The best time to plan your best investment strategy and pick the best funds for 2012 is now, because last year's investment strategy and best funds could put you in the poor house by year end 2012. There's a rocky road ahead for stocks and bonds, and you'll need a new strategy and the right funds to keep your investment portfolio balanced and out of serious trouble.
For the average investor the best investment strategy will still revolve around bond funds and stock funds in 2012, but the focus will change. The best bond funds will be more defensive, and the best stock funds will be more conservative and income oriented. The USA and much of the free world is facing heavy debt problems on the one hand and slow economic growth one the other. Defense is the name of the game going forward. If you can sidestep heavy losses now and throughout 2012: you will be in a position to step up to the plate when the dust finally settles.
The best bond fund investment strategy is to hold SHORTER-TERM high quality CORPORATE bond funds - and NOT long-term funds that invest primarily in government securities. If interest rates take off long term bonds will fall substantially in value. A mutual fund holding issues that mature in about 5 years will be hurt much less than one that holds long term maturities of 20+ years. That's not a guess. That's how the bond market reacts to rising interest rates. I suggest going with corporate vs. government bond funds for two reasons. First, corporate bond issues pay higher interest than U.S. Treasury notes and bonds. Second, corporate America is in excellent financial shape vs. the U.S. government.
The best investment strategy in the stock department is to avoid or sell equity (stock) funds that invest heavily in growth and/or small-company stocks. These often pay little or no dividend income to investors, and in a volatile and declining stock market these funds can get clobbered. The best stock funds for 2012 will be EQIUTY INCOME large-cap funds that invest in high-quality major corporations with excellent records for paying above average dividend yields. A 2% to 3% dividend income might not make you rich, but a steady reliable income stream from America's highest quality companies tends to cushion portfolio losses in a bad stock market.
Over the past several years I have included owning gold, gold stocks and gold funds as part of my recommended best investment strategy. For 2012 I no longer include gold in my investment strategy, primarily because gold's price has become extremely inflated over the past few years. Gold has become more of a speculation than a hedge against inflation or disaster. Instead of holding gold I would suggest putting some of your investment dollars in an insured account at your local bank. Sometimes cash is king, especially when interest rates are extremely low and rising. Money market funds are the best funds for safety. When rates move up they should become quite attractive as a safe haven for investors.
Both the best stock funds and best bond funds for 2012 will be defensive in nature. They will also have something else in common... a low cost of investing. Keeping costs low is always an ingredient in the best investment strategy for average investors. Invest in low-cost no-load INDEX funds whenever possible to automatically increase your total returns by 1%, 2% or more year in and year out. That might not sound like much, unless you consider that you haven't been able to earn 2% in safe liquid investments for the past few years.
In summary, your best investment strategy for 2012 and going forward: an even split between relatively short-term corporate bond funds and high quality large-cap equity- income funds. The best bond funds and best stock funds in these categories will be low cost no-load (no sales charges) INDEX funds with low yearly expense ratios. The best safe investments may be found by shopping local banks or credit unions until interest rates really take off. After that the best safe investment will likely be money market mutual funds.Best Funds and Best Investment Strategy Now For 2012
Author James Leitz teaches investment basics, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and how to invest in his investing guide for beginners called INVEST INFORMED. Put Jim's 40 years of investing experience to work for you and get up to speed at http://www.investinformed.com. Learn how to invest.