These are the best large-cap growth mutual funds, based on year-to-date performance.

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When shopping for mutual funds, we naturally are curious: Which ones are performing the best today?

While thats a common place to begin your search, remember youre shopping fortomorrowwhen looking for the best mutual funds. Top performers in the short term dont always become long-term winners. The best mutual funds for your portfolio wont necessarily be the best for your parents, your siblings or your neighbors.

To determine the best mutual funds measured by year-to-date performance, we looked at large-cap growth funds with low costs (no sales commissions and expense ratios of 1% or less). For more on how to choose a mutual fund,skip ahead to this section.

These growth-stock mutual funds buy stock in rising U.S. companies with market capitalizations of more than $10 billion.

NerdWallets recommendation is to invest primarily through mutual funds,especially index funds, which passively track a market index such as the S&P 500. The mutual funds above are actively managed, which means they try to beat stock market performance a strategy that often fails.

When youre ready to invest in funds, heres what to consider:

Decide whether to invest in active or passive funds, knowing that both performance and costs often favor passive investing.

Understand and scrutinize fees. A broker that offers no-transaction-fee mutual funds can help cut costs.

Build and manage your portfolio, checking in on and rebalancing your mix of assets once a year.

Below are some of our picks for the best brokers for mutual funds and index funds:

days of commission-free trades with qualifying deposit

» Want to see more options for fund investing?See the full list of brokers

Chasing past performance may be a natural instinct, but it often isnt the right one when placing bets on your financial future. Mutual funds are the cornerstone of buy-and-hold and other retirement investment strategies. Hopping from stock to stock based on performance is a rear-view-mirror tactic that rarely leads to big profits. Thats especially true with mutual funds, whereeach transaction may bring coststhat erode any long-term gains.

Whats important to consider is the role any mutual fund you buy will play in your total portfolio. Mutual funds are inherently diversified, as they invest in a collection of companies (rather thanbuying stock in just one). That diversity helps spread your risk.

You can create a smart, diversified portfolio with just a few well-chosen mutual funds, plus annual check-ins to fine-tune your investment mix.

Kevin Voigt is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet. He has covered financial issues for 20 years, including for The Wall Street Journal and .Read more

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