A Quick Way to Browse Mutual Funds

When an article or friend makes you question one of your investment choices, what’s your next step?

Assuming you’ve identified a specific hole in your plan (e.g. you need some international exposure, or lower-priced funds), using a mutual fund screener can help you find alternatives.

A screening tool doesn’t provide answers, but it’s a quick and easy way to browse through the thousands of funds available. (Just remember that the screener on Forbes.com may contain different funds than the MSN Money screener, so check out more than one tool.)

Let’s say you’d like a large-cap growth fund with a low expense ratio, no load and at least four stars. If you plug in your criteria using the MSN Money screener (we like the straightforward interface), you’ll call up several funds.

The ING Large Cap Growth I (IEOHX) is a five-star fund with “average” risk rating, no load and an expense ratio of .60%.

But you may prefer the GMO US Growth III (GMGWX), which is rated “low” in terms of risk, has no load, a lower expense ratio of .46%.

Choosing becomes easier when you’ve narrowed the field.

Aim high. How do you select your investments (stocks, bond, funds, etc.)?