By Ian Salisbury and Sergei Klebnikov
January 30, 2019

Whatever your outlook, you need an investment plan that will help you weather unhappy surprises. That’s why we created our MONEY 50 list of the best mutual funds for investors.

To make our picks, we focused on criteria most likely to translate into long-term investing success: low fees and, for the actively managed finds included on our list, experienced managers with strong track records that extend not just over three to five years but, ideally, over 10 or 15.

Our list is broken out into three groupings of recommended mutual funds: “building-block funds” for the core of your portfolio, offering you broad exposure to stocks and bonds; “custom funds” to help you tilt toward specific strategies, such as value or dividend investing; and “one-decision funds,” which are single funds offering you exposure to both equities and fixed income. Here’s a roundup of what we consider the best mutual funds right now:

Building-Block Funds

These mutual funds expose you to broad swaths of the stock and bond markets, and should be used to construct the core part of your portfolio that you’ll hold for years. Because you’re simply seeking basic exposure, low-cost index funds are your best bet here.

One-Decision Funds

Don’t want to put together a portfolio on your own? Then use one of these professionally managed funds that hold a diversified mix of stocks and bonds.

Custom Funds

Supplement your core holdings with these funds to diversify more broadly and to tilt toward certain types of stocks and bonds.

NOTES: ¹Net prospectus expense ratios were used. ²Total return figures are as of Oct. 31. ³Five-year returns are annualized. ⁴Shares available only through fund company. ⁵4.25% sales load. N.A.: Not available or not applicable.

SOURCES: Lipper, Morningstar, and fund companies

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