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BUSINESS
By Thomas Watterson and Thomas Watterson,Boston Globe | August 4, 1991
Most people think the skill of the portfolio manager is the only thing that determines how a mutual fund performs. If the manager does a good job buying and selling stocks or bonds, investors figure, that's all that matters. In fact, this is what's reflected in the performance reports that come out on funds every three months.But the investor's profit never exactly matches the gains made by the portfolio manager. The investor's figure is reduced by the "expense ratio," which funds shell out for management fees, day-to-day operating costs, such as legal and accounting fees, shareholder servicing expenses and overhead.
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BUSINESS
By EILEEN AMBROSE | November 25, 2008
Brace yourself: Your mutual fund fees will likely rise next year. Management fees are often tied to the amount of assets in a fund. The more money in the fund, the lower the fees. But with the plunge in stock prices and investors pulling cash out of funds, assets have been falling. It's easy these days to forget about fees when your fund might have lost 40 percent or more in the past year. But fees matter over the long run, and you can end up with a lot less money even if you're paying what seems to be only slightly more for a fund.
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BUSINESS
By Gregg Wolper and Gregg Wolper,MORNINGSTAR.COM | January 27, 2002
In the coming months, many of you will be receiving your funds' 2001 annual reports. That would be an excellent time to check to see if your funds care as much about costs as you do. You already know the importance of considering expenses when choosing mutual funds. What you may not know is that there are ways to go beyond simply comparing one fund's expense ratio against those of its peers. One often-overlooked point, for example, is whether a particular fund's expense ratio is behaving as it should in relation to the growth or contraction of the fund's asset base.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Leckey and Andrew Leckey,TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES | May 11, 2008
High investment costs remain out of mind when overall returns are strong. Why sweat decimal points when basking in 20 percent gains? But when returns turn meager or slide downward, hefty expenses become visible and painful. Although investors can find low-cost mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and bank accounts these days, it requires research and willingness to read fine print. "Keeping investment expenses low was important a decade ago, but now is critical," said Harold Evensky, certified financial planner with Evensky & Katz in Coral Gables, Fla. "You can't control markets, but you have some control over expenses, and that is important in a low-return environment."
BUSINESS
By ANDREW LECKEY and ANDREW LECKEY,Tribune Media Services Inc | November 23, 1994
They just keep rolling along, whether Republicans or Democrats hold majority power, whether interest rates are low or high, whether the stock market is weak or strong.The expenses associated with a mutual fund remain constant, ** even though the fund's returns fluctuate from year to year. No one notices underlying costs much when markets are booming. Their bite becomes obvious during a difficult and uncertain period such as 1994 when returns are under pressure.Investors obsessed with total returns often overlook the fact that expenses vary widely among funds.
BUSINESS
By Russel Kinnel and Russel Kinnel,MORNINGSTAR.COM | March 16, 2003
Two weeks ago I looked at the top performers of the past 10 years, so now it's time to look at the bottom 10: Frontier Equity. Thanks to huge expenses and crummy stock selection, this fund has lost an annualized 26.08 percent over the past 10 years. The fund has the highest expense ratio in our database at an obscene 32.0 percent. If that expense ratio is held constant and the underlying portfolio is unchanged, the fund's net asset value (the market value of one share) would fall below a penny in 10 years and would slip below half a penny in 12 years.
BUSINESS
By CHARLES JAFFE | October 9, 2005
Maureen R. in Holland, Pa., thought she was doing the right thing when she established brokerage accounts for her four children and put the money into the Class C shares of a mutual fund. Now she's not so sure. Maureen met with a different financial adviser, who suggested that the accounts for the children - ages 6 to 13 - should be in Class A shares, and that the first adviser had made a mistake. Two advisers with two opinions create one confused customer. Funds come in different classes so that investors have choices in how they compensate their financial advisers.
BUSINESS
By William Samuel Rocco and William Samuel Rocco,MORNINGSTAR.COM | June 22, 2003
Foreign funds that focus on fast-growing, smaller companies make terrific diversifiers for many portfolios, particularly those that have large-value or large-blend offerings as their core international holdings. What's more, the upside potential of these funds, which gained 100 percent on average in 1999's rally, is clear once again. Growth-oriented smaller-cap foreign funds have zoomed in this spring's global stock-market surge and are up about 17 percent for the year through June 5, which is 7 percentage points better than the category average.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Leckey and Andrew Leckey,Tribune Media Services | January 21, 2007
Big-name mutual funds often attract lots of attention, but some fine performing, lesser-known funds also are worthy of investors' consideration. These funds don't have heavily advertised marquee names, are relatively small and haven't been around forever. But those are among their virtues. The people running them have had success. We're not saying you'll be getting in on the ground floor of the next Fidelity Magellan, but they are worth a look. All are "no-load," meaning they require no initial sales charge.
BUSINESS
By Russel Kinnel and Russel Kinnel,MORNINGSTAR.COM | November 25, 2001
A good municipal bond fund might be a worthy addition to your portfolio. But to many investors, munis are a mystery. Instead of valuations, you've got credit ratings. Instead of brand names like Coca-Cola or General Motors, you get sewer bonds from small towns. It's a different world, but it's not too tough if you focus on a few key points. Here's a quick rundown: 1. Stick to high quality. I've written previously about how attractive junk bonds are. However, I wouldn't go into low-quality munis - especially if those were the only muni funds I planned on holding.
BUSINESS
By CHARLES JAFFE | December 25, 2007
One thing fund investors know for sure about 2008: We won't have the Ameritor Investment fund to kick around any more. Inarguably the worst mutual fund in history, it's one of hundreds of funds that were snuffed out of existence in 2007. Mutual funds aren't human, so their death - whether by liquidation or merger - does not diminish us the way the passing of a friend or loved one does. While there is no mourning period, it would be wrong to ignore for whom the bell tolled, if only because some funds leave behind a legacy of lessons for fund investors.
BUSINESS
By Charles Jaffe and Charles Jaffe,Marketwatch | July 3, 2007
At their core, most financial scandals have been about someone failing to follow the rules. And whether it's insider trading, improper perks or mutual fund managers putting their own interest ahead of the shareholder, the public outrage typically has more to do with the rules being broken than it does the dollar amounts involved. But some consumers and investors are outraged by behavior they see that is perfectly legal - witness frustration over bank holding periods on a cashed check - or over any price they consider out of line.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Leckey and Andrew Leckey,Tribune Media Services | January 21, 2007
Big-name mutual funds often attract lots of attention, but some fine performing, lesser-known funds also are worthy of investors' consideration. These funds don't have heavily advertised marquee names, are relatively small and haven't been around forever. But those are among their virtues. The people running them have had success. We're not saying you'll be getting in on the ground floor of the next Fidelity Magellan, but they are worth a look. All are "no-load," meaning they require no initial sales charge.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Leckey and Andrew Leckey,Tribune Media Services | November 12, 2006
Fees slapped on your money are the bane of the average investor. Extra costs can be slipped in so many different ways by investment firms that the investor often doesn't realize it. Some represent valid costs of doing business, but others are tacked on or increased because it can be done so effortlessly. Fees are alive and well in 2006, with some on the rise. But fierce competition is having an effect, with a number of these costs eliminated, reduced or easier to avoid. Your best game plan still is to shop carefully and knowledgeably for the least-expensive investments and best loan terms, consolidate accounts in one place if it means better deals from a higher balance, and pay all bills on time with no bounced checks.
BUSINESS
By GAIL MARKSJARVIS and GAIL MARKSJARVIS,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | February 19, 2006
I will be retiring in 17 years and recently had a professional help me select funds for my 401(k). Since then, I have changed jobs, and my new employer does not have a retirement plan. I would like to create my own portfolio of IRA investments to match this recommendation, but am unsure how to select quality funds to match my adviser's asset allocation goals without creating a half-dozen separate accounts with different mutual fund companies. I will eventually want to roll over the 401(k)
BUSINESS
By CHARLES JAFFE | October 9, 2005
Maureen R. in Holland, Pa., thought she was doing the right thing when she established brokerage accounts for her four children and put the money into the Class C shares of a mutual fund. Now she's not so sure. Maureen met with a different financial adviser, who suggested that the accounts for the children - ages 6 to 13 - should be in Class A shares, and that the first adviser had made a mistake. Two advisers with two opinions create one confused customer. Funds come in different classes so that investors have choices in how they compensate their financial advisers.
BUSINESS
By CHARLES JAFFE | September 25, 2005
Mark Twain once noted that "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." When it comes to mutual fund investing, however, both situations can lead to mistakes, misjudgment and poor money management. The more you know about how funds work, the better you will do if your funds ever pose a real investment test. Questions: 1) True or false: When a mutual fund changes portfolio managers, it can wait months before notifying shareholders.
BUSINESS
By Russel Kinnel and Russel Kinnel,MORNINGSTAR.COM | January 5, 2003
How would you have reacted if your spouse had surprised you with a new car for the holidays? Initially, you'd probably have been thrilled, but your next thought might have been, "Uh oh, how much debt are we in?" Besides being creepy, those holiday commercials that suggest you need to buy your spouse's love by spending a huge sum of money on a car or a diamond are peddling a bad idea from a financial-planning perspective. When the economy is slow, you should boost your savings - not your spending.
BUSINESS
By CHARLES JAFFE | September 25, 2005
Mark Twain once noted that "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." When it comes to mutual fund investing, however, both situations can lead to mistakes, misjudgment and poor money management. The more you know about how funds work, the better you will do if your funds ever pose a real investment test. Questions: 1) True or false: When a mutual fund changes portfolio managers, it can wait months before notifying shareholders.
BUSINESS
By ANDREW LECKEY | May 15, 2005
Q. I have begun to buy and sell stocks more frequently than in the past. I have been told I need to be careful about wash sales. What do I need to keep in mind about that tax rule? - G.K., via the Internet A. A wash sale occurs when you sell a security at a loss and, within 30 calendar days before or after that sale, buy substantially the same security. To prevent investors from trying to generate losses while staying in the same position, the IRS does not permit you to take a deduction for a loss on a wash sale.
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