I have a question–if I so wished, how do I sell SOME of my mutual funds to say, invest in something else? I went to American Funds website, but they seem to only allow you to sell ALL of it.
I'm not sure how American Funds works but most brokerage accounts I've worked with allow you to sell a set number of shares or all of your shares. From reading their website the only limitation I see is that you cannot sell more than $75k in one day:
You may withdraw money from your account at any time, although online and phone redemptions are not available for certain types of accounts. You should always talk to your financial adviser before selling shares. He or she can offer advice and help you make decisions that fit your long-term financial plan.
You can sell shares on our website by visiting Your Accounts, by calling us or via mail. See Options for managing your account for details.
When you sell shares, the price you will receive is the next closing net asset value. This value may be more or less than your original purchase price, so please keep in mind that the sale may trigger a gain or loss for tax purposes.
The maximum daily redemption amount is $75,000. Redemption checks will be mailed to the address on your account, provided that address has not changed in the last 10 days. If sending funds directly to a bank account, any new instructions or updates will be subject to a 10-calendar-day hold before using this option. It will be mailed the next business day if the request is received before 4 p.m. Eastern time, the close of the New York Stock Exchange®, or it will be automatically deposited into your bank account within three business days if you have enrolled in American FundsLink®.
Keep in mind there may be fees associated with selling your shares (especially if sold within 2 years of purchase) depending on the fund. Also any sale of a mutual fund will generate Capital Gains which you will have to pay Income Tax on.
Also note that if your financial advisor works for the same company that manages the fund, make sure to get a feel for whether they are giving you biased opinions (some FAs get bonus commission for selling their own company's fund and may also get bonuses based on the dividends of all the clients who hold the company's fund).
I would also recommend that if you plan to sell and are not planning to spend the money (down payment on a house for example) you should do some research into the fund you want to buy next to minimize the time your money spends "not working" for you. Exceptions if you feel your fund is really underperforming or possibly about to lose value.
Also keep in mind that a fund's performance is only as good as it's manager. If the fund you're looking into has a solid track record make sure the fund manager is still managing that fund. If he/she left the fund, the past performance of the fund has no bearing on the future performance of that fund.
Also make note of what kind of fees the fund has (if it's a managed fund - index tracking funds often have no fees), what kind of tax implications the fund has, and what kind of dividends the fund pays out. In a few days I'll post an article on Target Funds which may be a good option for you.