Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Your Money and You: Mutual Funds ...and You by John Paul Mugambi

First I’d like to say that some of the stuff I am writing about here has its sources in some of the following sources

that said I’m sure no will be slapping me a copyright suit and also you can benefit more by going to the sites mentioned and benefit yourself.

So I’d like to talk about us and what we look for when we are investing or saving and some of the things that stump us.
Now like everyone else who wants to say something we always quote other people a lot before we can get quoted. Last year if you look at my archive below I had this piece that I posted in my page about the seven laws of aligning money, value and happiness.

Get Inspired - A Guide to Living the Good Life by Laura Rowley:

so rule number one was
Know thyself: Understand what values you want to express in your earning, spending, saving and investing.

This rule applies when you are venturing into mutual funds and pension funds and endowment plans.
So exactly what are we looking for ...savings for retirement, saving for our children’s education, just hoping to use our money to make some more money? So here we have already expressed several values values, economic values, and a general good outlook towards life since we want to save or invest for some future.

So here is what a mutual fund is for you it is a collective investment vehicle...meaning you and I and another and several others including some organisations pensions schemes decide to put our money in the "hands" of another for the purpose or with the intent to make some more money using this fund managed by this "another".

Every mutual fund has its issuer in Kenya we have several fund managers licensed by the RBA (if they are managing pensions schemes)...the capital markets authority and all other regulators can find them here

So we have to find out the objectives of the fund is it in line with our own personal objectives. Some funds work towards long term stability while others are geared towards short term growth. Some fund managers will have several funds to meet these two different needs hence you will have a money market fund an equity fund or a mixed fund.

So annual reports of these funds are important to help you know what your fund is all about and how it is performing and who is running it.
It is also important to keep abreast of the continuous performance of your fund. Daily newspapers offer this. Conveniently they also help you in comparing your fund and other funds in the market.
It is also important to know where your money is being put into. A few weeks ago there was a general scramble for the government offering of securities. Mostly banks were the scramblers but you would also want to know whether your fund manager was in the action... and whether this is in line with what you want. Are you going out for high risk high return or low risk low return kind of investment?
Annual reports also help you find out what other assets your fund holds does it have a proper mix of long term and short term assets such as land, buildings versus securities.
It also guides you on the expenses your fund manager is incurring would be unfortunate instead of growing your future finances you catered to overbearing salary and running expenses of your fund manager.

However with all these there is one point where you will never go wrong ...your fund manager is out to make money and so are you. So as long as the management expenses they charge to you aren’t extreme you and your fund managers will make a very “happy party”

Mutual funds offer a variety of benefits chief among them is having a professional manage your investments for you. Secondly you are able to achieve a diversified portfolio. Mind you this does not mean just putting your money in a group of investments but it means putting your money (in this case your fund manager putting your money) in assets with dissimilar behaviour. Some fund managers have achieved this by having what is listed in the newspaper as growth fund, balanced fund. Again however it is wise to find out in exactly which assets your fund is balanced into. Equities for example have shown to be great assets in times of inflation despite being high risk investments.

Finally something especially Kenyan investors have to outgrow. All this stuff I am talking about ...diversified portfolio....high risk ...low risk...I don’t mean that you are assured against a loss and promised a profit. These are things that do come with investments profits and losses are in this circles part of life. Cest la vie (always wanted to use that phrase somewhere)

We have to outgrow the mentality of safety. Recently the CBK governor revealed that depositors are losing their savings in their quest to find a save haven for their money, rather than seeking good rates of returns for their savings are leaving their money in commercial banks at lower interest rates than the underlying inflation rate earning a 4 per cent interest annually on their savings against the 5-7 per cent underlying inflation rate. That is you are earning interest but in actual sense inflation is eating at it and it becomes negative real interest rates on your savings.

So that’s about it on mutual time maybe we’ll talk about Inflation or better yet about IPOs and trading in shares ....

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Loving life and living it. “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” (Mary Anne Radmacher)
Give yourself completely in everything for that is love and only when we love can we find God.