Fellow WalletPop blogger Carol Vinzant recently commented that mutual fund investors seem awfully nervous, as July numbers show that people were pulling their money out of mutual funds. It's no wonder investors are scared when you see statistics like this:

Out of almost 2,100 diversified retail U.S. stock mutual funds that are open to new investors, just 17 have positive returns for both the past 12 months and year-to-date, according to investment researcher Morningstar Inc.

You read that correctly. Less than one percent of mutual funds are in the black for the most recent 12 months. If you're alarmed, you have every right to be. Mutual funds charge investors a lot of money to participate in them, and in return, consumers are supposed to have professionals managing the funds. I think that means I have every right to expect that they do at least a little better than I can do on my own in the stock market.

The sad truth is that these mutual fund managers are gambling with our money. I don't know what the alternative is when the vast majority of consumers aren't capable of buying and selling stocks on their own. Can't someone start some mutual funds that actually do well? It seems there's an opening in the market for such a fund, and anyone who can do it would become popular very quickly.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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