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Author: zgriner Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75658  
Subject: Re: Conflicting Info Date: 10/13/1998 10:31 PM
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This is too good to resist. Let's address each statement:

1) You buy funds based on your goals (good point)
Yes, that is absolutely true. So, the question is, what is your goal: Do you want your capital to increase in value through general equity investments, and without the hassles of picking your own stocks or trying to figure which fund will do better next year? If the answer is yes, then an s&p500 index fund is the way to go. If you have a specific investment style that you like (ie. small-cap, international, equity income, value, contrarian, etc), then invest in one of these type funds.

2) Do you want your retirement $ dependent upon the S&P 500, which can be risky or under performing based on the timing?
Of course, you should have your retirement dependent on AIM funds. What is the criteria that the risk is based on? Being fully vested in the stock market, as you would be with an s&p500 fund, can be risky, since the market goes up and down. And regards to timing...who's timing? Some funds try to time the market by getting out to 'lock in profits' (and returns) when it looks like the market is going down, or to keep cash around when they think the market is too expensive and headed for a fall. If you are investing for the long term, you are dealing with paper risk.

3) Yes, a large number of mutuals have been outperformed by the index funds in the last few years, but he thinks this will change and you'll see mutual funds kick back ahead! "He doesn't buy yesterday's winners today"
The Foolish answer is: On average, its been more than "the last few years"

4) He firmly stated that since 1950 mutual funds have historically outperformed the S&P and Dow.
See above

5) Buying funds is an art, not a science!
Exactly! So why not go with the flow since alot of artists (fund managers) seem to have failed at that art (see above)?

6) Said paying expense ratio fees was a good thing, as it takes money to make money. (he didn't comment on 12b-1 fees)
I read somewhere, recently, that low fund expenses correlates with higher, not lower, returns. Possibly because the lower fees don't pull the returns down, all things being equal.

7) Said the S&P was not a particularly good benchmark. The more relevant benchmark is one based on your goals and objectives. Rather banks savings rates were better.
Only the part about your goals are true, since small-cap funds compare themselves to the Russel 2000 index, international funds to the Morgan-Stanley index, etc. So we go back to the original question...what are your goals and how do you want them met?

8) Basically slammed "getting on the internet for about 30 minutes and picking out some good funds" (i.e. VFINX).
I am curious how the broker picks the "good funds". Are they the ones sold by his company? Are they the ones that charge 5-8% loads, which pay him and don't get you better returns over no-load funds?

I'm confused. I want to move my AIM funds into an index fund as safe harbor until I've built up enough capital/knowledge to buy into the FF or other program. Therefore, my thinking is that funds are not part of the long-term picture anyway, but he made some emphatic and contrary points to the general consensus at TMF re mutual funds.
I am confused, too. He said above that fund picking was an art and that the fund managers were underperforming the s&p500 index. Seems like a good reason to go into the s&p500 index, unless you want your broker to pick your funds for you, and charge you for the privilege. Unfortunately, you suffer from FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), which is understandable. What if your broker is right; the s&p500 underperforms the AIM funds for the next few years? No one is prescient, all we have is historical information.

Before you become completely Foolish, make sure you are doing it because you believe in what you have read here.

Zev
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