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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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I'd be glad if the folks here could recommend some good "balanced" or "hybrid" funds--- beyond my own particular choices: MAPOX (out of that one and redeployed) and PRWCX (closed.) I've looked at TRP Balanced RPBAX. That one is on my list. Others? Thank you all.


  • VTMFX - uses municipal bonds to make it more tax efficient in taxable accounts. It's 1, 3, 5 and 10 year record speaks for itself.
  • JABAX has been in many respects at or near the top for some time, marginally.
  • Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.
  • TRP's RPGAX has an eclectic global mix plus some black box hedge fundyness if that's your thing. MFO reviewed it a few years ago.
  • edited December 2018
    @Crash To what do you have access, aside from TRP offerings?
    Which funds have you already reviewed?
  • Reviewed:
    MAPOX PRWCX JABAX RPBAX VTMFX DODBX. This is not for me. Someone who's a babe in the woods wants to get a rather late start, saving/investing for retirement. I wanna KISS the whole thing. Keep it simple, stupid. A single fund should be fine, starting from scratch. DODBX is already where another individual has money, per my recommendation. Could be that I'll recommend that one for this other person too, since PRWCX is still closed. But starting at 50 years old may present both a challenge and opportunity to decide upon another. I'm starting to do some preliminary looking for her, is all.

    I see RPGAX up there, but I've not looked at it yet. Thanks, guys.
  • Wellington strikes me as self-recommending.
  • So, for this other person..........401k, 403b, traditional or Roth IRA???

    Gonna need some better baseline for such a project, eh?
  • You can always roll your own, 50-50 or 25-75 or whatever w/ PONAX and DSENX (or SCHD or CAPE or whatever) and call it a day; still a distant horizon at 50y.
  • edited December 2018
    Here's another one to check out if you can get it load waived , I bought it thru Fido, BALFX. This fund family is popular with 401k plans, and was new to me until recently, when I decided to add a balanced fund. Also have FBALX, but it's a bit more volatile.
  • edited December 2018
    Strikes me that this is an impossible (or nearly impossible) question to answer. Even if you could segregate out each distinct management approach (of dozens) you still would find variances within each group depending on any given market period. But I admire the perseverance and efforts of @Catch22 and the others in attempting to reach a satisfactory resolution.

    Being biased, I looked for a “Best Funds” list that would contain something I own. Bingo. Of the ten recommendations from M* on the linked list, I own three. DODBX, PRWCX and OAKBX. The first two will provide a better return over the 20+ time horizon being mentioned. (I’d put low cost DODBX slightly ahead of PRWCX). But the third, OAKBX. is the fund I’d least be willing to part with. Not racy. Not going to lead the pack. But I really feel they look out to protect your investments better in down markets than the other two.

    Look at some other lists. If possible, see if you can compare the ‘07-‘09 losses of various balanced funds. From what you say about your friend being risk averse - that’s where I’d look for insights.
  • suggest using mfopremium
  • edited December 2018

    suggest using mfo premium


  • OK, Thanks to all. The picture is unfolding: I found out she's got debts to pay.... ORK!
  • The best "1 fund" will always be a retirement target date fund - over time.
  • edited December 2018
    @Crash: One of the best balanced funds that I own is by American Funds. Its ticker symbol is ABALX. One can get into this fund for as little as $250.00 plus it carries five stars form Morningstar. Perhaps the person you are helping will have enough left over after paying bills that she can still become an investor?
  • @Crash: Scroll down and read article on BERIX.
  • Howdy @Crash
    My last for this.......
    You noted: "I found out she's got debts to pay."
    This doesn't preclude not investing, yes? Had this household shunned investing in IRA's or 401k's because of debt, we wouldn't have as large a monetary smile, this 4th day of December, 2018.
    So, with debt; one has bad debt (spends and doesn't pay down credit cards,etc.) or good debt (needs a vehicle for work which requires a monthly payment).
    One of several key words with living, money and investing is "prudent". If this lady is prudent with spending habits, which means a "budget"; she may also invest some amount, correct?
    We here at MFO have discussed this area of portfolio "suggestions" for many years; and it still remains that too often, not enough information is provided to be of consequence for a fruitful presentation.

    --- For the below chart list and the funds within: all are within a moderate allocation range, with a prospectus of 50-70% equity, generally U.S. oriented. A range of loss for these funds during the market melt 10 years ago was more/less a -30 to -40%. The annualized total return for 15 years ranges from, +7.1% through 8.1%. Current yields range from 1.9% through 2.4%.
    Almost a 20 year view of some of the "balanced" funds mentioned:,FBALX,JABAX,VBINX,ABALX,DODBX&p=6&O=011000

    Lastly, a so called balanced fund has many names, too, yes?

    Cest tout for this person. Chores call.

  • edited December 2018
    Agree 100% with Catch. Most of us would never have started saving if we waited until 100% debt free. She sounds skittish (actually both of you). So I’d suggest a really conservative offering with some growth potential. Once you accumulate some - even a small amount of - savings you begin to realize the power you have to control your financial future.

    Per Ol’ Dick Strong and others: Pay yourself first.

    Edit / Add: Automatic investing is probably the easiest approach. Whether per paycheck or ACH transfer on a regular basis.
  • edited December 2018
    Hi @Catch22 & others: I checked behind you through Morningstar performance to get the total return for ABALX vs. BERIX and came away with difference results than what your net asset value graph persented. I believe it left out fund distributions and tracked only net asset values and not the total return of the subject funds. I found the total return for ABALX for its 1, 3, 5, 10 & 15 year periods to be 4.01%, 8.68%, 7.84%, 11.31% & 7.38% respectively. In looking at BERIX I found its total return for the same 1, 3, 5, 10 & 15 year periods to be 1.12%, 4.11%, 2.81%, 8.05% & 6.18%.

    Thought you would like to know this.

  • Hi @Old_Skeet
    The chart was not intended to provide year periods total returns; only to let one "VIEW" with ease what some of the funds in this category provided for total return over the time frame used.
    StockCharts include all current and updated total returns for any form of distributions and/or splits (per their site).
    The numbers you present for 15 year returns are within the ranges I noted, for the time period.
  • @Catch22: Thanks for your reply. However, I've most always found that StockCharts tracked only net asset values on mutual funds and not total return. I been looking for detail on this for sometime. Do you have any links that you might direct me to that might explain what the chart data is compiled of in tracking mutual funds?
  • You noted: "I found out she's got debts to pay."
    This doesn't preclude not investing,
    I believe the term is "pay yourself first". I agree with catch.
  • Old_Skeet
    Here is a saved link regarding StockCharts.......and their adjustments.
    Please let me know if I misunderstand this information.

    This is a current, broad based search of the question, which includes StockCharts findings:

  • edited December 2018
    Hi, everyone. Yes, "pay yourself first." Absolutely. She surely can pay down debt and begin to invest at the same time. I just started auto-deductions from my checking acct. each month to get around the stoopid $500 per shot additional investment minimum at PTIAX.

    I would in fact intentionally steer her away from anything with a load. A load-waived arrangement ... well, ok.
    Great chart. Thanks for the comparison!

    BERIX? I think that's not going to be the cup of meat she needs. Anyhow, I think the chart visualizes very well where she ought to go: DODBX. More risk vs. peers, but she truly can't AFFORD to be too conservative. In the end, it's her ship to steer. Anyhow, it's not a high-risk category. 50-70% equities.

    *Today's drastic fall was only to be expected, after yesterday's surge. Just a matter of degree. Like I always say: The Market ALWAYS overreacts, whether up or down.
  • msf
    edited December 2018
    Just an observation, not a suggestion: nearly all the funds mentioned are growth or blend funds on the equity side. My understanding of traditional balanced funds is that they were conservative, value-leaning funds, in the VWELX mold.

    "BERIX? I think that's not going to be the cup of meat she needs." That might mean that you're looking for something closer to the traditional 60/40 split, and not a bond-heavy fund. Or it could mean that you're looking for something less value-oriented, anticipating that growth will continue to lead as it has for at least a decade.
  • edited December 2018
    @Catch22: Thanks for the link. In viewing and reading the details it says for stocks that dividends and distributions are included. I'm thinking this might not be so for mutual funds as I graphed FKINX which is a monthly distribution fund. It chartered pretty much along its nav line. I can't say for certain but I'm thinking for mutual funds the graph follows nav and not total return: but, there again, I could be wrong about this. In viewing the adjustment page that list the securites that adjustments have been recently made I finding only where stocks have had adjustments made to them with no mutual funds being listed. This is why I have been using Morningstar's performace to chart my mutual fund compairsons as I know it is based upon total return. Again, I'm still not satisfied that Stockcharts tracks total return for mutual funds.
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