Before we begin, let’s look at what mutual funds were designed to do. They are generally intended to be an investment vehicle for those who want to invest in stocks but don’t have the time or resources necessary to research and monitor their stocks for themselves. These funds also enable investors to pool their capital in order to own a wide variety of stocks without paying countless commission fees. Mutual funds are also designed as a way for average retail investors to mitigate risk through diversification.
We have to ask ourselves now: what does diversification really mean? Is it risk reduction? The answer is yes when you compare the risk of holding a single stock to the risks of holding several. However, when all stocks drop, diversification does little to protect investors. Investors that want total protection have to consider others ways to mitigate their risk. One way is to hedge stocks with options, however this is not possible with mutual funds as they have restrictions that do not allow them to hedge risk through the use of protective options strategies.
In many cases, mutual funds have an obligation to commit their capital to the stock market; some Mutual funds must be in the market 80%, 90% and even 100% of the time. Do you really want to have all of your funds in the stock market if it is selling off? Most people would certainly prefer to keep some of their capital in cash when the stock market is in decline.
There are more risks to mutual funds than just their inflexibility in what percentage of funds must remain in the market; you also have to think about the percentage fees claimed by mutual funds managers. In some cases, they can collect fees merely for replication the performance of the stock market! In that case, one could simply buy an index exchange traded fund and you would be better off because you wouldn’t have to pay the mutual fund management fees!
There are ways for the average investor to avoid the perils of a declining stock market. The most difficult part for many is to accept that mutual funds are not the only way and to have faith that you can and will take better care of your money than anyone else. Once you are able to make that leap from keeping your money in a mutual fund to a self directed account, you will have all the power in your own hands.
When you are in control of your own investments, you have the power to protect your capital. You wouldn’t dream of buying a home or driving a car without the proper insurance so what sense does it make to tie up your capital in the stock market without finding a way to insure it, too? There is no reason to risk the money that you worked a lifetime to get in a mutual fund when you can get greater protection through purchasing put options?
A married put strategy, which is owning a stock in conjunction with a put option, has limited risk, in sharp contrast to a mutual fund, where it is theoretically possible to lose every bit of the capital that you’ve invested. We discuss in great detail not only the married put strategy, but also the adjustments that you can make to this strategy so even if stocks do drop substantially against expectations it might still be possible to earn a profit. There is no way that earning in this way is possible with a mutual fund. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your capital. You can master the knowledge and take your trading to the next level and be able to protect your assets.
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