Learning About Funds

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Q: I’m a beginner investor, and I’m 25 years old. My current salary is in the $38,000 to $45,000 range, and I want to start investing as soon as possible. Where would a single female in these [economic] conditions find out how to purchase a mutual fund?
–E. Brundidge, Atlanta

A: Anyone interested in learning about the basics of mutual fund investing can find a wealth of information on the Internet. Almost all of the brokerage companies (Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab, etc.) and online trading companies (CSFB Direct, BuyandHold.com, etc.) have information on purchasing mutual funds as well as offer mutual fund investment strategies.

To understand how to invest before you buy, take the time to visit several Websites. Begin at Mutual Funds Central (www.mutualfundscen tral.com/funddata/). The site is a great resource for research, mutual fund news, and mutual fund data that will help you become more comfortable with investing. You will find an area for mutual fund basics and a list of top mutual fund sites for beginning and savvy investors. Also, check out http://mutual funds.about.com/mbody.htm. Information on the many different types of mutual funds, glossaries, etc., are highlighted — -in language that’s easy to understand. Maxfunds (www.maxfunds.com/) deserves credit for its MAXuniversity which discusses the overall basics of investing and then delivers solid, easy-to-read lessons on how to invest in mutual funds.

Savvy mutual fund investors will find plenty of sites to tickle their fancies on the list found at Mutual Fund Central, including www.fundsin teractive.com, www.morningstar.com, and www.fundalarm.com.