Play the Odds When Investing

Perhaps you’ve heard that low-cost passive index mutual funds tend to perform better than funds in which managers actively pick stocks. By my calculations, however, over any given year, roughly 42 percent of actively managed funds outperform the low-cost index. So buying the index fund seems to be shooting for being only slightly better than average. Yet don’t most of us want to be an A student at the top of the class? To really understand the odds of beating a …

How to Beat the S&P 500 Index

I’m going to try to mislead you, but it’s for a very good reason. What I have for you is a U.S. stock fund that not only has beaten the S&P 500 index, it’s nearly certain to continue doing so in the long run. For now, I’m going to call this mutual fund the Super-Secret Fund, or SSF for short. Looking back over 20 years, you can see that the SSF trounced the S&P 500 index. Not only did it …

Should You Sell When Your Fund Manager Quits?

So, the star manager of your mutual fund leaves. Should you bail, too? It’s a question on many investors’ minds now after famed bond manager Bill Gross announced Friday he was leaving the company he founded, Pacific Investment Management Co., to start another fund at rival Janus. The Wall Street Journal reported today that investors so far have pulled $10 billion out of Pimco —  and $90 billion more may follow. “You have to be careful not to have a knee-jerk …

More Investors Choosing Target-Date Funds for Retirement Savings

Target-date funds are growing in popularity among investors in workplace retirement plans because they’re so easy to manage. You pick a retirement date, and the mix of investments automatically adjusts to a more conservative allocation as you move closer to that date. No muss, no fuss. If you’re not investing in a TDF, chances are you will be. A new study says that by 2018, nearly two-thirds of all 401(k) savings contributions will go into these funds. TDFs have become …