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How to Pick Mutual Funds

Friday, 22 Aug 2008 | 11:02 PM ET

Believe it or not, Cramer gets more questions about mutual funds than stocks. Instead of a recommendation on Exxon Mobil , they want to know which fund is worth buying. Well, today Cramer did these viewers one better: He taught them how to pick their own.

The fund manager’s the most important factor. Potential investors want to review the manager’s career performance. And not just during the good years. Any schmoe can make money in a bull market, Cramer said. You want someone who can help you sidestep the declines. Find out how he did after the dot-com bubble burst.

There are alternatives to mutual funds, though. Cramer’s always been a proponent of buying individual stocks – as long as you have the time to do the right research. On Mad Money, that means one hour per week per stock. If you can’t commit to that, there are always cheap, low-fee index funds, such as those that mirror the S&P 500. Most years, these index funds will beat most actively managed funds, Cramer said.










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