Your Questions About Investing In Mutual Funds

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Charles asks…

Is there an online site where I can start investing in mutual funds, but do not need a minimum amount?

Example: Ameritrade requirs $2,000 to start.

financi4 answers:

Most brokerage firms will have basic requirements for opening an account. It is expensive for brokerage firms to open and maintain accounts,

If you know what funds you want to invest in, just contact the fund company and open an account.

Fund companies will be cheaper and do not have the large requirements of brokerage firms.

Becareful of Sharebuilder, it does not provide all the services of a regular broker/dealer nor do they provide all the products.
Cheaper is not always better.

Donald asks…

What are two great EFT and Mutual Fund investing books?

What is one great book about how to get started investing in ETFs? Mutual Funds?

financi4 answers:

The “Dummies” series of books are great for starters. There is one for mutual funds and one for ETFs.

James asks…

how do i start investing in mutual funds?

i am 22 and in college freshman have two children friends tell me that this is the best way to save and gain interest at high level i can afford to put away an average of 400 to 500 every month i already have a bank just tell me how do i start and what questions may be good to ask when talking to someone about mutual funds or tell me what other methods i can use to save money for family future (college,house,better car, ect.)

financi4 answers:

Hi. You should consider establishing three different accounts.
First, a short term “emergency” fund that you can access for (guess what?) emergencies. This is for true emergencies (lost job, illness, etc.) not foreseeable expenses like car maintenance, insurance, etc., which you should budget for separately. Most advisers recommend 3-6 month’s income saved in this first account. For now, most would recommend 25% of your available monthly should go to this account until you reach that 3-6 month saved amount, then roll this 25% of your monthly to the next category. This money should go to a short term type “investment” like a money market account; you can find several that pay about 5%.
Second, concurrently set up a longer term account to save for purchases you know you’ll be making in the 3-10 year time frame (car/grad school, vacations, etc.) You want to consider lower “risk” mutual funds for this account, since you will have a bit more time to allow for, but still benefit from, market fluctuations. You should be able to get 6-9% earnings in this type of investment. You should put 25% of your available funds into this account until you have it where you want it. Once that account is at the level you want it then excess money from this (and the pourover from first account) should all go to the longer term investment.
Third, you want to establish a long term, no touch account, for retirement. 50% of your funds go here, to be later supplemented from the pourovers of the first two accounts when they are properly funded. These investments should go to a good, diversified mutual fund that invests in “equity” (stock) in various companies. There’s a huge list of them, and sorting through them can be a real headache. The online services are good, but in my experience a bit cumbersome to use. I like to find Money or a similar magazine that has summarized the various funds, and review those results. You are looking for long term results of the fund, how long the fund managers have been in the game, and what the expenses are. You should be able to find something that will yield 12% or more over the long run. These funds should also be in a tax-advantaged account (Roth IRA is probably best. In essence you make your investments with after-tax money, but all the earnings thereafter grow tax free). You should NOT ask the bank for these recommendations; a bank is not the place for long term investments and they’ll always try to sell you their stuff first. (As an aside, NEVER invest money in an insurance policy. DON’T buy whole life, variable life, variable universal life. They are hugely expensive, and with surrender fees, etc., the investment returns are horrible. Plus, with few exceptions, you lose your savings if you die!!). Congratulations on doing so well at such a young age. FYI, $450/month from age 22 to age 65, invested at 12%, will be worth $7.6 million.

Chris asks…

Am I stupid to be investing in mutual funds?

I do have the money to invest and can afford to lose if I have to.
I have been investing in Vanguard Windsor 2 funds every two weeks since the market started declining. About $2000 a month.

I figure buy low. Is this a smart strategy?

Or am I being stupid?

financi4 answers:

You’re doing the right thing. A mutual fund is a long term investment. Count on having the money in it for at least ten years. The portfolio is going to change, so what they have in it now makes no difference. Its the fees and the long term return, because the mutual fund manager is likely to change too, that matters.

David asks…

What are the pros and cons of investing in mutual funds?

any help would be appreciated.

financi4 answers:

Pros
1. It is easier to diversity your Portfolio. It costs money every time you buy and sell an individual stock so by having a mutual fund you only have to purchase the single fund.
2. A professional decides the individual stocks that you invest in
3. A mutual fund normally invests in dozens of stocks so if one or two of the stocks do bad your losses will be minimized because the other funds may be able to cover some of those loses.

Cons.
1. There are normally load and other fees associated with mutual fund so some of the profits go back to the company offering the fund.
2. You do not have full control in the stocks that get invested in.
3. There are often redemption fees
4, If do not have as much control over the actual date/time your funds get traded at (ie stocks you can sell at a seconds notice, funds it may be a few days before the trade is finalized depending upon how the funds are being purchased and sold)

If you have the money, the time to diversify your own Portfolio and you know what you are doing you can potentially make a lot more money with stocks because you have more control over how your money is invested. If however you are not an skilled in trading, do not have a lot of money to diversify your Portfolio or the time to monitor your stocks funds may be a better option.

Steven asks…

Is it best to keep my 401K in a money market sweep at this time, or should I start investing in mutual funds ?

financi4 answers:

Don’;t do anything until we know who the next president will be.

If it is obama, most predict that the stock market(which is mutual funds) will tank if he is elected the very next day.

Edit- honeslty i think that mutual funds suck. You got hidden fees and such. There are thousands of them and often they don’t perform to the 20 % as they will tell you that they will do.

Robert asks…

What should I be concerned about right now by investing in mutual funds that primarily buy bonds?

financi4 answers:

Inflation. Bond yields are low (for a time of inflation &more likely) because bonds are a safe place during stock market stress. At some point, bondholders will not be satisfied with 4percent yields, with inflation at 9?percent. To get yield up to 9? Percent, bond prices will fall.
4 percent is about what 10yr. Treasuries are paying. There are higher yielding bonds, of course – with more risk. Same will happen to them, though – you’ll still get the yield you bought into, but new buyers will want higher yield. Yield up, price down – your bond holdings will lose value.
Buy bonds when inflation is fully priced into the yields – after the stock market loooks safe again

Thomas asks…

Is it good time to put money in mutual funds?

After playing in stock market for a month, I had fun doing it. Had some good and bad days. I realized that I do not wish to play in it any longer because I’d have to keep my eye on it each day which I did not find it very comforting. Now my question here is that with economy changes with Government spending cuts, how does that reflect on mutual funds investing in going forward?

financi4 answers:

Mutual funds are still an excellent choice for people who want to be in the stock market long term, and also diversified in a vehicle with low costs. It’s also ideal for those who don’t have all day to pour over financial and technical analysis all day. You can get far more diversification, especially those not investing huge amounts of money, than you can trying to pick individual stocks.

There are of course numerous selections with more conservative and more aggressive options; you could choose the Total Stock Market Index, or more specific funds like small or mid-cap, internationals like Emerging Markets, Europe or the Pacific, as well as industry specific like Energy, Health Care etc.

Of course where you invest is also extremely important.

Many places will hit you with high front end sales loads, ripoff 12b-1 fees and stiff expense ratios. That could rob you of potentially tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over your working career. If you want to see a demonstration of this, look at https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/investingtruths/investing-truth-about-cost and compare.
Some of the best are Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Schwab. Avoid the big banks no matter what, and let some other sucker pay their high loads and fees.

Do some research, like read some good books like Mutual Funds for Dummies.

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