Mutual Fund Meltdown

There are about 600 mutual fund families. Most of them can't beat the market. So why do we need them?

What's the point of paying a professional to manage your money when you can do just as good a job, if not better, on your own? That was the question Hillsboro, Ore., computer consultant Larry Taylor, 40, and his friends asked themselves three years ago. Sick of sitting on the sidelines of a raging bull market, watching individual stocks skyrocket as their mutual funds crawled along, Taylor's crew decided to take matters into their own hands. Pooling assets, they chose a diversified portfolio of tech, pharmaceutical and manufacturing stocks and have enjoyed 30% annual returns ever since. "We got tired of...

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