Sophie Moench February 13, 2020 Mutual Fund
Seek consistency Evaluate a mutual fund`s performance beyond just the recent year. Any fund can get lucky, but it`s the rare firm that prove themselves year after year. Examining a fund`s long term performance can answer the question of consistency. If the performance was good, was it repeatable due to skill - or merely a spike due to dumb luck?
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.
There are also chart services, like StockCharts or BigCharts. Do not have the ticket symbol? There is no need to worry. You can still search the name of your fund at the above sites. Once you have found it, you will want to look for a company that has your desired fund.
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?
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.
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.
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