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These articles contain tax and planning techniques that should be reviewed by your personal tax adviser to determine if they are appropriate for your particular situation and comply with local law. We are unable to render legal or tax advice to individuals.


Mutual Funds

Mutual Funds: How to Make an Intelligent Decision

Mutual funds offer a wide range of investment choices. These choices can be in stocks (equities) bonds or numerous combinations of both.

Investments can be in foreign stocks and bonds as well as American companies. United States Treasuries are also available.

A mutual fund is simply a method that allows a group of investors to pool their money together with a predetermined investment objective. The mutual fund will have a fund manager who is responsible for investing the funds. When you invest in a mutual fund, you are buying shares of the mutual fund and become a shareholder of the fund. Mutual funds are easy to buy and are generally cost effective.

Mutual funds are divided into two groups based on the choice of how they are acquired. These groups are load and no load funds. A no-load fund can be acquired without compensation from a sales organization and would be considered mostly the do-it-yourself approach. Loaded funds are acquired through a sales organization and a charge is made for that purchase.

Individual REITs are able to distinguish themselves by specializing in certain areas. They may focus their investments geographically, by region, state, or even metropolitan area. They may focus on certain property types, such as commercial property. Other REITs choose a broader focus, diversifying their investments over various types of property and mortgage assets or in wider geographical areas.

No-load funds: The advantage of no-load funds is that 100% of your funds are fully invested from the beginning of the investment. The disadvantage is the lack of professional advice in the decision of which fund to purchase.

Loaded funds: The advantage of loaded funds is the addition of professional advice in which category to select for your goals. The disadvantage is all your funds do not go to work immediately and the charges for a loaded fund can be higher annually.

Important factors in considering if you should invest in a mutual fund should be:

• The length of time of the investment
• How the funds are to be used in the future
• Tax exposure
• Operating cost of the fund
• The goal of the fund and if it matches your investment goal
• The category of the fund and does it match your time horizon

Mutual fund terms can be confusing. Make certain you fully understand how they work and what the annual operating expenses are. Every disclosure of the fund will be in the prospectus provided to you by the sales organization or the mutual fund company. If you have difficulty in understanding the prospectus ask for assistance.

Mutual funds can be a very economical method for investing if you fully understand the fees and goals.

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