April 4, 2009

So here you are. You have been listening to the show for a while. You understand efficient markets. You understand asset allocation. You even understand equity-risk premium and risk/reward trade-off.  Now, how do you implement?

This is a problem I see all too often. Many individuals possess the knowledge and understanding of the financial marketplace, but have no idea how to put it into practice. So what is next step in developing a portfolio to assist you in reaching your long-term goals? Selecting the assets to use.

In this instance, when I say ‘asset’, I am talking about mutual funds. If you’ve been investing for any time at all, you have seen just how big the mutual fund universe really is. So with all of these options, how do you know which funds to choose? The answer to this question obviously depends on factors such as your long-term goals and risk tolerance. Let’s assume, however, that you know what type of funds you need, how do you select the best out of the bunch? Or maybe you don’t do your investing on your own. Maybe you have an adviser, but you want to know just how good the funds he or she has selected for you are.

Well there are two phenomenal FREE resources out there that you can use. They are the Yahoo! Finance Mutual Fund Screener and the Morningstar Fund Screener. Both of these tools allow you to set a certain search criteria to find funds that match your specific investment objectives. Not only that, but you can also segregate them by lowest internal expenses, minimum required investment,  highest Morningstar rating, and many others.

The main difference that I found between these two fund screeners is that Yahoo! is very rigid in how you are able to search. The Morningstar Screener is more flexible because it allows you to search using category averages.  This allows you to find the best funds in a given asset class.  You can now see which managers can consistently outperforming their peers.

As you listen to the show, I will explain some other screens and categories you may want to be aware of as well as some things you may want to watch out for when selecting mutual funds. One really cool thing that both of the screeners offer is pre-built screens. These are screens that have already been formulated and designed to show you funds that have done specific things like ‘outperformed the S&P 500’ for 5 consecutive years.

As you are certainly aware of if you are reading this, we have a new website. We are only weeks or maybe even days away from officially launching our premium member section. Towards the end of the show I share some of the features that the member section will have. I really do hope that all of you are as excited about this as we are. I honestly believe that this membership section can be a truly valuable resource to you not only in bad times like we have had of late, but also in the  good times that are hopefully coming. Please feel free to send me comments or critiques about the new site. We do this for you, so we want it to be exactly what you need to make intelligent and informed financial decisions!

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