What’s your investment goal?
Are you saving to go to college? Do you want to buy a car? Start your own business? Or save for a trip? No matter what your goal, the smartest way to reach it is through wise investments. This section of Money Matters explores your investment options to help you make the most of your opportunities.
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Tip 1: Read the prospectus before you invest! Study the fund’s performance, its loads, fees, investment goals, and distribution.
Tip 2: Select funds whose goals agree with yours. Don’t buy new funds. Choose funds with a proven track record.
Tip 3: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The same principal that makes mutual funds a more secure investment than individual stocks can help you protect your mutual fund investment money. Diversify. Distribute your investment money among several funds.
Tip 4: Think long-term. Plan to leave your money in the fund you select for several years. This allows you to benefit from the market’s long-term growth.
Tip 5: Make regular monthly deposits. This will help average out the stock markets’ daily highs and lows.
Tip 6: If you feel comfortable handling your own investment decisions, choose no-load funds.
Tip 7: Study the fund’s performance. Don’t be misled by high loads and fancy sales pitch. An attractive presentation or high load doesn’t mean the fund is profitable.
Tip 8: Don’t get hung up on trying to save money on fees. In the long run, good performance will by far outweigh any fee.
Tip 9: Don’t commit yourself to any plans that penalize you if you cease making regular investments.
Tip 10: If you select a fund with a load, try to get one with a back-end load. With a back-end load your entire investment is earning for you. With a front-end load, a portion of your initial investment is deducted immediately, leaving less to earn money for you.
Tip 11: Try to avoid funds with 12(B)-1 Fees. These fees, while they seem low, are charged annually. Over the life of your investment they can add up to well over the amount charged with a high load.
Tip 12: Keep records. Know how much you invested and on what date. It will help you keep track of how much you’ve earned.
Tip 13: After you’ve invested, track your fund’s performance and compare it to similar funds. Don’t be alarmed over short term losses or gains, but if over a year it’s performing poorly, move your money. (Make sure you compare apples to apples. Don’t compare a conservative fund to an aggressive one.)
Tip 14: If you’re considering tax-exempt funds, calculate the total return before investing. Our Tax-Free Investment Calculator can help.