One of the main reasons more than 90 million of us choose mutual funds as our main retirement savings vehicle is that they're convenient. Want to assemble a carefully calibrated portfolio that provides exposure to the domestic market's various cap ranges and equities plucked from foreign shores? Not to worry -- mutual funds have you covered.
7,000 funds, so little time
The devil, of course, is in the details: You can't just throw a dart and expect to hit a winner. Indeed, with more than 7,000 stock and bond funds vying for your hard-earned savings, it's now more necessary than ever to spend quality time researching your prospective investments.
In previous commentaries, I've outlined a number of items that, properly used, can help you whittle down the vast universe of mutual funds to a select group of worthies. In short, you should avoid load funds, pay special attention to expense ratios, favor funds with long-tenured management teams, and be sure to gauge a fund's performance history relative to how long its current leaders have been on the case.
A fund's forward-looking prospects, after all, can be only as bright as the managers who are calling the shots now.
Work smart, not hard
Still, even after applying the foregoing criteria, you'll likely find yourself confronting a good many contenders. At that point, the question quickly becomes: How do I cherry-pick the right funds for me?
That question can only ever be answered on an individual basis. After all, only you know your risk tolerance and investing timeline.
That said, at Motley Fool Champion Funds, the Fool service that I head up, we provide the tools you need to answer that question with little in the way of fuss and virtually no muss. Indeed, between the current issue of the newsletter and our most recent monthly update, we've re-covered every fund I've ever recommended in "executive summary" form.
These are picks that hail from virtually every corner of the mutual fund universe, too. We've zeroed in on value-oriented keepers that favor the low price-to-earnings (P/E) likes of Washington Mutual
The upshot, then, is this: If you have an hour or so to spare, we have roughly two years of investment advice that you can put to good use in a hurry. And that's true no matter what your investing profile happens to be.
No risk, plenty of reward
If you'd like to take a look at our winners list -- as well as our back issues and members-only discussion boards -- just click here for a completely free 30-day guest pass. You're under no obligation to subscribe, but if you're interested in beating the market without working overtime, my hunch (and hope!) is that you'll plan on sticking around.
Shannon Zimmerman doesn't own any of the companies listed. Duke Energy is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool is investors writing for investors, and you can read all about our disclosure policy by clicking right here.