Heike Moeller February 23, 2020 Mutual Fund
Investing in stocks, mutual funds and exchange traded funds can be a great way to build wealth, but timing the markets can be detrimental to your bottom line and extremely hard to do. While there are many services out there that claim to accurately pick the highs and lows, the reality is that very few individual investors can accurately use market timing effectively.
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.
For instance Morningstar gives one to five stars as ratings. The score the company first gets on the risk of the fund is what the system is based on. The performance of the fund for the previous five years is then taken away from the original rating. The reliability of this system is not very good as the performance is based on past numbers and can not accurately predict the future earnings or losses on these funds.
If any of this scares you, rethink your investments. The asset allocation model where they show you a pie chart with so many stocks, so many bonds and maybe 3% cash is a failure. This was designed for institutions with 100% investible assets, not for individuals with lifestyle needs and expenses. You will never see any real estate in that pie chart, yet for most Americans, their home is worth more than their other investments
Ask you financial adviser to show you the fund ratings or do your own research if they will not. Otherwise find yourself a good Fee-Only financial adviser that gets paid to provide you with these top fund choices and help you invest in the "best of the best" no-load funds without any conflicts of interest.
Past performance can provide a good starting point, but nothing more. In fact, past performance predicts losers better than the winners. A 1998 study from fund-tracking firm Morningstar, demonstrated the top fund performers rarely hold their spot on the charts. The study also concludes bottom performers rarely did anything but continue to sink. Never assume the past will repeat itself, yet, ignore a fund`s historical record at your own peril. Avoid the perennial losers.