February is generally a unique and thrilling time of the year for me. Especially since living in the Mid-West, I’ve grown even fonder of Groundhog’s Day (and yes I LOOOOOVED the movie!), I enjoy the unending fight against the hyper-consumer infused hallmark holiday that we call Valentine’s Day, and most importantly, I run an annual check up on my mutual funds and investment vehicles. Certainly, this is my super fun(d) annual checkup time!
So for your enjoyment and my evaluation, below is my assessment, and all numbers/percentages are reflective of average annualized returns. The assessment allows me to pull back and see how my diversification is faring over time and if to date I am getting enough bang for my bucks for long term investments. So nerds, be ready for some euphoric reading! And to the free spirits, I acknowledge I have probably lost you already. So let the assessment begin:
Otherwise known as Small-Cap Growth Stock Mutual Funds, Aggressive Growth stock funds are one of my portfolio ingredients. These guys go up and they go down and are a piece of my planned mix of investments. My best fund in this group returned 11.51% and the worst -3.07%. Collectively they’ve returned -0.86%. I am not at all worried or concerned though. I am in these investments for a period of longer than 5 years and with proven track records, I definitely expect these numbers to turn around AND continue their already solid footing in the coming year.
AKA Mid-Cap Mutual Funds, this collection in my portfolio is my pride and joy. As a group they’ve returned 12.96% and have given no signal that they are slowing down. Don’t you just love it when numbers speak for themselves!
As a precursor I will note that my international funds are NOT anywhere near Europe, and given the battering of confidence in that region, to this day I am glad to have made that decision. With that said, my international mutual funds are focused in the Asia-Pacific region (China dually noted J) and South America (emphasis on Brazil). Over the long-term I am expecting continued growth in these regions, and they offer an upside in growth that will beat Europe in the coming decades. If you absolutely have to be in Europe, I’d only grab mutual funds that focus on large-cap growth & income, stability is the only thing you’ll get from Europe, not growth. Given that tidbit in recent time (by comparison) I have gotten battered in these markets, but I do not expect the PM’s on these funds to lose long-term vision in these regions, especially with the Olympics on the horizon for Brazil. Collectively my international funds returned -3.25% and I will be keeping a close eye on these funds in the next year.
GROWTH & INCOME
Strong, stable and value, these are a few of the words that conjure up when I think about my G&I mutual funds. The stability in these guys is second to none, and if you find a good one you’ll be pleasantly surprised at dividend payouts throughout a calendar year. As a unit these guys returned 7.95%, my best fund of this group brought in 9.63% and the worst 5.63%, not bad during the great recession!
There’s not a better bang for your buck than a company match through the good old 401k. Whether 50% or 100% the instant return on your pre-tax income leaves me salivating for more. As the company I work for has ended the matching program, I will still be contributing at a slightly lower rate and expect this number to come down in the coming years. My 401k has returned 20.49%, and over time should come in line with barely beating inflation, so for now I’ll take the victory.
Diversification has been a very valuable tool for me during the past few years. Some funds are up, some are up nicely, and others lag behind. Over time I whole heartedly expect my funds to surpass expectations and to date, having returns as a whole at around 7.5% is pretty sweet. I’m beating inflation & taxes, and after the best January in the last 15 years in the market and on the forefront of a presidential election year, I’m still bullish J