Have you seen Personal Fund lately? It’s now much more than the Mutual Fund Cost Calculator — and even that part has been improved in several ways, including access to 10-year performance ratings.

The beta you can now access is a work in progress. But WOW has Stefan Sharkansky, the genius behind all of this, ever been doing great work. Check it out. There’s a lot to it, and it will retain your portfolio information, so you can keep coming back to it.

The larger point here is that the world seems to be moving toward this idea of Personal Funds that several of us have been espousing. Click here to read Forbes‘s take, hot off the e-presses.

The question is: Should you do your investing through no-load, low-expense mutual funds, as so many of us have long been advising? Or, now that technology and dirt-cheap transaction costs have made it possible, should you build your own Personal Fund to minimize the costs even further and — more to the point — grab the tax advantages?

My own answer would be that, while everyone finds his own comfort level and goes at his own pace, Personal Funds are likely to become a Very Big Thing in the next few years. This is what Forbes seems to conclude, also.

In the meantime, the tools you’ll find at Personal Fund are free, and they may be useful both in analyzing your mutual funds and in getting a picture of all your holdings — mutual funds as well as individual stocks.

(For those of you new to the column, full disclosure: I am a part-owner of Personal Fund.)

Monday: No Guts; Phone Home



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