As our economic outlook continues to be poor and as the stock market is in turmoil, stock investing has become increasingly difficult. Maintaining a solid investment portfolio can be hard work. One alternative to the difficult work of stock selection is to invest in mutual funds. With thousands of mutual funds to choose from, how can you tell which ones are the best?
That’s why I have compiled a list of the 7 Best Mutual Funds for 2009. After researching the performance, stability, and income of hundreds of top-rated funds, I found the best mutual funds to invest in for 2009 and beyond.
One part of my selection process was to find mutual funds with cash flow, either through dividends or bond interest payments (in the form of dividends for mutual funds). This factor is becoming ever more important during a time when stocks continue to decline. Through dividends you can know that you will have an income of the yield percentage.
Another selection criteria was to find mutual funds that are going to perform well for years to come. As you will see, I have included a mutual fund that invests in stocks of alternative energy or “green” companies. The whole environmentally-friendly, green movement is just getting started and will be a boon to the economy for the next 10-20 years. One aspect that is somewhat more of a near-term strategy is the gold focused fund because of the predicted rise in the price of gold over the next year or two.
The last and most important selection criteria was the long-term performance of the mutual fund. Any one stock or mutual fund can perform well over one or two years by luck, but it takes true skill to manage a portfolio that has good returns over a ten year period. A major failure of many investors that buy mutual funds is that they chase the fund that is currently performing the best or just recently had its best year. If the mutual fund is having an unbelievably great year, then either stay away from it because it’s too late or sell it if you own it.
The 7 Best Mutual Funds for 2009:
1. American Century High-Yield Fund (AHYVX)
– With the current state of the economy, your best bet for making money is finding an investment with a stated income (i.e. dividends, bond interest payments). American Century’s High Yield Fund has a dividend yield of 9.38%, which is much larger than most high yielding mutual funds or stocks.
2. The New Alternatives Fund (NALFX)
– this is the perfect mutual fund for times when people and companies are looking for environmentally-friendly ways of doing things. This mutual fund invests in companies that focus on renewable energy sources, as well as companies that are concerned with energy conservation and environmental protection. Over the next decade green and alternative energy stocks will most likely sky-rocket with gaining popularity and necessity.
3. Franklin Utilities Fund (FKUTX)
– A utilities fund is also a great way to get a flow of decent income during a time of poor stock performance. This mutual fund has a dividend yield of 4% and a 10-year annualized return of 5.17%, which is very impressive. Utility companies are a solid investment for having a stream of dividend income.
4. ING Corporate Leaders Trust Fund (LEXCX)
– Although its 10-year annualized return has been hurt by the recent stock market downturn putting it at 3.67% (which is better than all but two main value strategy mutual funds), ING’s fund has performed 10% better than the S&P 500 over the past year. It also has a dividend yield of 2.46%.
5. Franklin Gold and Precious Metals (FKRCX)
– This mutual fund has been a top performer over the past decade with a 10-year annualized return of 14.42% and a current dividend yield of 8.34%. This mutual fund has performed amazingly, and it will continue to perform with gold becoming more of a flight-to-safety investment for investors.
6. Vanguard Energy Fund (VGENX)
– although the commodities boom of earlier this year has faded, oil prices will come back. It is only a matter of time. Vanguard’s Energy Fund has had a 10-year annualized return of 14.81%, which is better than most mutual funds of any kind. It is positioned to perform well over the next few years.
7. Municipal Bond Fund (of your choice)
– municipal bond rates have gone up in recent months and continue to be a great source of extra income. For example, some bonds in Florida are paying 6% a year in interest. Remember with municipal bonds that interest payments are tax-exempt; just make sure you pick a bond that is within your state (otherwise interest payments become taxable). How does a tax-free income of 5% or 6% on your investment sound for 2009- with the U.S. still in recession?