Equally shocking - and more unfair, in my view- to some people is making the mistake of buying a mutual fund late in the year, and being hit with big taxable dividend and/or capital gain distributions, that were reflected in the fund's net asset value when they bought it.I learned this lesson in 1987 when it was much more advantageous to invest through mutual funds than it is now. Well, not the late in the year thing but when the market dropped as did the value of the funds but there were taxable "gains."
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