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Mutual Funds Articles

Selecting Active Equity Mutual Funds: Don’t Get Caught in the Middle

November 2014 by Thomas Howard
Mutual funds with market-beating performance tend to be highly active, hold relatively fewer stocks and are of smaller size. Read more »

Common Investor Mistakes and Other Investing Insights

July 2014 by Charles Rotblut
In the second part of our interview with John Bogle, he discusses how investors commonly put too much emphasis on past performance. Plus, he offers his views on high-frequency trading. Read more »

Achieving Greater Long-Term Wealth Through Index Funds

June 2014 by Charles Rotblut
Index investors, in aggregate, are likely to realize higher returns because of lower costs and the effect of reversion to the mean on active strategies. Read more »

Qualitative Guidelines for Mutual Fund Selection

June 2014 by John Deysher
Looking at the type and frequency of communications, portfolio holdings, manager stability and expense ratio caps can help with the fund selection process. Read more »

The Mutual Fund Cash Dilemma

May 2014 by John Deysher
While most mutual fund managers are required to stay invested, some have the flexibility to raise their cash allocations, raising an allocation dilemma for shareholders. Read more »

The Top Mutual Funds Over Five Years: Credit the Bull and the Calendar

March 2014 by Charles Rotblut
Domestic stock and sector funds lead the top performers as a bull market and a calendar shift boosted their five-year returns. Read more »

Money Funds and the Regulators

June 2013 by Mike Krasner
Following the 2008 financial crisis, there has been debate about how much regulatory change is needed, including whether floating net asset values should be required. Read more »

The Top Mutual Funds Over Five Years: The Bear’s Claw Marks Remain

March 2013 by Charles Rotblut
The losses of the last bear market were so severe, they continue to impact the five-year annualized rates of returns for stock funds. Read more »

Target Date Funds: A Simple Premise, but Underlying Complexities

October 2012 by Charles Rotblut
Target date funds offer a single, diversified portfolio that grows more conservative over time, but the simplicity of their pitch masks underlying complexities. Read more »

The Top Funds Over Five Years: Bond Funds Take the Lead

March 2012 by Charles Rotblut
Out of the 10 top-ranking mutual fund categories, nine are in the bond arena, thanks to falling interest rates and weak five-year returns for stocks. Read more »

The Truth About Top-Performing Mutual Fund Managers

July 2011 by Aaron S. Reynolds
Top-performing mutual fund managers will likely underperform their benchmarks at some point, but investors are usually rewarded for sticking with them. Read more »

The Top Funds Over Five Years: Gold, Emerging Markets & Diversification Lead

March 2011 by Charles Rotblut
Gold and emerging market stock funds continued to deliver the best returns, though many bond categories also ranked high. Read more »

The Top Funds Over Five Years: Finding Common Themes in a Volatile Market

March 2010 by Charles Rotblut
Our annual review of the mutual funds with the highest performance over the past five years shows that diversification worked. See which funds led their categories and which five funds delivered the highest returns overall. Read more »

The Individual Investor's Guide to The Top Mutual Funds 2010

Our annual mutual fund guide provides information and performance statistics on more than 700 funds. Read more »

The Dividend Yield: Stock Mutual Funds and ETFs That Generate Income

November 2008 by John Markese
Looking for an investment that has the potential to produce a growing income stream and long-term capital appreciation along with reasonable risk? A closer look at stock mutual funds and ETFs with relatively high dividend yields. Read more »

Rolling the Currency Dice: Investing in International Bond Funds

June 2008 by John Markese
The search for yield and the weak U.S. dollar have prompted investors to consider investing in foreign bond mutual funds. However, these funds have unique risks that are magnified by the ebb and flow of the currency markets. A careful look is in order before you let your money travel overseas. Read more »

Peerless Performers: The Top Funds Over 5 Years

April 2008 by John Markese
To be rated tops, a mutual fund must beat a benchmark, and the crucial benchmark is peer group performance over five years. Who are the current top performers, and how did they outperform their peers? A look at the top funds and how they managed to distinguish themselves. Read more »

Face Off: Mutual Funds vs. ETFs

June 2007 by John Markese
Exchange-traded funds are America's "financial idol." But what do ETFs have that index mutual funds don't--and vice versa? A side-by-side comparison reveals little difference. Read more »

"Enhanced" Index Funds: Can They Beat the Market?

May 2007 by John C. Bogle
A skeptical look at the new breed of "indexers" who focus on weighting portfolios by fundamental factors, such as dividends and cash flows, rather than market capitalizations. Read more »

Mutual Fund Marathon: The Top Funds Over Five Years: 2002-2006

April 2007 by John Markese
Mutual funds are judged by their track records, and for long-term investors it is the five-year marathon that is key. Who were the top performers, and what allowed them to survive the marathon run and come out on top? A look at the winners--and how they did it. Read more »

Developing a Withdrawal Strategy for Your Fund Portfolio

November 2006 by John Markese
Mutual funds hold one advantage for retirees living off of their retirement savings - their structure makes the withdrawal process easier. However, mutual funds do not eliminate all the challenges or automatically answer all portfolio questions. How to develop a withdrawal strategy for a typical mutual fund portfolio. Read more »

Web Sites for Exchange-Traded Funds

Where to find up-to-date market and trading information on ETFs. Read more »

The Top Funds Over Five Years: 2001-2005 Survival of the Fittest

April 2006 by John Markese
The last five years provided the ultimate financial stress test for mutual funds and investors. Some funds flunked, and a few proved to be in top shape. What made these top performers so fit? A look at who survived--and how they did it. Read more »

Capitalizing on the Index Fund Advantage

November 2005 by John Markese
Stock index funds offer rock-bottom expense ratios, tax efficiency, diversification and simplicity. But how do you sort through the myriad stock index funds and the numerous stock indexes they follow? An investor’s guide to indexes and index funds. Read more »

The Individual Investor's Guide to Exchange-Traded Funds

October 2005 by Jean Henrich
Our annual guide to over 180 exchange-traded funds--portfolio baskets of securities that look like mutual funds but trade like stocks. Includes a complete listing of all existing stock and fixed-income exchange-traded funds, plus articles on what you need to know about investing in them. Read more »

The Individual Investor's Guide to Exchange-Traded Funds 2005

October 2005 by Maria Crawford Scott
Our annual guide to over 180 exchange-traded funds--portfolio baskets of securities that look like mutual funds but trade like stocks. Includes a complete listing of all existing stock and fixed-income exchange-traded funds, plus articles on what you need to know about investing in them. Read more »

The EZ Approach to ETF Portfolio Building

Despite the dizzying array of complicated investment products to choose among, there is a simple way to build a low-cost, low-maintenance, fully diversified portfolio. And all you need are a few key exchange-traded funds. A look at the low-hassle ETF portfolio. Read more »

Does Your Portfolio Need an Addition? Think Real Estate Funds

June 2005 by John Markese
Real estate funds have had quite a run over the last five years, and the bull market may or may not be over. But these funds hold charm for investors beyond just the potential for high raw returns. Read more »

The Top Funds Over Five Years: What Made Them Different?

April 2005 by John Markese
Mutual Funds: The last five years have provided a rigorous test track for mutual funds. A look at who made it to the top—and how they got there. Read more »

Tailoring Your Allocation to the Stage You're In With Life Cycle Funds

Life cycle mutual funds are designed to make the asset allocation decision easy - one fund for one individual based on their stage in life. But nothing is ever easy. What do you need to know about life cycle mutual funds? A look at what 401(k) investors need to know. Read more »

Allocation Over Time: Life Cycle Mutual Funds

November 2004 by John Markese
Mutual Funds: Life cycle mutual funds are designed to make investing easier by providing an all-in-one lifetime asset allocation package. But the selection process is more complex than it sounds. A comparison of the packages. Read more »

The Individual Investor's Guide to Exchange-Traded Funds, 2nd Edition

October 2004 by Maria Crawford Scott
Mutual Funds: Our annual guide to the hot new competitors to index mutual funds includes a complete listing of over 150 stock and fixed-income exchange-traded funds, plus articles on what you need to know to about investing in them. Read more »

Gimme (Tax) Shelter: Protecting Your Income Using Municipal Bond Funds

June 2004 by John Markese
Mutual Funds: Municipal bond funds provide an easy way for many investors to keep their tax bills to a minimum. How to decide if they are the right choice for you. Read more »

The Emerging Markets Re-Emerge: Funds Get Hot Again

April 2004 by John Markese
Emerging markets stock and bond funds are re-emerging to reclaim their status as true growth investments. But they are still relatively exotic, and appropriate only for investors with longer horizons and an understanding of the risks. Read more »

Scandal! What Should You Do With Your Funds?

January 2004 by Harold Evensky
What should individual investors do in the face of news stories concerning legal and moral failures within the mutual fund industry? Steps you should take with your mutual funds. Read more »

Searching for Dividend Yield From Your Stock Mutual Funds

November 2003 by John Markese
Searching for more yield? One place to look is among stock funds with high dividend yields. Not only do dividend-paying stock funds have a growth component, qualified dividends receive advantageous tax rates under the new laws. Read more »

What You Need to Know About Fixed-Income Exchange-Traded Funds

A look at the four newcomers to the exchange-traded fund universe--what bond indexes they track and how they work. Read more »

The Individual Investor's Guide to Exchange-Traded Funds

October 2003 by Maria Crawford Scott
Our comprehensive listing covers 130 exchange-traded funds that track almost every index imaginable. They range from the broad-based to single sectors, REITs, domestic and international, and even fixed income. Read more »

Top Funds Over Five Years: Analyzing How They Got There

July 2003 by John Markese
Lists of top-performing funds can be dangerous to investors--the temptation to invest in the top funds without understanding how they got there is great. Read more »

Taking the Load Off of "Must Have" Fully Loaded Funds

If you are investing larger amounts of money, many mutual funds that are sold with sales charges offer discounts. The size of the discount varies, depending upon the amount of the investment and the breakpoint schedule of the fund. Read more »

Micro-Cap Mutual Funds: Searching for the Future Giants

April 2003 by John Markese
Micro-cap stocks are not as well covered as larger-cap stocks, and as a result a fund manager has a greater chance of adding significant value. They also do not track the overall market perfectly, adding to portfolio diversification. Read more »

New Horizons: Introducing Exchange-Traded Bond Funds

January 2003 by Albert J. Fredman
Bond ETFs offer benefits similar to those of stock ETFs, such as low cost, diversification, the ability to trade shares throughout the day, and the ability to short a portfolio. Read more »

Your Mutual Fund Portfolio: Choosing the Level of Complexity

November 2002 by John Markese
Using the three-tiered mutual fund portfolio guideline, you can create any mutual fund portfolio you want that comfortably matches your investor profile in terms of complexity, yet still remain properly diversified. Read more »

One-Stop Mutual Fund Shopping: A Guide to the Discount Brokers

October 2002 by John Markese
Switching funds within a family is relatively easy, but switching among fund families has significant costs in time and paperwork. With mutual fund supermarkets, one phone call will do it. Read more »

Diversification: How to Get Broad Exposure Overseas

August 2002 by Albert J. Fredman
Overseas markets have become better places to invest as foreign economies move toward a U.S.-style model. In addition, the recently expanded coverage provided by the MSCI EAFE index is good news for foreign index fund investors. Read more »

What You Need to Know About Investing in Bond Mutual Funds

July 2002 by Annette Thau
While bond funds share a number of characteristics with individual bonds, they should not be viewed as interchangeable investments. Indeed, bond funds differ from individual bonds in some important respects. Read more »

Fund Expenses: Class Matters When Buying Multi-Class Fund Shares

June 2002 by John Markese
Share classes are for the same fund but involve different fee structures. The best class for you will vary depending on several factors, but the costs of choosing the wrong class can be considerable. Read more »

Fund Expenses: Class Matters When Buying Multi-Class Shares

Share classes are for the same fund but involve different fee structures. The best class for you will vary depending on several factors, but the costs of choosing the wrong class can be considerable. Read more »

Fund Investors' Biggest Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them

Fund investors are not immune to mistakes, and fund managers can compound mistakes made by fund owners. One of the biggest mistakes is overconfidence, and the stock market is highly effective at deflating overblown egos. Read more »

How to Rate a Mutual Fund: Personalizing the Star System

April 2002 by John Markese
The funds that made it into AAII's Top Funds Guide are of investor interest and are readily available, with low expenses and no or low loads, above-average returns, and they have not "bought" their returns with mountainous risk. Read more »

What You Need to Know About Mutual Funds and Taxes

February 2002 by T. Rowe Price Investment Services
Mutual fund tax report statements are sent to shareholders in late January. They are important because you need to add distributions to your original cost basis when figuring gains or losses on shares sold. Read more »

Financial Check-Up: Figuring Out Your Mutual Fund Portfolio

A simple worksheet for your mutual fund portfolio allows you to see what it may generate over time in terms of income, return, and risk. It also allows you to see the trade-offs that can occur with different allocations. Read more »

The Sell Decision With Mutual Funds: Knowing When to Walk Away

There are good reasons for selling a mutual fund, and times when should you stay put. Read more »

Beyond the Numbers: Getting to Know a Manager

At some point you have to look beyond the performance statistics to see who made them happen, so you can form some kind of judgment about future performance. Read more »

How Many Mutual Funds Should You Have in Your Investment Portfolio?

How many funds do you need in your investment portfolio? Read more »