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Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: Five-Star Strategies for Success 2nd Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471718321
ISBN-10: 0471718327
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Since the publication of the bestselling original Morningstar® Guide to Mutual Funds, investors have confronted some challenging questions head-on. How do you find a mutual fund company you can trust? Are exchange-traded funds a viable alternative to traditional mutual funds? And perhaps a more fundamental question: Are mutual funds still worth investing in?

Completely revised and updated to meet the needs of today's demanding investor, Morningstar® Guide to Mutual Funds, Second Edition answers these questions and many more. Filled with commonsense advice that will help both the novice and seasoned investor, this book outlines the latest tools and techniques needed to select winning mutual funds, create a well-diversified portfolio, and help you reach your financial goals. It shares Morningstar's top mutual fund picks, provides sample portfolios for investors with short-, intermediate-, and long-term time horizons, and tells you how to avoid the pitfalls that trip up so many other investors. Most of all, it will allow you to take an objective look at your investments and make the most informed decisions possible.

Regardless of your investment experience or expertise, Morningstar® Guide to Mutual Funds, Second Edition will show you how to find funds that fit your needs today and in the future. In the following pages, Christine Benz, a Morningstar veteran, uses a detailed, yet easily understandable format to share the knowledge that Morningstar's experts have built over the past twenty-one years. This book delves into topics that will help you learn how to:

  • Build a portfolio of funds that is tailored to your personal situation and goals
  • Determine the role bond funds, index funds, and exchange-traded funds should play in your portfolio
  • Keep your portfolio on the right track with quarterly and annual reviews
  • Minimize costs with an in-depth explanation of expense ratios, loads, and other fund charges
  • Understand the correlation between invest- ment style and risk
  • Identify the key points in assessing the quality of a fund's manager, and your next steps if a fund manager leaves

Through a clear presentation of financial information and lively anecdotes, Morningstar® Guide to Mutual Funds, Second Edition will help you build and maintain a profitable mutual fund portfolio today and for years to come.

From the Back Cover



"Picking actively managed mutual funds is no mean challenge. And as the recent era underscores, past performance is of little help. The Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds helps cut through the fog with a solid volume of constructive information. The central message—'truly diversify, keep it simple, focus on costs, and stick with it'—is not only timeless, it is priceless."
—John C. Bogle, founder and former CEO, The Vanguard Group

"Successful investors know they must do their own due diligence. Morningstar has done much of that homework in this guide. Leave it to Morningstar to get it right, offering smart ways to pick, build and monitor a portfolio. It's a commonsense guide that should grace every investor's shelf."
—Ted David, CNBC Anchor

"There's nothing Morningstar doesn't know about mutual funds. And at last, for ready reference, there's a book. You'll find everything here you need to know about managing fund investments, inside or outside a 401(k)."
—Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek columnist and author of Making the Most of Your Money


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (October 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471718327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471718321
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #720,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is clear, concise, and effective. I've read the first four chapters so far, and it has explained everything I've wanted to know about choosing mutual funds. I was absolutely ecstatic when I saw that the chapter on mutual fund management has an overview of the pros and cons of a number of the well-known fund companies.

One of the reviewers was complaining that this book relies too heavily on Morningstar research. Well, first of all, Morningstar is one of the premier analysis firms in the industry, and as such they have a wealth of great information. Secondly, I have yet to see a place in the book where they ask you to pay for anything. A good portion of the Morningstar website is free, and the book mentions a Morningstar mutual fund book you can get from public libraries. The reviewer also complains about the Morningstar 5-star rating system. The book explains that the star ratings can be used as a screening tool, and stresses the many other factors that should be considered when evaluating a fund. When used in conjunction with other objective criteria, the star rating is a powerful tool to evaluate past returns and volatility.

With all of this in mind, if you are absolutely new to investing, you should become familiar with certain basic investing terms and concepts before reading this book. I highly recommend either The Wall Street Journal's Complete Guide to Personal Finance or The WSJ's Complete Money and Investing Guidebook. For most people, I would say the Guide to Personal Finance would be a good primer.
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Format: Hardcover
This book provided a good broad-based overview of mutual funds and endorses modern portfolio theory. The idea being that a properly allocated portfolio of mutual funds with a focus towards long-term investing will work the best for most investors building their retirement savings. Properly balanced over the years, this style will work better than that of active investors trying to chase hot funds and time the market since very few active managers succeed over the long haul.

If you were to look at a "Top 10" performing mutual fund from 10 or 5 years ago, chances are it isn't a Top 10 fund anymore so you shouldn't buy into the hype of today's current "hot fund". If it were such a solid fund, shouldn't it be a solid fund 10 years later? But this book and similar ones feel that while an active investor and a hot fund may have one good year, they probably have bad years as well, and they probably can't keep up their above-average performance over 30 years.

I read this book along with "All About Asset Allocation" by Richard Ferri and "The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need: The Way Smart Money Invests Today" by Larry Swedroe all of which cover similar ground (an overview of mutual funds, an overview of modern portfolio theory). My favorite is the Swedroe book because of it's straightforward reading style, and it goes a little more in-depth than the Morningstar book.

The Morningstar book only gets 3 stars because unfortunately Morningstar has a product to sell: namely, Morningstar itself. Morningstar makes money buy getting you to use their services (such as their web site) and rely on their ranking system and advice all of which comes through in this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Has your portfolio taken a butt-kicking lately?
Obviously, it's a fact that millions of Americans currently own and will continue to purchase mutual funds. Today many are realizing they didn't monitor, change, or properly allocate some of their funds. Obviously, many will depend on them in the future. 401Ks
are also mutual funds, as well as the traditional and Roth IRA, the 403b among others. Since so many are participating and people will continue to pour billions of dollars into them, the beginning individual mutual fund holder should have this book.
It will primarily benefit those who are new to mutual funds or those who want to increase their general knowledge. Simple, precise explanations. Explanations on proper and true diversification, rates and risk of return, asset allocation, and appropriate risk based upon one's attitude, age, and stomach. It tells one how to look at how a particular fund operates and what it's invested in. Terms such as diversification, dollar-cost averaging, and the fact that past performance is no guarantee of future results are usually known to those who've followed mutual funds already. It is good to understand and calculate the true "cost" of a fund. Declining backend loaded funds are o.k. in solid performing funds that an individual will hold for a period of 5 yeas or more. But does one know if they are gong to be in a fund for five years? When a new fun manager takes over the operations and asset allocation of a fund, it is important to note how and where there may be changes. Know the difference between a micro, small, medium, and large cap index fund. How is a cap defined? Know the difference between a balance, value, international, emerging market, index, and global fund. Global fund?
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