How to Access Independent Mutual Fund Research

Mutual fund research is essential in order to ensure that your investment will yield significant amounts of profit. Mutual funds offer a significant number of advantages, namely high returns and professional management. Since over 8,000 mutual funds are easily available to the public, the trick is to choose the one that might prove to be the most lucrative. Investment professionals will easily tell you which funds to choose from, but using a few easily available tools, you can choose the fund you would like to invest in yourself.

Determine Money to Be Invested

Of course, one of the main factors to take into consideration is the amount of money to invest. Also, decide the period of time for which you would like your money to be invested, for instance, 5 or 10 years.

Evaluate Tolerance for Risk

Since investments often carry some amount of risk, it is necessary to figure out how tolerant you are of risk. High rates of return are directly related to high levels of risk. If you have an aversion to risk, such high yielding funds are clearly not a suitable investment for you.

Develop a Mutual Fund Check-List

Now before starting out your research, it would be useful to develop a mutual fund checklist. This will ensure that various characteristics of different funds are thoroughly considered. The checklist can be made on an Excel spreadsheet, as the research shall be done mostly on the Internet. The following headings will come in useful: "5-year return," '10-year return,' "manager experience," "minimum principal payment required," "load fee" and "expense ratio."

Choose Research Sources

Once the checklist is developed, figure out which websites or sources you would like to conduct your research through. A couple popular options used for this purpose are Morningstar and the "Wall Street Journal." These are both well-known financial institutions that specialize in mutual fund ratings. Other useful websites include Yahoo Finance, MSN money, Fidelity.com and Schwab.com. All of these have free mutual fund evaluation tools. It is essential to familiarize yourself with all these sites before beginning your research.

Fill out Checklist

After researching extensively, start filling out the checklist. It is essential to keep the following tips in mind. First, it is much more beneficial to take into account funds' 5- or 10-year returns rather than just the returns from the last 6 months because it is better to know how funds perform in the longer run. The experience of the manager in charge of the fund matters a great deal as well, with more experience naturally being a positive indicator. Another useful tip would be to choose a fund that does not have a loading fee. When considering expense ratios, choose a ratio lower than 2 percent. This ratio signifies the amount that you will be paying every year in order to hang onto the fund.

Consult Financial Adviser

It can also prove to be beneficial to consult a financial professional at some point. However, take care when following his or her advice, as he or she might point you towards a fund with a high expense ratio.

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