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Mutual funds to avoid

- Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman

We already have some 10,000 mutual funds. Every time we have a different economic event in the world, do we need another mutual fund to help us diversify our portfolios?

Heck no. The sad fact is that investment companies create new funds based on current economic conditions to boost the sales.

Here's what one new fund company's public relations department has to say about its new mutual fund.

"This is a unique, relatively new, no-load mutual fund that gives U.S. investors easy exposure to other hard currencies (and gold) as a way to protect against the declining U.S. dollar. Even with the recent rally of the U.S. dollar, it is still down significantly from the euro, pound sterling and others overall and is on the decline again today. The fund has been steadily attracting investors looking to diversify into a basket of hard currencies."

If you want to benefit from the change in the value of the U.S. dollar versus foreign currencies, you can invest in international stock and bond funds. Or you can invest in a global balanced fund that invests in stocks and bonds worldwide.

There are a lot of other low-cost well-managed mutual funds. These funds have long-term track records. So you can see how they perform in both up and down markets.

Check out Vanguard, T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Investments for full line of well-managed mutual funds.

The bottom line: Foreign currency investing is high risk. You don't need it. And this fund has no track record. So you can't even determine if it would help the risk and return on your existing portfolio of mutual funds, stocks and bonds.


Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman are husband and wife columnist and authors of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Making Money With Mutual Funds, (Alpha Books). Al and Gail's new book is Rags to Retirement, (Alpha Books).

To read more columns, please visit the column archive.

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