The 25 Best Mutual Funds -- 2007

Why settle for less? These funds bear our mark of excellence.

If you feel confused, even dazed, by the proliferation of mutual funds in the marketplace, you're forgiven. Somehow, there are almost as many funds available as there are listed stocks, and most of them aren't exactly shy about tooting their own horn. So for our annual Kiplinger 25 survey, we've explored this vast universe for you and picked the best stock and bond funds to help you meet your wealth-building goals.

Our rigorous selection process is part science, part art. We only consider funds that do not levy a sales load, and we generally avoid funds with high ongoing fees. Like sales fees, steep expenses are a serious drag on your efforts to compound money over the years. We favor funds with modest minimum initial investments, typically $2,500 or less. And we shy away from unwieldy funds afflicted with asset bloat.

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