The Best Time to Invest in Mutual Funds |

The best time to invest in mutual funds is NOW.  These investment packages do not go in and out of favor like stocks or gold or other investments do.  They have been the investment of choice for everyday investors for a good 40 years, because they offer investors a wide array of opportunities…in good times and bad. Mutual funds are not an investment type or class like stocks and bonds, they are a way to invest in stocks and bonds.  In fact, they are the simplest and best way for most folks to do so.  When you invest in mutual funds, professional money managers manage a portfolio of stocks and/or bonds and/or money market securities for you.  You simply own shares in a large collection of investments.The cost to you varies, but often amounts to about 1% a year for expenses, maybe 2% for stock funds.  You don’t pay these costs directly to the fund company.  These expenses are just deducted from the fund’s assets.Now, you might hear someone say that their mutual funds have been bad investments.  Take such statements with a grain of salt.  There are some losers out there, and some funds charge more than others for expenses.  That having been said, statements like this are usually based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the investment.  I’ll illustrate with a short story.In late 2007, Jack rolled $100,000 into an IRA, where his advisor had him invest in mutual funds.  In March of 2009, you and some friends at an informal get-together are discussing how to invest, and Jack gives his opinion.  “Don’t invest in mutual funds, they are bad investments”, he says.  His friend Mike adds, “now is not a good time to invest in mutual funds, I just lost my shirt”.  Jack agrees and announces that he just lost 50% in his funds.After hearing this exchange of opinions, you decide not to invest in mutual funds, at least not now.  You plan to keep your money in the bank until you learn how to invest. Now, here’s the rest of the story.  Jack’s financial planner put all $100,000 into stock funds, because Jack already had money in annuities and bond funds, and wanted higher returns.  The financial crisis of 2008 and early 2009 sent stock prices in general down about 50%.  Jack owned a variety of stock funds, and lost about 50% as well.  Stocks were the bad investment, not mutual funds.  Had Jack been in bond funds or money market funds, he’d not taken those losses. Mike must have been in stock funds as well.  Either that, or he was repeating something he’d heard at another party.  Now is always a good time to invest in mutual funds, if you know how to select funds that are appropriate to your needs.  Better yet, learn how to invest and put together a balanced portfolio of mutual funds.The alternative is to manage your own investment portfolio of individual stocks and bonds.  This is out of the question for folks who have not the knowledge, experience nor inclination to do so.When you invest in mutual funds, professionals deal with the investment selection and timing issues for you.  They manage the investment portfolio, and it’s all wrapped up in a package called a mutual fund.  You need only pick the package(s) that’s right for you.  Now is always a good time to shop for mutual funds, and a good time to learn how to invest in them.