I’m coming into an age of conservation – I guess both with money and ecology. After a decade of risky financial moves (running a hot dog stand, starting a business, creating a mobile portal) I’ve become slightly risk-adverse as I’m approaching my *gulp* 40’s! Getting a late start on my building my retirement nest egg, I decided I needed to balance out my pension and my very small stock portfolio (on the aggressive side of investing) with something stable and more conservative: a mutual fund.
Not all mutual funds are considered conservative, many are quite aggressive in nature depending on the type of investments the mutual fund consists of. For instance, some mutual funds consist of stocks, where others balance stocks, cash, and bonds. I learned this through months of research, comparing and contrasting mutual funds through MaxFunds.com. This site analyzes the quality of the fund, predicts the potential gain and loss and calculates the annual cost. I was also able to use Morning Star, another fantastic site, to compare historical graphs giving me a holistic picture of the type of growth I can expect over the next 10-15 years.
I knew I wanted to use my insurance company as my broker. I do quite a bit of banking and insurance services with them and they allowed me to select particular funds that waived the initial investment amount as long as I set up auto-debiting. This limited me to a handful of funds, excluding me from taking advantage of index funds. However, I still had enough of a selection to choose from. After reviewing three potential funds (2 equity and 1 taxable bond) that I was intrigued with, I decided to select the safer more conservative fund; the taxable-bond fund. It’s backed by the US government – steady growing and safe, for now.
At a historical growth rate of approximately 7% and a total cost of .01% annually, the safety outweighs the cost. I used CalcMoolator to calculate my total cost, which was important to me as one of the biggest complaints about mutual funds is that they are costly. Another benefit of mutual funds is that they are very easy to set up and I knew I had more flexibility with them versus an IRA. My insurance company’s online website makes it easy for me to add additional funds, transfer and sell funds very much like a stock. The changes I make are immediate, giving me peace of mind in case I decide to switch over to a more aggressive fund.
My initial monthly auto-debits won’t make me wealthy, especially after I factored in what I’d need during retirement using a retirement calculator (scary, to say the least!), but it’s a start towards a financially stable golden era. Of course, I could always retire in Belize and not worry so much about saving millions!