Top 25 Growth Funds
On Monday, November 25, 2000 Investor's Business Daily listed on page B1 the Top 25 Growth Mutual Funds for the last 36 months along with their performance for the year 2000 to date. Only four showed a profit this year of 21% and the other three had increases of 12%, 5%, and 5%. Fifteen had loss of from 10% to 28% and the other 6 were down slightly.
In the column next to them there is a list of Top 25 Growth Funds for the past 3 months for the year 2000 to date. Only 2 had increases in price for the year 2000, 4 were even and all the rest are showing losses for the year.
Now pay attention and think about this next sentence. Not one mutual fund appears in both lists.
What is the significance of this? It very simply tells you that buy and hold is NOT the way to make money with mutual funds.
I have been preaching for years to buy only no-load mutual funds and hold them only as long as they are going up. When they stop going up you sell them (paying no commission) and find another fund that is going up as the place to have your money. In this current bear market the latter is hard to find so what do you do? Put your money in a money market account and don't worry about the market going down and dragging your investment with it. Protect your capital!
Don't throw up your hands and say I can't do that because my broker says to "buy and hold - the market always comes back". It is not his money. It is yours. You must be the one to initiate the action to protect your capital. Brokers are not taught how to do this. I know - I used to own a brokerage company.
Brokers have been smart enough to learn, but taught all the wrong things when it comes to investing money. They claim you can't "time the market". WRONG again. They never encourage you to place stop-loss orders so you won't lose all your money when you buy a new stock or fund and they never encourage you to use a trailing stop to protect the profits you have made.
I know there are people reading this column who have had stocks that have doubled, tripled, even more and now have that same stock that is now selling for less than they bought it.. Where was your broker when all this was happening? If he is so smart why didn't he tell you to sell at the top? This also applies to mutual funds.
What I am trying to get across is the simple message that you cannot buy and hold. The "secret" every knowledgeable investor knows is to protect his capital first and then to protect his profits second.