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No-Load Honors

By Dian Vujovich

For nearly a dozen years I wrote a weekly column for The Miami Herald about mutual funds. That was in the decades surrounding and including the 1990s when mutual funds were in their media heyday. In those days any push-and-pull about funds centered around whether investors ought to pay a sales charge on their fund investments or not. Mr. Vanguard, John Bogle, lead the invest-only-in-no-load-funds parade. Tooting that same horn was Sheldon Jacobs. founder of the very well-respected investment newsletter, The No-Load Fund Investor. I still read it today.

Jacobs died earlier this month at the age of 84. Reports are he died while out walking near his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. A kind exit for an always-pleasant guy I knew from my old mutual fund reporting days. And, one who made his readers wiser and many of those who followed his investment advice no doubt wealthier.

In addition to the newsletter he founded in 1979, Jacobs wrote two dozen books about investing. His last book, Investing without Wall Street, offered five investment principles everyone needs to heed no matter which investment choices they make: load or no-load funds, stocks, ETFs, bonds, private equity, limited partnerships, hedge funds, etc.

Jacobs’ five investment principles are:

1. Determining the right asset allocation.
2. Diversity within asset classes.
3. Understand and control risk.
4. Keep your costs low.
5. Choose the right financial media to follow.

Good advice, for sure, and job well done, Sheldon.

At the end of February 2015, Kiplinger published its list of the top 25 no-load funds.
Performances were given over various time frames that include the past 1-, 3-, 5-, 10- and 20-year periods.

Funds were categorized under five headings: Large-company stock funds, Small-and Midsize company stock funds, International Stock Funds, Specialized/Commodity/Go-Anywhere funds, and Bond funds.

While there are too many funds and performance results to list, here is some of what I found interesting:

• Over the past 1- and 3-year time periods, the S&P 500 outperformed the top five funds in the Large-Company grouping.

• Five of the seven top performing Small-and Midsize funds listed outperformed the Russell 2000 index given the 1-year time frame.

•None of the seven bond funds listed outperformed the Barclays US Agg. Bond Index given the 1-year time frame.

•Most importantly, performance returns were all over the board in all categories and in all time periods listed.

Bottom line: Load or no-load, it’s all about who picked what and for how long.

For more information about Kiplinger’s 25 Favorite No-Load Mutual Funds visit:

Information about The No-Load Fund Investor can be found at: noloadfundinvestor.com

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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