Anybody want to educate me?
I will, but you gotta pay me first
Kidding. If I'm gonna buy a Mutual Fund, I look for 4 things, specifically, before buying.
1.) Type of Fund.
Because I'm relatively young, 29, and have a minimum of 30 years to stay invested, I only buy 5 types of funds. Growth, Growth and Income(or Blue Chip), Small Cap Growth (Or Aggressive), International Growth, and Index Funds (VFINX is probably the best you're gonna find).
2.) Age of Fund
I don't buy any funds that haven't been around at least 10 years. Age and experience will overcome youth and vigor.
I look at the fund's performance over the last 5 years, 10 years, and lifetime. The best way to evaluate performance is to compare the returns to the S&P, and other funds in it's category.
4.) Fees and Expenses
If you don't want to pay a "Load Fee", find a No Load Fund. I don't mind paying a Load in some cases because the performance more than compensates. You want low expense ratios if you can find them.
One other thing, I don't buy sector specific funds, because the market treats different sectors well/poorly at different times, I want a piece of the ENTIRE MARKET, not just certain parts.