A COUPLE OF THINGS...
Just got to know what's going on with your fund? Curious about what stocks the portfolio manager buys and sells everyday? Wonder what he or she really does all day long?
If that need-to-know is in your blood, there['s now a fund that shows and tells all on the Internet. Could this be the shape of things to come?
Leave it to Californians to bring you the OpenFund. MetaMarkets.com, Inc. in San Francisco bills its fund as, "The first interactive mutual fund---live on the Web!". And that it is as posting for all of the fund's holdings ---like AOL, FDX, GE and Yahoo!---are not only listed with their market price revealed, but you can also see those share prices change throughout the day.
Along with the fund's current holdings, you'll find out things like how many shares of each the fund holds, what the purchase price was, the stock's symbol, and how the holding is fairing in the fund.
Naturally, there's an on-line prospectus and the ability to purchase shares of the fund electronically, provided your bank is affiliated with the Automated Clearing House.
And if you want to get an idea of what's happening on the firms' trading desk, there's a camera that allows you to zoom in. Literally.
During my look, I saw the casual trading room, then zoomed in closer, focused on someone's screen, then backed off a bit. On their desks, soda cans, a ripening banana and a cake-by-mail box. Not sure whether or not those snap shots helped me learn much about the fund but they sure tipped me off to some of the habits of those running it.
On-line visitors can also speak to management by leaving messages on the message boards, read those that management sends out and forward them to e-mail buddies.
The OpenFund is brand new to the market, is managed by a team, and is the first fund offering from MetaMarket.com., Inc. We'll have to wait and see whether it can deliver good returns.
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Calling all teachers: If you'd like your students to learn about investing, American Century has just the ticket. It's now offering a 10-week educational investment program that's free schools---public, private and home schools--- around the country.
Called "Tips For Kids", this program is designed for those in the middle grades ( 6th, 7th, and 8th) and above and is the result of a joint effort between American Century and the Learning Exchange, an educational consulting, training and research company.
The Tips For Kids program includes curriculum in math, social studies, and language arts and is divided into four modules. Money & Me looks at the history of money and its value. Economic Encounters focuses on money management, economics and money decision making skills. Mastering Finance looks at banks, credit, debts and at personal finance. and Business Building emphasizes job skills and developing a business.
To order the program, either visit the web site at www.tips4kids.com ; call American Century at 800-345-2021, ext. 5151, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until p.m. CST; or, write: American Century Investments, Tips For Kids, P.O. Box 418210, Kansas City, MO 64179-0350.
Speaking of kids, Kemper Funds has a great, new 24-page brochure titled "How Will I Pay For My Child's College Expenses," that covers everything from information on Education IRAs to ideas about alternative aid sources. It's free by calling 1-800-621-1048.
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