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  1. I wander between Dean Ornish's reversal diet and prevention diet. Breakfast and lunch are close to non-fat. Dinner is very low fat, but some meat. Pretty much no prepared foods. Mainly white meat chicken for the niacin to boost HDL.
  2. Open up Excel and do your what-if calculations. That 5% fee going in is significant. Load funds don't average 5% more per year in return. You'll need to do more record keeping to take advantage of the other class of funds. Do your Math, and be sure of your results. Its your money. I don't use load funds. I look for stable growing funds, few if any negative years over a 10 year period. TEN YEARS. That eliminates a lot.
  3. I had a triple bypass last year. Everyone exercise 5 times a week 30 minutes minimum, break a sweat, and eat your fruits, vegies, and a low fat diet. Then you'll live long enough to enjoy your investments. Best place, for me, to do internet research on health ? www.pubmed.gov and www.findarticles.com What did I do wrong ? Genetics and diet with a LOT of transfats, not enough fruit. My cholesterol was in the normal range. I'm slim, don't smoke, don't drink, and ate a moderate low-fat healthy diet. But I survived because I liked whole wheat bagels, ate a lot of chicken breast, some vegies, drank a lot of OJ, and exercised like my life depended on it. Turns out I had collateral circulation like an Olympic athlete, and survived on that until my main arteries were nearly totally blocked (99%) and I had debilitating angina. Went in for an angiogram, scared the doctors, who did the emergncy bypass the next morning. I beat the odds, playing them conservatively. I always told people I exercised to beat an anticipated heart attack in my 50's. Heart attack did not come, but I just missed it.
  4. 100% gain over 10 years might be 10% a year if you don't compound, which you do. To figure that , for simplicity just use the Rule of 72. If it takes 10 years to double, then 72/10 = 7.2, your return in that case is about 7.2 % a year. A 10% return will double in about 7.2 years. Use a calculator, or Excel, and calculate 1.072 to the 10th power. You'll get 2.004. 1.10 to the 7.2 and you get 1.986. But yes, those negative years are extremely punishing. If you eliminate funds based on negative return years, it makes fund selection far more simple, and considering a spiking fund just provides profits to market timers who will sell when and extract profit way too often for the casual investor to be able to do very well. The "boring" funds actually produce superior returns in the long haul. If you can be an active trader, you can do more risky things, but then it is a "Do un to others before they do un to you." Let those people take advantage of each other. Look for consistency, and primarily positive returns. But if they are too high, then they will be the new darling, and they'll more tha likely have returns diminish, in a few years, if not in just one. I played that game somewhat successfully, then got burned. After some success with American Funds, I shifted to Robertson Stephens funds about 10 years ago, and I got about 20+% returns for about 4 years. I then shifted to Weitz, which had had 30+% for the same period, and a $25,000 minimum. Well, Weitz had 1 good years followed by a series of bad years. When it came back after 5 years to where it had been after the first year gain, I shifted to a more sedate but regular upward fund. At least now I have a higher limit on Roth contributions, and am within 6 years of being able to take funds out, if I wanted, tax-free. But If I work 11 more years, I'll try to max the Roth contributions. Even then, I'll just withdraw funds occasionally, and continue to let it grow. By the way. I had a triple bypass last year. Everyone exercise 5 times a week 30 minutes minimum, break a sweat, and eat your fruits, vegies, and a low fat diet.
  5. Last year I moved about $33,000 from Weitz Funds to T Rowe Price. I picked their Capital Appreciation Fund and Real Estate Fund. Both nice consistent performers, few down years. CAF without a down year in nearly 12 or 15 years. Weitz had been averaging 30+% for about 10 years. I caught one big up year, then down years, then it finally caught up and was ahead of where I started. Enough fluctuation for me. Despite $25,000 minimums, Weitz still was flooded by too much money, and could not make high returns for awhile. They average out. Look for a consistent fund whose investments you like and/or use.
  6. Despite a Math degree, it did not occur to me for years (decades really) that year to year returns can not be averaged using addition to get a cumulative total return. The most important factor in growth, few if any negative years. They cause too much of a hit to the growth. Why, because year to year, it is a multiplication factor on the money. Start with $100. Gain 20%, you have $120. Lose 20%, you have .80 * $120 = $96. Is average return 0% ? No. Its -2%. Average of down $2 each year. Continue, gain 50%, you have $144. Next lose 16.6%, you have $120 again. Four years. Moved from $100 to $120. Looks like 5% a year to me. But as a 4th root, its actually a little less, 4.7% +20, -20, +50, -16. Adding, its looks like +70-36 = +34, averaging about 8.5%, not +20% total and 4.7%. To check a real cumulative return over a multi-year period, you need to add or subtract the decimal to 1.00, and multiply them all. For average ? You need the nth root. Use Excel or some other calculator that lets you do any root you want. Why ? That speculative fund with the occasional huge returns, but occasional losses, comes down to a very mundane average very quickly. Turns out a consistent real return of 10% or 12% is far more impressive than you think. Work with the consistent funds. Don't even bother looking at the big returns. I've done some of both, got lucky for awhile, then got burned. Now I've picked a few funds with nice low to mid teen long term returns, and few negative years. Better late than never.
  7. On mutual funds where rate of return is not guaranteed, pay more attention to negative years. -40% followed by +60% does NOT equal +20% net, 10% average. FALSE, FALSE, FALSE Take $100. lose 40%, or $40. now $60. gain 60%, or $36 now $96, net for two years of -4%, avg -2%. To get the average, one would multiply (1 (+/- performance)/100) for each year, subtract 1, divide by number of years. From the above example. (((1-.40)*(1+.60)) -1)/ 2 =( (.60 * 1.60)-1) /2 = (.96 - 1) / 2 = -.04 / 2= -.02 When a fund shows a long term average performance, there might be a standard for how they show this, but I'm not sure. There's liars, damn liars, and statisticians. IMHO, the funds with the fewest negative years are actually doing the best. Its also reflected in the long term averages. Negative years really mess up long term performance. Different funds within companies have different performance, the risk is available to view. Some managers are better than others, even within companies.
  8. Whatever you do, read the entire contract. The less scrupulous companies will bury little gotchas, like a new commission year when you increase an investment amount. And they will then encourage you to increase the investment every year, to get a commission every year. So read the whole thing, no matter how dry. You are looking for the poison pill that is just for you. You want to be sure there are none.
  9. Chasing funds can make them tank. Weitz funds were very until 6 years ago, 30+% for nearly 10 years. Then flooded with 10 times the money AND the market tanked. Well, they had three negative years along with the rest of the market, followed by 40+, 20, and a zero last year in the main fund I was in. Net of 2% average for 6 years. I move out a bit more than I moved in. But I've done well with $3200 becoming $32,000. Not much, but something. TRP's Capital Appreciation Fund has not gone negative in 15 years. I just moved 60% of a ROTH IRA there. Avoiding poor performance goes a long way to offset spikes up and down. I'm now watching for more of a smooth sail, with good results when others have trouble.
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