4. BACKLOG OF TAXABLE GAINS BUILDING UP
Stocks have more than doubled since the market hit bottom in early 2009. That huge gain means there’s a growing likelihood that investors will be hit with tax bills from capital gains. When fund managers sell investments that appreciated in value, they pass on the taxable gains to investors each year. Managers have been able to limit their investors’ tax exposure in recent years by using losses incurred during the stock market meltdown of 2008 to offset gains. But that’s no longer so easy, now that stocks have made such a sustained climb.
Tax exposure is typically greater at funds that trade holdings frequently. It’s an especially important consideration for wealthy investors, now that they’re paying higher rates. One option is to choose funds with moderate to low portfolio turnover. A fund with a turnover ratio higher than 50 percent — meaning more than half the holdings changed hands in a year — could be one to avoid.
If you’re investing in an actively managed fund, consider those using strategies to limit capital gains — they often call themselves ‘‘tax-managed’’ funds.
It’s not easy to sort out all the options on your own, so it might be worthwhile to seek professional help from a financial adviser.
Questions? E-mail investorinsight(at)ap.org