Brigitte Werfel February 27, 2020 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.
Index Funds: Any fund that is made up of a static portfolio structured to mirror the investments of a proposed market index is classified as an index fund. There are small cap indices, bond indices, international indices, specialty indices and many others. The most widely used is the S&P 500 index where the fund uses the same 500 stocks that are included in the Standard and Poors 500. These portfolios are only changed when and if the index changes its holdings which allows for a very tax efficient, low turnover investment.
Mutual funds also cost less. You do not have to spend a lot of money to purchase them like you may have to with a single stock purchase. Plus, you can invest small amounts at any time with no trading costs. If you have decided to invest in a mutual fund, there is one problem. There are well over 10,000 funds available so which one to go with. Before you actually invest in a mutual fund get a prospectus from the company. The prospectus will tell you about the fund including the funds goals and how the goals will be achieved, along with a chart of past performance and fees.
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.
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.
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.