All Averages Are Not Created Equal
Turn to any listing of mutual fund returns, or even stocks, and you will likely see a “summary” of those results, referred to as the “average” return. For example, a listing of mutual funds in a particular category may show the average return for the fund in that category. A different listing may show a particular fund’s returns for each of the last five years, and an average annual return over that five-year period.
Many individuals assume those averages are all calculated in the same way. In fact, they are not.
The dictionary definition of an average is: A single value that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values. But there are a number of different ways to present a “summary” of values, depending on what you are seeking to measure.
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