by searching for funds with low turnover. Since buying and selling stock incurs transaction costs, lower turnover translates to lower expenses and lower capital gains taxes. Fund managers who seek to boost returns through repeatedly buying and selling securities are no friend of yours.
Stay Out of the Money Market Fund or Stable Value Funds - such funds are great if you are building an emergency cash reserve or saving for your summer vacation, but if your investment time horizon is long, putting your money in such vehicles is a poor decision. When the price is below the average you use, be in the Money Market, or stable value option that does not lose money! Move your investments to the stable option as soon as the indexes and funds move below the average you use.
The obvious advantage of mutual funds is that they allow you to pool your money with other investors and leave the decision making to someone else. You do not have to spend your days conducting in-depth analysis of stocks and other investments. You simply invest in a mutual fund and let the manager make the decision for you. That is the theory, but of course we all know we are going to have to do some research before we invest in a mutual fund. How much mutual fund analysis is appropriate before making an investment?
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.
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.