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By Richard Loth

(Contact | Biography)

The complexities of the investment process are often beyond the grasp of the general public. For many people, multiple competing interests and increasingly busy lifestyles leave little opportunity for learning the basics of investing. Nevertheless, saving and investing for one's future financial security has to be considered one of life's priorities.

Millions of investors in the U.S. and abroad are using mutual funds as their investment vehicle of choice to save for college educations, the purchase of a home and for building a retirement nest egg. Whatever the objective, the mutual fund is an excellent medium to accumulate financial assets and grow them over time to achieve any of these goals.

However, the task of selecting quality mutual funds is a daunting one. There are far too many choices, and information overload is a serious problem. In addition, the tactics used in marketing funds are generally more confusing than enlightening - the unfamiliar jargon and technical investing concepts can be challenging, to say the least.

Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer, a client of an investment professional, or a participant in a self-directed retirement plan, you'll need a set of mutual fund evaluative tools that make sense and are easy to use. Here, we'll attempt to make fund selection and monitoring as simple as possible, allowing you to make informed decisions and ask the right questions when it comes to choosing a mutual fund investment.

  1. Overview Of The Mutual Fund Industry

  2. History Of The Mutual Fund

  3. How A Mutual Fund Works

  4. Today's Mutual Fund Industry

  5. Fund Investment Qualities

  6. Fund Investment Quality Scorecard

  1. Finding Mutual Fund Data

  2. Morningstar Fund Report

  3. Value Line Fund Report

  4. Retirement Plan Documentation and Other Sources

  1. Mutual Fund Categories

  2. Mutual Fund Style Box

  3. Fund I-Q No.1: Investing Style

  4. Scoring Investment Style Data

  1. Risk-Return Relationship

  2. Understanding Mutual Fund Returns

  3. Fund I-Q No.2: Favorable Risk-Return Profiles

  4. Scoring Risk-Return Data

  1. Mutual Fund Asset Size

  2. Fund I-Q No. 3: Size and Style Compatibility

  3. Scoring Fund Size and Style Data

  1. Passive Vs. Active Management

  2. Fund I-Q No.4: Manager Tenure and Structure

  3. Scoring Fund Management Data

  1. Portfolio Turnover

  2. Fund I-Q No. 5: Portfolio Turnover Ratio

  3. Scoring Fund Turnover Data

  1. Overview Of Mutual Fund Expenses

  2. Fund I-Q No.6: Costs and Expenses

  3. Scoring Fund Cost and Expense Data

  1. Historical Performance Vs. Underlying Portfolio Characteristics

  2. Mutual Fund Performance Data

  3. Fund I-Q No.7: Comparative Total Returns

  4. Scoring Fund Performance Data

  1. Fund I-Q No.8: Favorable Analytics

  2. Scoring Fund Analytical Commentary

  1. Fund Investment Qualities

  2. Fund I-Q Scorecard

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