The Individual Investor's Guide to The Top Mutual Funds 2012
Mutual fund assets totaled more than $11.6 trillion on November 30, 2011, according to the Investment Company Institute. This is a slight decrease from December 2010, when assets totaled $11.8 trillion.
The total amount of assets shows the important role mutual funds continue to play in portfolios. Mutual fund assets exceeded exchange-traded fund (ETF) assets last year by a margin of 10 to one. A key reason for the continued popularity of mutual funds is that they give individual investors low-cost access to professional money managers. Mutual funds provide instant exposure to a wide variety of assets and investment strategies, including growth, value and income.
In this article
- How to Use This Guide
- Which Funds Were Included
- A Key to Terms and Statistics
- Performance Tables
- More on Mutual Funds
- Category & Style Definitions
- Mutual Fund Contact Information
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Mutual funds also remain a top choice for investors who want to mimic the performance of an index, a strategy known as passive investing. Though most ETFs follow passive strategies, Vanguard’s Total Stock Index (VTSMX) continues to be the largest index fund, exceeding even the popular SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) in size.
Both mutual funds and ETFs can have a role in your portfolio. The choice depends on what investment vehicle best serves your needs. The key to deciding is to first determine the type of assets you want to own (large-cap stocks, small-cap stocks, corporate bonds, etc.). After this decision is made, you can then seek out the best way to get exposure to those assets. In many cases, a mutual fund is the best investment option.
This 31st edition of our Guide to the Top Mutual Funds will help you sort though the large number of mutual funds and find the right one for your portfolio needs. More than 730 no-load and low-load funds are covered on the following pages. On AAII.com, you will find expanded information on more than 1,520 funds. (Visit www.aaii.com/guides/mfguide to see the online data.) Each mutual fund is classified into a useful category of similar funds to make comparisons of alternatives more efficient and effective.
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