Making a Clear Distinction Between Morningstar’s Dual Fund Rating Systems


Recently, I was asked by a beginning fund investor to explain why Morningstar has two “ratings” on mutual funds, and which one should she use.  She made reference to an article [“Flummoxed by Our Ratings? Here’s What You Need to Know,”] on Morningstar’s website written by Russell Kinnel, director of manager research for Morningstar. The […]

A Mutual Fund All About Women

Investing for Women

If you go to and type in PXWEX in the Quote box, you’ll get its take, albeit a limited one, on Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund [hereafter referred to as PXWEX or Fund], which should be, for obvious reasons, of interest to the membership of WIFE. This fund made the news in June […]

Some Factual Perspective for Bond Fund Investors


Tim Buckley succeeded Gus Sauter as Vanguard’s chief investment officer over a year ago. Among various topics touched on during an introductory interview, the comments of Mr. Buckley on the challenges facing bond investors back then are worth repeating now: “Bonds … are an area of concern for us [Vanguard]. … At the same time, […]

Net Asset Value & Total Return – Clarifying Two Key Mutual Fund Data Points

Money Ideas

It has been my experience with many attendees at my investment education lectures that they do not have a clear understanding of two basic mutual fund concepts – net asset value (NAV) and total return (TR). While related, these two features of fund investing have two distinct functions – the former relates to the pricing […]

Morningstar’s Stars – Perry Como Got It Right

Starry Eyed

Readers in the so-called “senior” category will remember Perry Como as one of America’s favorite pop vocalists and television performers, with a career that stretched from the 1940s to the late 1980s. If you’re a youngster, ask your parents and they’ll confirm my story. In 1952, Como’s song “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your […]

What Should Fund Investors Do With Style Boxes? Use Them!

Get Square

Background Several years ago, Morningstar’s Don Phillips invented what is called a style box, now widely used by the investment community to categorize mutual funds according to investment characteristics of their portfolios. Fund categorization allows investors to diversify the asset-allocation of their portfolios by choosing a selection of funds according to varying degrees of risk […]

Sizing Up Your Investment Risk

Business woman on top of the world

Albert Einstein – “Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted” If you have money in, or are just thinking about, emerging market mutual funds, I would strongly suggest that you incorporate the message found in the Einstein quote in your thought process. The investment community’s assessment of emerging markets seems to focus its evaluations on […]

Common Sense: You Can’t See It or Touch It, But It’s a Great Investing Tool

Common Sense

Fund investors have dozens of tools to choose from to help them make smart mutual fund investment choices. Fund databases, websites, calculators, screening software, newsletters, videos, publications, message boards, and financial media are readily available. For many individuals, the investing process is a bit of a mystery, and they are intimidated by a perceived information-overload. […]

BlackRock’s Misguided Guidance – The Devil Is in the Details


New York-based investment manager, BlackRock Investments, LLC, started running a full- and half-page color ads in the Wall Street Journal. The attention-grabbing ad headline, in large bold letters, that “Traditional Bond Funds You Once Considered Safe Investments May Not Be So Safe Anymore” must have been a bit unnerving to some bond investors. The advertisements’ […]