Most AAII Readers Conduct Their Own Research of Mutual Funds & ETFs


The February 2017 issue of the AAII Journal contains the updated Individual Investor’s Guide to the Top Mutual Funds. This valuable member benefit included 728 in the print version, while online there is information covering nearly 1,600 funds.

AAII members that are new to mutual fund investing also have access to explanatory articles in the Funds/ETFs section of

As individual investors, we have access to a wealth of information, data and research pertaining to mutual funds and ETFs, although the quality varies greatly depending on the source.

AAII Weekly Survey Question

However, not all individual investors have the time or knowledge to base their investment decisions on their own research. To get an idea of how AAII readers choose their mutual funds and/or ETFs, we posed the following question:

Who has advised you on choosing mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to invest in?

Here are the results as of 5:15 p.m. (Central) on February 12, 2017:

Out of the 2,134 readers who responded, the overwhelming majority–70% in all–choose the mutual funds or ETFs they invest in based on their own research. Trailing far behind in second place, 13% of respondents invest in mutual funds or ETFs based on the recommendation or advice of their financial advisor, while another 7% choose their mutual funds or ETFs based on mutual fund ratings’ agencies.

Weekly Special Question

To get a better idea of our readers’ favorite resources when researching mutual funds and ETFs, we asked the following:

What are your primary resources for researching mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)?

In all, 374 told us what resources they use when research mutual funds and ETFs.

The most popular resources used by AAII readers when researching mutual funds and ETFs is, which was cited by 162 of the 374 respondents. In second place was AAII, mentioned by 133 readers. This includes the annual mutual fund and ETF guides that are published in the AAII Journal, the Quarterly Mutual Fund Update (QMFU) and Investing at Level3, the new book from AAII’s founder Dr. James Cloonan.

Brokerage sites are also a popular source of mutual fund information and research, mentioned by 123 of our readers.

One other top vote-getter as a source of mutual fund and ETF information is directly from the fund family or individual funds/ETFs.

Everybody has an opinion! Why not give us yours? Participate in our weekly member poll, updated every Monday, and see the results online at


1 Reply to “Most AAII Readers Conduct Their Own Research of Mutual Funds & ETFs”

  1. I find AAII to be most helpful due to their objectivity. So often in my contacts with fund related firms and financial advisors, everything seems nice until they hit the “up-sell” button with a punch line followup, “You really can’t do this on your own, you need professional help.” That’s when I hit the kill switch. I am not going to allow someone to sell me a product that I can’t understand. I can live with my own mistakes, but it won’t be because I didn’t make a solid effort to do my own research. I don’t like paying managers to manage other managers. That’s money down the drain.

    While I like the analysis from AAII, I do attempt to cross-check with outside data. I find the big families such as Vanguard, Price, Fidelity etc. to be helpful along with Morningstar. It’s tough to boil down thousands to only a few, but it helps to have your own investment philosophy in sharp focus when you wallow through it all. On the surface they all have boiler plate pitches, but I think good management of a fund is ultimately manifest in long range performance.

    Bottom line, for me it’s a challenge; but it’s also fun and certainly a learning experience.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *