If you want to invest your money in stocks, bonds and other investment instruments, but you don't have the time to research individual investment interests, putting your money into a mutual fund is a viable alternative. A mutual fund is an investment company that uses the capital from many individuals to make investments on their behalf. Before you invest with a mutual fund, however, you may use a free online mutual fund analysis tool to help find the right fund for your needs.
The online mutual fund screener from Yahoo Finance has drop-down menu boxes that reveal data you may use to select the type of fund you want. It has several categories -- including "Performance Returns," "Holdings" and "Ratings" -- that give detailed information related to each fund. Select from each category the criteria you want, such as the maximum amount of fees you want to pay, to reveal the mutual funds that fit your needs.
The MarketWatch Mutual Fund Screener online tool from the Wall Street Journal has three drop-down menus: "Fund Type," "Net Assets" and "Return." Each has a list of options to help you choose the mutual fund in which you want to invest. After you select your criteria, the tool displays the results in a list. Clicking on the name of a fund will open the page that contains its detailed information.
The Fund Screener by Charles Schwab is a simply formatted page, unlike other online fund screeners that have many colors and/or graphics. However, it has options and categories for selecting a mutual fund that are on par with the other tools. In addition to standard search categories such as "Fees and Expenses," "Risk" and "Performance," the tool also has the "Schwab Select List" option, which narrows the list of mutual funds to those that meet Charles Schwab's quality standard.
The MSN Money Mutual Fund Screener enables you to search for the right mutual fund by using clickable drop-down boxes similar to other fund screener tools. The tool offers advanced search options, such as "Manager Tenure," which is the length of time the current management team has been running the fund. A "Show Explanations" option reveals the description of each search category. Like the other fund tools, the results are displayed as a clickable list.
- Investopedia: Tutorial: Mutual Fund Basics Tutorial
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: Invest Wisely: An Introduction to Mutual Funds
- Yahoo! Finance: Mutual Fund Screener
- Schwab: Fund Screener
- The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch: Mutual Fund Screener
- MSN Money: Mutual Fund Screener
- Schwab: Mutual Fund OneSource Select List