fb-stayontopofyourportfolioNearly 100 million Americans, almost a third of the U.S. population, own mutual funds. Funds allow investors to have their money managed by some of the best money managers and research teams in the world, and they give investors the ability to participate in nearly any market sector or geographic region.

But creating and managing a portfolio of funds can be challenging at times. With thousands of funds available, investors have to decide what funds to buy and also when to sell them. They have to consider potential trading fees and tax consequences, and they may need to adapt their approach depending on the size of their accounts.

Here at FundX, we’ve been managing fund portfolios since 1969, and over the years, we’ve found that there are a few key ways that investors can better manage their fund portfolios, such as:

1. Plan to Take Action

Many investors tell us that even when they know what to do, they have trouble taking action. They know what funds they want to own, but they’ll spend months, or even years, waiting for the ‘right’ time to buy in. Or they have funds that they want to sell, but they continue holding the funds because selling them would feel like they’d made a mistake.

We’ve found that investors are more likely to take action if they have a clear plan in place. Write down how you plan to get invested or change your fund portfolios, and then calendar out when you’ll make these changes. By deciding in advance what action you need to take and writing it out so you can refer to it later, you may be more likely to follow through, even as markets change.

2. Manage the Impact of Trading Costs

Trading funds often comes at a cost. Most investors trade funds at a broker, and brokers tend to have some funds that are available without a transaction fee (these are called ‘NTF funds’), while other funds come with a transaction fee (‘fee funds’).

Transaction fees can be substantial, particularly for investors who are managing smaller accounts. Consider that if you invested $500,000 in a fund with a transaction fee of $75, the transaction fee would be a tiny fraction of your overall investment. But if you invested just $7,000 in a fund with a $75 transaction fee, you’d have paid over 1% before the fund made a dime for you.

Some funds charge investors a redemption fee if investors sell their shares within a certain period of time (often 90 or 180 days) and brokers often have their own short-term trading policy. These can also eat into returns.

Before you place a trade, check to see if a fund has a transaction fee, and make sure you know how long you’ll need to hold the fund to avoid redemption fees, too.

3. Be Alert to Tax Consequences

Continue reading “4 Effective Portfolio Management Tips” »

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fb-retirementmistakesAre you making the most of your retirement account, or are you making common and easily preventable mistakes that can really hurt your ability to fund a comfortable life in retirement?

Find out in FundX President Janet Brown’s Forbes piece, Two Common Retirement Investing Mistakes. Janet shares two common missteps and the simple ways you can avoid making these mistakes.

Click here to read Janet’s Forbes post: Two Common Retirement Mistakes.

Here’s an excerpt:

Mistake #1:  Forgetting to contribute to your IRA

“Nearly all working people need to make regular contributions to a retirement account in order to accumulate enough money to live on in retirement. But many people don’t contribute to IRAs,” Janet wrote.

How to Stay on Track

Janet shared a simple four-step process that can help you make consistent contributions to your retirement account: Continue reading “Two Common Retirement Investing Mistakes” »

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Secrets of a Long-Term Investing Strategy

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March 2016 Fund & ETF Changes

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Morningstar Finds ‘Persistence of Performance’ in Mutual Funds

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Morningstar’s January 2016 study, “Performance Persistence Among U.S. Mutual Funds”, examined funds in 11 different Morningstar categories over 20 years and concluded: “Funds that have outperformed over the past year often continue to do so over the next year.” While Morningstar awards stars to funds based on a fund’s performance over the past three, five […]

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In Uncertain Markets, Focus on What You Know

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In volatile markets, we tend to focus on what we don’t know: will the sell-off get worse or have we reached a bottom? Is this a routine correction or the start of a bear market? So it helps to remind ourselves what we do know. Here are four certainties to keep in mind in uncertain […]

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Are Your Biases Taking a Bite out of Your Returns?

February 10, 2016

“I’m waiting for my funds to get back to the price I initially paid for them,” an investor said. But if we only hold funds until they reach the price we first paid for them, we won’t make any money on these funds. And we could miss out on better-performing investment opportunities.   Getting attached […]

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