Knowing what to look for in picking the best mutual funds of 2012 is of utmost importance for successful investing. The right kind of research can essentially make or break your investing portfolio. The key is to think in a long term mentality. Short term success records may look appealing, but a mutual fund that was chosen as a contender for the best mutual fund pick for 2012 has long term positive performance and lots of experience is usually the best bet in maintaining healthy and promising choices. Another important point to consider when deciding a list of the best mutual funds for 2012 is low fees, especially with the modest track record Wall Street has acquired recently.

Large Cap Funds
Some of the best and most trusted large cap mutual funds include American Funds Mutual Funds, Sound Shore Fund Inc, T Rowe Price Equity Income and FMI Large Cap Fund. The YTD Return for American Funds is roughly -2.49%, with a 5-year return of +1.93% and an expense ratio of 0.63%. For South Shore Fund Inc, the YTD Return is -8.61%, the 5-year return is -1.01% and the expense ratio is 0.95%. T Rowe Price Equity Income is slightly smaller in its YTD return and positive in the 5-year return, -6.12% and +.22% respectively, with a .70% expense ratio.

Mid Cap Funds
Mid Cap mutual funds are among the most popular, especially in the best mutual fund picks for 2012. Delafield Fund has a very low negative YTD return of -11.33% but a modest 5-year return of +5.22%. However, this mutual fund has an unusually large expense ratio of 1.29%. Meridian Growth Fund has a YTD return of -5.05% with an above average 5-year return of +6.55% and an expense ratio of 0.84%. Vanguard Mid Cap ETF has a very appealing record across the board with -3.66% YTD return, a +2.89% 5-year return and a 0.12% expense ratio.

Small Cap Funds
The area of small cap funds is the best to use for portfolio diversification. Wasatch Small Cap Growth has the best potential for the YTD return at -2.38%, the 5-year return of +5.26% and an expense ratio of 1.28%. Royce Specialty Equity Fund has a YTD return of -5.99%, but a very nice above average 5-year return of +6.02%, with an expense ratio at 1.16%. Again we see the Vanguard name mentioned in the best mutual funds to invest in. There is definitely a reason for that. Vanguard Index Funds has a -6.06% YTD, a +3.27% 5-year return and an impressive expense ratio of 0.17%.

Many other types of mutual funds never make it to the honor of best mutual funds picks of 2012, but those should not be over looked. Doing research and comparing is an important skill in knowing and choosing the best mutual fund picks of 2012.