10 Great Mutual Funds to Invest In for the Long Haul

These top mutual funds to invest in for a long time horizon don't all have the same goals, but they share a number of advantages.

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If you're planning 10, 20, 30 years down the road, and you're trying to decide on mutual funds to invest in over a very long stretch, we've got some good news, and some bad news.

The bad news is: There's no "silver bullet." What might be a great fund for your neighbor might not be the one for you – after all, your goals, risk tolerance and investment horizon might be different.

The good news is, your search isn't going to be that difficult. Many of the best mutual funds to invest in, if you're looking well down the road, have a few characteristics in common:

  • Below-average expenses: If all else is equal, lower expenses translate to superior long-term returns because more of your investment will be compounded over time. It's a little more difficult to pinpoint this relationship when you're comparing actively managed funds, which have different (and sometimes changing) management teams. But generally speaking, even the best fund managers will have a harder time outperforming their benchmark and peers with high expenses.
  • 10-year history minimum: If you're investing for a long time, you want an idea of how management conducts itself over a long time horizon. You want to evaluate funds been in existence for at least the past decade.
  • Manager tenure (actively managed funds): That said, it's hard to know what to expect if a 50-year-old fund has a brand-new manager at the helm. So for actively managed funds, you ideally want managers that have been around for at least most of the past decade, if not longer. (You can obviously ignore this guidance for index funds.)
  • Top-tier performance in their category: In general, past performance is not indicative of future results. Still, strong management teams should outperform over time, and you want to compare apples to apples, picking funds that can beat other similar funds.

Here, we look at 10 great mutual funds to invest in for the long haul, based on these criteria. This list is a blend of core holdings, ranging from broad U.S. stock exposure to sector products to bond funds and more. In other words: There's something here for just about every long-term portfolio objective.

Data, provided by Morningstar, is as of Oct. 18. Yields represent the trailing 12-month yield, which is a standard measure for equity funds.

Kent Thune
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Kent Thune, CFP, is a financial professional that helps individuals and businesses achieve their goals through a variety of delivery methods, including investment advice, financial planning and writing.