Think Through Mutual Fund Investment Objectives and Styles

Every mutual fund has an investment objective that spells out its goals. The objective states what investing style fund managers pursue and how they intend to carry out that objective.For example, a typical growth and income fund’s objective could read like this: “Growth and Income Fund X seeks growth of capital and dividend income. The fund invests at least 65% of its assets in common stock of large, well-established companies with a history of paying level or rising dividends. The fund may invest up to one-third of its assets in foreign securities.”There’s a lot of information packed into those two sentences. From reading this objective, you’ve learned that the fund is traveling down the proven growth and income route, buying up stocks of large companies with solid histories of dividend payments.Keep in mind that, in some cases, a fund’s name is really not consistent with its objective, although it is in this case.Note also from this objective that Growth & Income Fund X may invest a full third of its assets outside of the United States. The key word here is “may.”To see exactly what percentage of assets is invested oversees, take a look at the global weighting, which can be found in a fund’s Morningstar report, as well as in the fund’s annual report to shareholders.Some investors are wary of funds that invest a significant proportion of their assets overseas, because it isn’t always easy to get information about foreign companies. Without adequate information, it can be hard to tell whether these foreign companies are growth companies or the type of companies you want to invest in.Investment ObjectivesWhen it comes to stock funds, investment objectives range from the most conservative to the most aggressive.Index funds attempt to replicate the performance of a portion of the market or even of the entire market. The most widely followed index is the Standard and Poor’s 500 index, which consists of the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies on domestic stock exchanges.Index funds are based on a variety of domestic and foreign indexes. Before you invest in an index, be sure you know exactly what types of companies your chosen index invests in.Balanced funds hold stocks and bonds. Traditionally, the proportion allocated to stocks and bonds has been close: 60/40 or 65/35 one way or the other. Make sure that whatever balanced fund you choose does divide its assets between stocks and bonds using a stated formula; otherwise, you may be purchasing a stock fund or bond fund in disguise.Stock income funds focus their investment on high-dividend-yielding companies and pay out more dividends and distributions to shareholders than other types of funds. Stocks held by a stock income fund typically account for 60% to 75% of such a fund’s portfolio.The trade-off here is that the dividend income gained by fund shareholders is often at the expense of slower growth and lower price appreciation for fund holdings.Growth and income funds hold growth and income stocks. They can also hold more bonds to generate income. These funds are designed to be less volatile than typical growth funds, and they provide some of the income potential traditionally found in stock income funds.Growth funds seek to profit from capital appreciation; that is, an increase in share prices of their individual company holdings. To accomplish this, fund managers invest in companies that exhibit rising sales and earnings.If about 90% of a growth fund’s assets are in stocks of large, established companies with a moderate rate of growth and paying high dividends, a strong degree of stability is provided, offsetting risk.Aggressive-growth funds aim for maximum gains by taking larger risks than other growth funds. Managers invest in companies with estimated potential, or by purchasing smaller companies in popular industries.Because of this aggressive investment philosophy, the turnover rate of aggressive-growth funds can be extremely high. A high turnover brings higher commissions and potentially higher capital gains that can increase your investing costs.Sector funds concentrate their portfolios in one particular industry. There are many types of sector funds, ranging from those focused on technology to others focusing on health care or the financial industry. Because these funds have a concentrated portfolio, they tend to be highly volatile.International funds invest in companies around the world. Be aware of different types of funds within the international category. Global funds can invest anywhere in the world, including in the United States. International funds invest only in countries outside the U.S. There are many narrowly focused funds that invest in one particular country or region of the world.Investment StyleInvestment style, as categorized by companies such as Morningstar and Lipper, comes in three flavors: growth, value, and blend (or core).In the growth style of investing, the fund manager seeks out companies with above-average sales and earnings growth.Under the value style of investing, managers purchase companies that appear to be undervalued. Valuation is based on certain defined measurements such as price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios, price-to-book-value ratios, or “fair value,” a ground-up valuation of the company’s business expressed in dollars per share. Fund managers assess such opportunities based on their experience with other turnaround situations.With the blend style of investing, managers blend both growth and value investing. In some cases, they follow a growth philosophy, while in others, they look for undervalued opportunities.Both growth and value investing have their proponents and both styles have done well in years past.

Some Travel Myths That We Need To Leave Behind Soon

It’s not wrong to claim that we are surrounded by a world of travel myths. They stop us from building the courage and making our travel dreams come true. Most of these are complete devoid of any logic and we still do not question them. Travel myths can be very absurd.Here are some commonly believed travel myths that we must stop believing in soon.1. Unaffordable CostsA lot of us drop our travel plans because we believe it is too expensive to travel the world. It’s true that you will have to face travel costs, but they don’t have to be abnormal for the trip to be a successful one. This is where careful planning plays a major role. Sadly, a lot of travelers do not realize it and end up giving up on their travel plans. Travel can be very expensive to plan if it’s not done right.There are plenty of ways you can save on your trip. From booking early to opting for budgeted airlines, there is a lot you can do to enjoy a budgeted break.2. Unsafe WorldHere is another reason why some people fail to travel. The television and newspaper are full of depressing news about how unsafe the world has become. This plays around with the mind and travelers think it is just not safe to travel around the globe.The destination you travel to can be very unsafe for you. However, that goes for all the places on this planet; even your hometown. There are several ways through which you can ensure that you are safe and sound. Firstly, if you are traveling alone ensure that someone from back home knows about all your travel plans. At the new destination, act street smart and avoid roaming out and about alone.3. Too Less TimeThis is one of the most common reasons for people not to travel. They believe they can’t let their travel dreams come true because they simply have no time for it. Work commitments can often make them delay their travel plans. If you are one of those, you are not alone there.However, let’s face the truth. It is very easy to plan a break and you certainly don’t need a lot of time. Simply a weekend getaway can be ideal for making memories and taking a break from the same old routine. You just need to plan sensibly.4. Shopping at the AirportSome people never buy anything when they travel to a new destination and wait to get to their airport. This is because duty free shopping is considered the cheapest one out there. However, it doesn’t always work out to be the cheapest. To indulge in the duty free shopping, you must know the prices well because some things turn out to be costlier at the airport. Similarly, not all airports have the same pricing.

Ageism In America – Discrimination Against Older People In Health Care

Older people are the back bone of our society, yet they are frequently treated poorly and suffer discrimination when seeking health care. Many older Americans receive second and third class health care because health care professionals are either not trained to care for the needs of older people, or the provider doesn’t feel that the older person’s health is important enough to warrant better care. Ageism against older Americans is a widespread practice that affects over 50% of American households with older people.When a person reaches the age of sixty, health services are sometimes based on a person’s age. For example, some health care professionals decide not to run certain tests or prescribe certain medications and treatments because they don’t feel that the tests will be beneficial, or that the medication or treatment will work for the patient. Another reason that health care professionals hesitate to provide in-depth care to older people is because they don’t want to put the person though the procedure with the assumption that it would be too tiresome or too hard on the patient. If asked, older people want to go through the tests and procedures in order to take care of their health, but many health care providers don’t ask the patients what their wishes are.In spite of public acknowledgment that ageism by the U.S. health care system does exist, no steps have been taken by the system to remove its bias against older Americans. Ageism continues to be practiced in all levels of health care. In a recent interview with Joe Reynolds,* a 71-year old Oregon resident, Reynolds stated that because he is an older person, health care providers are reluctant to treat him, and some have refused him treatment because of his age. Reynolds has diabetes, and has undergone a heart bypass. He is angry and frustrated with the medical practitioners that he has seen because he has the insurance to pay for his care, and he feels that he can tolerate the tests, procedures and medications. He declared that none of the health care providers is willing to provide the real care that he needs to live as healthy of a life as possible. Reynolds stated, “I’m old so they don’t want to do anything to help me. They don’t ask me how I feel about anything; they don’t ask me for any input about my needs. They just don’t care.”Older people like Reynolds give up and die sooner than they might have if they had been able to receive the necessary medical care. They feel like the cast-offs of society, and rightfully so. Some older people commit suicide instead of being forced to live with pain and other treatable medical conditions that they are unable to obtain treatment for.Preventive care that is routinely provided to younger people is often denied to older people. Screening for life threatening diseases and conditions is provided readily to younger people, but is grudgingly provided to older people, if it is provided at all. Older people are routinely left out when it comes to treatments such as chemotherapy, even though an older person can tolerate it just as well as a younger person. Attitude is also a factor in providing care to an older person. If the attitude of the health care professional is predisposed against providing that health care, the older person will suffer the consequences.The U.S. Health Care System needs to work harder to remove its prejudice against providing adequate and equal health care to older people, and treat them like the deserving American citizens that they are. Older people are the reason that many of our luxuries and comforts are here today. Health care partiality is not the way to treat the people that made this country.*last name changed at the request of interviewee¬© Copyright 2007 Patti McMann. All rights reserved.