Sophie Moench February 27, 2020 Mutual Fund
With over 6,000 mutual funds available, it may be tempting to pick funds from a popular star or index rating system. Savvy investors, however, balance multiple factors in their selection process. Ratings represent only the historical performance of funds and cannot predict the future. Performance consistency, management skill, and expense limitations are among the many factors that influence a funds prospects. Each must be carefully evaluated to improve your chances of finding a fund to outperform the market.
Many investors try to play the game of picking individual stocks rather than picking solid mutual funds and then often wonder why they experience both difficulty and stress making money in the stock market. I tell investors that they should not be afraid to own individual stocks if they are willing to take the time to learn enough about the individual company or stock to make a rational businessman`s decision. And do not forget about valuation.
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.
While it does not help the employee`s current tax situation, funds that were contributed on an after-tax basis may be easier to withdraw since they are not subject to the strict IRS rules which apply to pre-tax contributions. It does not include any matching funds that the employer might graciously throw in. Because every penny taken in the form of expenses is at least a nickel you will not have in retirement, you want low-cost funds. If these conditions are met, the funds can be withdrawn and used for one of the following five purposes.
Index Funds Of course for many of us, our primary investment vehicles are index funds. These are funds which are designed to match the performance of a major stock index. This takes the decision making away from a money manager. It also makes deciding on a fund very easy. If I want to match the market, I simply buy the index I want to match and move on with my life. In many ways this is a win-win.
The main advantage of active management is that quality managers use their experience, analytical skills and economic research to help find undervalued investments that are ready to out perform the market. They can focus their buying on the areas that they find most attractive and sell or avoid those that are under-performing. An active manager can take advantage of market dips to buy or sell as necessary which can add value to your investment.