Mutual funds provide investors with an easy way to participate in the financial markets. While investing in mutual funds is relatively straightforward, investors must choose from tens of thousands of different fund options. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help with identifying, researching, and tracking mutual funds, making the entire experience much smoother and more profitable.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 25 different online tools that make investing in mutual funds a lot easier for individual investors.
FINRA is dedicated to protecting investors and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry. With over 18,000 mutual funds in its database, the organization’s Fund Analyzer estimates the value of the funds along with the impact of fees and expenses on investor returns. Mutual fund investors may consider the tool when analyzing the impact of fees and performance metrics.
24. Morningstar Instant X-Ray
Morningstar is a leading provider of mutual fund information to individual and professional investors. Leveraging its extensive database, Instant X-Ray provides basic portfolio characteristics at a glance, including asset allocation, geographic regions, and sector exposure. Mutual fund investors may want to consider the tool when analyzing their portfolio diversification and track it over time.
23. WSJ Mutual Fund Screener
The Wall Street Journal is a leading provider of financial information and resources for U.S. investors. With an extensive database of mutual funds, the Mutual Fund Screener enables investors to search mutual funds by a variety of different characteristics, including Lipper categories and performance metrics. Mutual fund investors may want to use the screener as a first-step in their research process.
22. Mutual Fund Store Retirement Calculators
The Mutual Fund Store is a nationwide network of registered investment advisors focused on mutual funds. With eight different retirement-related calculators, the organization’s tools help investors analyze everything from the time value of money to 401(k) contribution dynamics. Mutual fund investors may want to check out the tool when analyzing their retirement account options.
21. Dave Ramsey’s Investment Calculator
Dave Ramsey has become an icon of personal finance with his real-life experience and logical advice. Available for free on his website, Mr. Ramsey provides a detailed investment calculator showing returns based on contributions and performance. Mutual fund investors may especially appreciate the “I’m willing to give up…” section that provides various what-if scenarios.
20. BankRate’s Mutual Fund Expense Calculator
BankRate is a popular resource for mortgages, bank rates, credit cards, insurance, auto, investments and other types of planning. By considering nine different factors, the Mutual Fund Expense Calculator provides a detailed overview of a mutual fund’s total expense, including sales charges, deferred charges, and opportunity costs. Mutual fund investors may want to check it out to get a fuller picture of fees.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has created one of the most valuable tools in the investment industry when it comes to analyzing macroeconomic trends. Leveraging its extensive datasets, the FRED tool provides detailed and customizable charts covering just about every major economic indicator imaginable. Mutual fund investors should use the tool when formulating macroeconomic opinions.
Quandl provides data analytics tools designed to help investors find the data they need in the format they want. In particular, the tool provides easy access to free public data in formats that can be consumed on its website via charts or in data feeds that can be incorporated into other platforms. Mutual fund investors may want to check out the service when looking for Excel data sources.
IndexMundi is the most complete provider of country profiles with statistics, charts, and maps compiled from a variety of different sources. With data separated by country or type, investors can easily access everything from economic policy to income distributions across a country’s population. Mutual fund investors can use the tool to analyze any international funds that they are considering.
16. Asset Correlation
Asset Correlation provides tools for private investors to analyze portfolio diversification, correlation analysis, macro valuations, Shiller 10-year P/E’s, portfolio volatilities, and a variety of other data points. Mutual fund investors may want to consider inputting their holdings into the application in order to ensure that they are achieving optimal risk-adjusted returns through diversification.
Macrotrends provides daily charts showing interesting trends in economic data, financial data, and other comparisons. With a variety of different charts showing many assets and comparisons, investors can use the charts to draw macroeonomic conclusions of where the markets are headed. Mutual fund investors may want to check out the website to get an idea of these trends at a glance.
14. Trading Economics
Trading Economics provides a broad array of economic data from around the world compiled in a single location. With a combination of indicators, calendars, and forecasts from hundreds of countries worldwide, the organization provides investors with the raw data needed to formulate investment opinions. Mutual fund investors may want to consider the website for formulating macro opinions.
13. Portfolio Visualizer
Portfolio Visualizer offers a set of tools for analyzing multi-asset class portfolios and the benefits of diversification and multi-factor investing. With a variety of different tools, investors can backtest their returns and risk profiles. Mutual fund investors can use the software to analyze their own portfolios from many different angles in order to improve their overall risk-adjusted returns.
12. CXO Advisory
CXO Advisory provides research and reviews to aid in investment decision-making. With a combination of articles, strategies, books, models, forecasts, calendars, and a variety of other tools, investors can find all the information they need to make better decisions. Mutual fund investors should take a look at the website to learn more about different strategies and find different tools.
11. Fidelity Fund Comparison Tool
Fidelity is a leading provider of financial solutions and mutual funds for individual and institutional investors. With an extensive database of funds, Fidelity’s Fund Comparison Tool enables investors to look at things like returns, risks, fees, expenses, and other factors influencing investment decisions. Mutual fund investors may want to use the tool in selecting the best funds for their needs.
NASDAQ provides a wide array of tools for investors of all types, including those designed for mutual fund investors. Comparing both net asset value and net changes, the NASDAQ Mutual Fund Charting Tool enables investors to instantly compare up to 10 mutual funds in a single graph. Mutual fund investors may want to use the tool as a starting point to compare returns in seconds.
9. Sharpe Ratio Calculator
NestEgg Wealth is a wealth management service provider designed to align financial assets with long-term financial goals using asset allocation strategies. Despite being a simple calculation, Sharpe Ratios provide great insight into risk-adjusted returns for investors across all asset classes. Mutual fund investors may want to use the tool to analyze the Sharpe Ratios of their fund holdings or prospective purchases.
8. Fidelity Closed End Fund Screener
Fidelity’s Closed End Fund Screener gives investors a way to quickly identify closed-end funds with certain characteristics. By looking at net asset values (“NAVs”), investors may be especially interested in those trading at a discount to their net assets. Mutual fund investors – especially those interested in closed-end funds – may want to take a closer look at the tool when screening for opportunities.
7. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a financial planning application that’s free to investors, providing a variety of different insights. In particular, the company’s 401(k) fee analyzer can help determine at a glance how much income is lost to fees over time. Mutual fund investors may want to consider using the app in order to determine these potential issues, as well as track other aspects of their financial life.
SigFig is an app for investors to track their portfolios in terms of fees, asset allocations, and other metrics. With automatic portfolio tracking capabilities, the tool provides investors with an easy way to assess their asset allocations and determine the impact of fees over time. Mutual fund investors may want to use the app in order to track asset allocations that could impact risk and returns.
Finviz provides comprehensive data on stocks, commodities, currencies, and other securities in a variety of useful formats. While most investors are drawn to its comprehensive technical and fundamental stock screener, mutual fund investors may appreciate the data on sector performance, commodities, currencies, and other metrics that can show the direction of macroeconomic trends.
StockMapper is a platform for classifying large collections of stocks or other financial instruments, providing an at-a-glance heatmap view of the market along with detailed quotes, news feeds, and historical graphs. Mutual fund investors may be particularly interested in the website’s insights into sector movements, which can impact certain types of funds that are focused on those sectors.
GuruFocus is a value investing focused platform that helps investors follow many of the greatest investors and funds in the world. While individual investors use the platform to find stock picks from legends like Warren Buffett or Bill Ackman, mutual fund investors can follow specialists that invest in funds, like PIMCO’s Bill Gross, in order to identify what funds experts are buying at what time.
2. Bloomberg Economic Calendar
Bloomberg is a leading provider of business and financial news around the world, as well as unique software and tools for investors. Most professional investors know the company for its Bloomberg Terminals, but individual investors may want to check out its website for additional free tools. In particular, the Bloomberg Economic Calendar provides a list of important upcoming events for the economy.
1. BEA’s Economy at a Glance
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics puts out a lot of extremely detailed and complex reports covering the U.S. economy. While many of these reports can be effectively summarized by reading the financial news, investors may want to check out its Economy at a Glance section to gain a quick all-in-one picture of the economy in a single location with enough data to differentiate it from traditional media.
The Bottom Line
Mutual fund investors have a plethora of free online resources available to them. The above sites can help you become a more informed—and successful—investor over time.
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