Build Your Own Mutual Funds

February 10, 2010|By David Lester

As you’ve probably already read, 80% of mutual funds under perform the market.  Why would I ever pay up to 2.5% in management fees to under perform anything?  You can really see that they don’t have our best interests in mind.  When the market was correcting huge in 2008 and 2009 did any of the managers go to cash?  Any strategic moves? No way.  The reason for this is that if the market had swung upwards at any point during the correction and they had not participated in it, they would have been fired.  So over the cliff we all went.  As long as the managers stay close to the index, -30 may that be, the safer their jobs were.  

That doesn’t sit well with my love of money, and that is why I manage my own money.  I know at this point you feel queasy at the thought of going through company annual reports, balance sheets, and listening to conference calls, right?  Well it is so much easier than that.  What I do is find a mutual fund or index fund that I believe in and then I copy it and save the management fee.  I, for example, love dividend yield.  I’ll search for the best dividend funds or index funds and then rip off their top holdings for $5 a trade at my discount brokerage.  That way I’m in control of what I do with my dividends.  

There are many options when I’m in control of the dividends.  I could save the dividends up and buy another high yielding stock when I have enough funds to do so.  Which adds diversification to my portfolio for free.  I could also set the dividends up on a drip (dividend reinvestment plan) program.  My dividends would then buy me more stocks every quarter as they got paid out.  This way you naturally buy stocks higher and lower as the market changes over time. The indie term for this is dollar cost averaging. Quarterly I would receive more stocks that the following quarter would buy me even more stocks — and all for free.  This is a great way to accelerate growth over the long run. If I’m having a good month I might even pay myself my very own management fee and have an amazing dinner out with friends or family.  

If you share my love of dividends, look up the top holdings of XDV, the iShares dividend index. This ETF mirrors the 30 top stocks in the Dow Jones Canada Select Dividend Index.  You can grab the list of stocks right off their web site, plus their weightings.  To keep down my trading costs I buy just the top 15 stocks–making up 63% of the index. If you own them you’ll be participating when the index rises–in the last year it went up roughly 36%. You are given each stock’s weighting in the index which I could match, but with such small percentage differences between the top 15 I just buy them in equal weightings. If you did purchase the later you would have a 4.8% yield and some of Canada’s top dividend yielding companies.  When the dividend index is going up I know that I’m participating in the growth, and I have to keep checking back once a quarter or so to see if any of  my 15 have fallen off the list. I then simply make the appropriate trade to match the new top 15.  This is all on top of those sweet sweet dividends that are paying me quarterly.  

Make your own Mutual Funds and pay yourself instead of the managers.  You’ll love your money so much more.  

David Lester
About David Lester

David Lester is a best selling author and professional Financial Coach, helping people be better with their money. David has written a personal finance book that breaks with traditional attitudes towards finance and describes his own philosophy to money that he has gained through his personal and professional experiences. His philosophy on money applies to many areas of everyday life, including banking, investing, goal setting, shopping and entertainment.