Investor Q&A: Can I choose my own Mutual Funds to invest in?


Short answer: Yes.

You can do this via the Edit Investments button on the Invest page on the website (this feature is not available on the app yet).

Here is a blog post with the step-by-step guide: http://blog.goalwise.com/how-to-choose-your-own-funds/

Long Answer: Just because you can do it does not mean you should do it.

This is something that we wouldn’t recommend unless you know exactly what you are doing.

For most people, investing in the recommended funds according to their risk profile is the best strategy.

Mutual Fund selection is effective when it is done on the basis of a proper strategy that has been tested for its results. Also the selection is not a one-time thing - it needs to be done every year.

At Goalwise, we have spent a lot of time and expertise in building a Mutual Funds selection strategy that has shown good results. We also keeps updating the selections annually (according to the algorithm) to make sure that you are invested in the best Mutual Funds according to your goals and risk profile.

You can read more about our Mutual Fund selection strategy and its back-test here.

You can also see how our selections did 4-6% better than Sensex last year here. So you could have gotten these market-beating returns without having to do anything!

Contrary to what you may believe, investing in 5 star rated funds from some online website (e.g. Value Research or Moneycontrol) is NOT a strategy.

If it was, we would have been the happiest because that would have saved us so much research costs. Why go through all the trouble of having to build your own strategy and test it when you can just pick the best funds off of a website. Sadly, we can't.

Why?

Because what happens to their returns AFTER they become 5-star funds is not known. The ranking providers don't give this information. In fact, if you test out this strategy (which almost no-one does) you might very well find that the 5-star funds performance on average declines AFTER they become 5 star funds. Remember, 5-star funds don't always stay 5-star. And the journey of a mutual fund from 5-stars to 4 or 3-stars is not pretty. How do you know that the fund that you have selected will stay 5-star or is on its way of going back to 4 or 3-stars? You don't have a clue (nor do we, hence we had to build our own strategy which works).

When you choose your own funds, you are in effect ignoring our advice and taking it upon yourself to manage your investments. Once you have done that, it takes your investments outside the scope of our advisory - we would not know when to recommend new funds since we don't know the motivation behind the custom fund selection. You can move back to our advisory whenever you want but until then, you will be on your own (since that is what you are effectively asking for).

Also more often that not, when investors select their own funds, they do so in order to take on more risk, either knowingly or unknowingly (in hope of higher returns) e.g. by investing in all small cap funds rather than say a combination of multi-cap and small cap funds as suggested by Goalwise's algorithm.

This is usually a mistake because when the markets go down (and they will, note I dint say 'if they go down'), the losses will be higher than what you had the stomach for, which will lead you to pulling out of your 'long-term' investments at a loss.

In general, taking a little less risk than you think you have the tolerance for is a good idea when it comes to investing.

The third reason why you should not do a lot of custom selections is that by doing this you are increasing the number of decisions for yourself, now and for the future as well. The more decisions you force yourself to make, the more the chances of making emotion-driven or knee-jerk decisions. Especially in a field like investing which is full of uncertainty. You want to do the opposite - take advantage of as much automation as possible, set the objectives and leave the details to a proven and systematic strategy.

You want to take a flight and get home safely. You don't want to fly the plane yourself for that.