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Chapter 32. Lessons to Remember

Mutual funds form a prominent part of many individuals' entire investing program. The growth of mutual fund assets in recent years is extraordinary, which means that investors have voted with their checkbooks. For many of us, over most of our investing life, investing either for retirement purposes or for wealth-enhancement purposes in taxable accounts means a major commitment to mutual funds.

Mutual funds have worked well for many investors for a long period of time. If success can be judged by dollars invested, mutual funds, with assets of approximately $7 trillion, must be judged successful. If success can be judged by the percentage of total mutual fund assets owned by households, mutual funds must be judged successful because this percentage rose from 76 in 1990 to 80 in 2000. If success can be judged by the percentage of U.S. households owning mutual funds, mutual funds must be judged successful because this percentage went from about six in 1980 to 52 by the end of 2001.


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