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No. of Recommendations: 4
(Posted to the public board, also emailed. Reply to the board.)

i wanted to know if any one can sort out which of the foolowing are the best fund
thanks alot

Hi Nick,

Please don't take this the wrong way, but it does not look like you've put much effort into the ultra-short message cited above. That, in turn, makes one suspect that you have not put much effort into learning anything about these funds on your own. If these perceptions are correct, my own personal response would be to urge you to be more resourceful and self-reliant. If those perceptions are incorrect, then you need to explain more about yourself so we can give better answers.

In case you haven't already seen them, this message alerts you that you've gotten some answers about these funds, but those replies mostly described how the funds seem to have performed in the short time they've been around. What they did not do -- COULD NOT do -- was tell you whether any of those funds is right FOR YOU.

You asked which of that list is "the best" fund. Well, Nick, first you have to tell us: What do you think is a "good" fund? As Paul Simon once wrote, "One man's ceiling is another man's floor."

If the definition of "best fund" were simple, there would not be 10,000 or 20,000 different mutual funds on the market (depending on your information source). But there are. Clearly, people are not satisfied with the mousetraps that already exist, and continue trying to invent better ones. Some people believe that effort is futile, and that indexes are all that matter. But the rationale behind that argument is all about *performance relative to a specific benchmark*.

So, is THAT your definition of good? Beating a particular benchmark? If so, WHICH index do you want to beat? If not, then what kind of number do you think represents a "good" return in a given year? How consistent does the fund have to be? How much volatility will you accept? How worried are you about concentrating investments in a single country's economy (whether it's the USA or elsewhere)? How willing are you to make a gamble on funds that have a very short track record, when some competing funds have longer track records?

And MORE questions: Do you have a bunch of other funds that you want to fit together with one of the funds listed above? Or are you looking to buy just one mutual fund? If so, are you concerned about portfolio diversification, or not? Are you planning to put this fund into a tax-exempt account like an IRA or 401K, or in a taxable investment account? Where is the account held, and do you incur transaction fees to buy into any of these funds?

Oh, and even MORE questions: Do you plan to buy one of these funds and hold it for a long time, or do you expect to watch it carefully and change to something else if it does not keep up the pace it has established so far? Have you considered any other funds besides those in this list? Somebody has already asked where you got the list from, but that is a really obvious question.

One respondent is a big fan of that fund family, and perhaps it is worth taking a chance on one or more of these funds -- but I suspect most folks here would be leery of trusting a single fund company with all their money (except for folks at the major players like Vanguard or Fidelity).

This may all sound like a bunch of pestering, but that's not how it's intended. If you want help from folks here, you need to define your goals and expectations, as well as your background. You need to let them know how much you already know, so they don't repeat stuff you don't need -- but also, so they don't talk over your head if you are just starting out.

With such a short message, and with a bunch of funds that are very different in style and portfolio content, one makes the assumption that you don't know how to develop your own criteria for evaluation, and/or that you do not know where to find data about those funds to match up with your criteria. Fuskie answered with data about things like yield and management tenure, but none of us knows whether those issues matter to you -- and different people on this board have different opinions about how much emphasis to put on them.

So if you're just starting out, let us know and we'll point you to resources that can help. But if you already know all that stuff, then the discussion will be quite different. One of your respondents owns one or more of the offerings from Bridgeway, but many of us do not. Since we are all trying to make money, one might wonder what reasons explain why some of us have not already bought into those funds already. Are we avoiding them, are we just unaware of them, or do we have different strategies that those funds don't fit into?

I think these are all questions that you should try to answer, and by the time you do, you will probably have your own answer for which of those funds (or some other funds) are the "best" for you to own.

Good luck. Hope this helps!
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