Brigitte Werfel January 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
Mutual Fund returns are meeting the reasonable expectations of investors. In the greatest of bull markets, funds of all sizes seriously under performed the stock market. The inability of 85% of all fund managers even to match the performance of the market overall is the result of high fees (see above) short-term investment horizons and substantial transactions and tax costs.
Picking mutual funds is a challenging task. You will need to spend time learning, researching, investigating, analyzing, and comparing. The key is to develop your own methodology using some of the components listed here along with your own judgment and decision capabilities. Review your investment plan and fund selection criteria at least once a year. Make sure the plan still matches your goals and the funds match your expectations.
Watch for a solid record of returns, rather than funds showing spurts of great years followed by fits of lousy ones. Compare the funds returns to a relevant benchmark index, (large-cap vs. S&P 500, small-cap to the Russell Index, etc.) Solid funds should not only consistently beat the benchmarks, they should also beat their peers.
But you have to remember those special mutual fund factors: minimum holding requirements once you buy a fund; short-term penalty fees if you sell too soon, and a possible frozen account if you re-buy a recently sold fund or funds too soon within 12 months. In other words either you or your software must track or base your selling and buying decisions upon how long you have owned a fund with a re-buy restriction on recently sold funds so you do not get caught in the round-trip trap.
Because these funds are not actively managed, you cannot weed out under-performing securities from the overall index. This can and does have a detrimental effect on your returns. If market conditions warrant action, index funds usually will not be altered unless it happens to coincide with their regular re-balancing schedule.
Create a plan Define your financial goals. Are you saving for retirement? Putting money aside for a home? Funding a child`s college education? Your answer will have significant implications on your choice of mutual funds. More time gives you flexibility to use an aggressive approach. Immediate needs call for safety and capital preservation. Take careful consideration of your tolerance for risk. If the market dips, at what point would you lose sleep? Is it a 5% drop? 10% drop? An asset allocation plan will balance your portfolio and maximize return for your level of acceptable risk.
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