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The Image below shows an Excel spreadsheet as an sample of research that can be done at the free MorningStar.com website.

What I did was open three MorningStar windows and set them side by side on my PC desktop.

I then set each window up by selecting (Balanced Fund) and 10, 5 and 3 year best performers working left to right.

Three funds stood out as being among the best and most consistently performing mutual funds over 10 years.

You can select between All Funds, U.S. Stocks, Int'l Stocks, Bond Funds, Balanced Funds, and Alternative in your research depending on the “Risk” you are comfortable with.

The theory is that a balanced fund is safer and the cream rises to the top when considering 10, 5, and 3 year windows.

I copied the three reports to the Excel spreadsheet so I could take a better (side-by-side) look at the three categories.

I printed the image below and these are accurate as of December 1, 2009.

Some did well over the 10 year window but were not among the best over the last 3 years and dropped out.

Only those that showed best over all three different year spans should be considered and they are highlighted in green, orange and gray.

Check with Fidelity, Schwab or whichever manager you decide to use to see if they allow you to use these specific funds and other funds your research tells you to buy.

How to Select Quality Mutual Funds