Chapter 17. Evaluating Your Funds and Adjusting Your Portfolio

In This Chapter

  • Understanding the finer points of fund statements

  • Translating discount brokerage firm statements

  • Figuring your funds' performance

  • Deciding whether to sell, hold, or buy more of a fund

  • Fine-tuning your portfolio as you get older

After you've explored different funds, filled out the application forms, and mailed your money, the hard part is over. Congratulations! You've accomplished what millions of people are still thinking about but haven't gotten off their blessed behinds to do (probably because they haven't read this book yet).

Now that you've started investing in funds (or even if you've been doing so for years), of course, you want to know how your funds are doing — specifically, you want to know how much return your funds are generating. You may also be interested in evaluating funds you already owned before you and I met, wondering if your prior holdings are greyhounds or basset hounds.

In this chapter, I explain how to evaluate the performance of your funds and decide what to do with them over time. I also explain why most of the statements you get from fund companies make your head spin and leave you clueless as to how you're doing.

Deciphering Your Fund Statement

Every mutual fund company has its own statement design. But they all report the same types of information, usually in columns. The following sections present the type of entries you find on typical fund company statements, along with my short ...

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