This is tricky question, and even trickier to answer. There are so many different answers to this question that the best answer is ‘depends on your situation’. I will try to cover as much ground as possible with focus on the long term investor who is not into active trading. If you want free advice to start with on your individual situation, I would suggest posting a message to one or both of the following newsgroups:
misc.invest.mutual funds (mimf)
mifp is moderated and you generally get more decent reponses. mimf is not moderated, responses are faster but expect to hear arguments from the regulars that are way off-topic and sometimes nasty comments.
Back to an overview of how to pick funds.Â TheÂ firstÂ stepÂ isÂ knowingÂ whereÂ toÂ findÂ information.Â TheÂ mostÂ commonÂ placeÂ wouldÂ beÂ Morningstar.
Next is knowing whatÂ not to invest in:
Now you are set to pick your funds. In this post I will discuss picking funds at a particular fund company. If you have not selected a Fund Company yet, here are a few: Vanguard, Fidelity, T Rowe Price. You can also invest in Funds from a broker, often without any transaction fees. This may be a better option if the fund(s) you want are available.
All of the fund companies I mentioned have extremely informative websites, that will provide you with model portfolios based on your investment timeline and risk tolerance. I suggest you go to each website and obtain their recommended portfolios. See which you feel the most comfortable with and go that way.