Best No Load Mutual Funds: Mutual Fund Fees and Mutual Fund Expenses

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Best No Load Mutual Funds: Mutual Fund Fees and Mutual Fund Expenses

By: Sam Subramanian

While searching for the best no load mutual funds, some mutual fund investors often tend to focus exclusively on mutual fund fees and expense ratios. Is this always a smart way to select mutual funds?

Metrics such as price/earnings ratio and dividend yield on the S & P 500 index, a commonly used proxy for the U.S. stock market, are hardly at bargain levels. This has lead several market pundits to predict single digit annual returns for domestic mutual funds over the next decade.

While pursuing the search for the best mutual fund, some mutual fund investors tend to focus exclusively on fees and expense ratios. The rationale is that by choosing mutual funds with low fees, investors will have more of their capital invested. Also, no load mutual funds with low expense ratios will pass on more of the returns they earn to their shareholders.

Is shopping for the lowest fees and expense ratios a smart way to select mutual funds? Not always. The answer depends on the type of mutual fund you are evaluating, the time you can devote to evaluating and managing your mutual funds investments, and the type of cost incurred.

Investing in the Best No Load Index Mutual Funds.

If you believe markets are generally efficient and prefer to invest in an index mutual fund to achieve an index-like return, shopping for the best index mutual fund based on low fees and a low expense ratio makes good sense. The portfolio manager of an index mutual fund endeavors to invest the fund's assets to track the index as closely and cost-effectively as possible. Larger index funds have an advantage in that they can spread their operating costs over a larger asset base.

Some of the interesting index mutual fund options currently available include no load index mutual funds like E*Trade S & P 500 Index Fund (Nasdaq: ETSPX), Fidelity Spartan 500 Index Fund (Nasdaq: FSMKX), and Vanguard 500 Index Fund (Nasdaq: VFINX) with expense ratios of 0.09%, 0.10%, and 0.18%, respectively.

Investing in Actively Managed Mutual Funds and Strategies.

Mutual fund fees and expenses are just one of several important factors to consider if you believe portfolio managers can add value and out-perform the index through active management. The portfolio manager's ability and investing style are just as important. Therefore, seeking out the best mutual fund based on just low fees and a low expense ratio may not always be the right approach. It may just be a case of being 'penny-wise and pound-foolish'.

Legendary investor Peter Lynch, who managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund (Nasdaq: FMAGX) from 1977 to 1990, achieved returns well in excess of the market averages even after accounting for the fund's fees and expenses.

So too has Bill Miller who currently manages the Legg Mason Value Trust (Nasdaq: LMVTX). Even after accounting for its relatively high 1.) 7% expense ratio, this no load mutual fund has achieved compound annual returns of 18.) 6% for the 10 year period ending in 2004, well in excess of 12.) 0% for the Vanguard 500 Index mutual fund.

AlphaProfit, an investment research firm that specializes in active sector investing, uses the no load Fidelity Select Funds to implement its investing strategy through its Core" and Focus" model portfolios. Although not the lowest, the expense ratio of the no load Fidelity Select Funds compares favorably with that of other sector fund offerings. AlphaProfit prefers Fidelity Selects for their comprehensive coverage of sectors and industry groups. The AlphaProfit model portfolios have significantly outperformed the market averages over time.

Ensure Your Mutual Fund Puts Your Interest First.

Whether you prefer to index or take an active approach to managing your investments, ensuring that your mutual fund is putting your interests first is good investing practice.

Mutual funds charge different types of fees. By looking at some key factors pertaining to fees, you can get a sense of whether the mutual fund puts your interests first or merely seeks to line the mutual fund company's pockets.

Serving the Interests of Long-Term Shareholders. Some mutual funds impose short-term trading fees to discourage frequent trading of mutual fund shares. Frequent trading disrupts efficient management of the mutual fund and increases operating expenses. A short-term trading fee can therefore actually be beneficial to long-term shareholders if the fee is rightly treated by the mutual fund company.

Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index Fund (Nasdaq: FSTMX), for example, follows the practice of returning short-term trading fees collected on shares held less than 90 days to the mutual fund itself rather than passing on the benefit to the mutual fund company. By having this short-term trading fee structure, this no load mutual fund seeks to contain its operating expenses. Such fees are therefore aligned with the interests of long-term shareholders of this mutual fund.

Passing on Savings from Scale Economies. The operating expenses incurred by a mutual fund are a combination of fixed and variable costs. As the asset of a mutual fund increases, the fixed cost gets spread over a larger asset base. Therefore, the expenses incurred to operate the mutual fund as a percentage of the fund's assets should trend lower.

A mutual fund that places the interest of shareholders first must pass on the savings from scale economies to the shareholders. The trend in a mutual fund's expense ratio therefore serves as a metric of how seriously a fund takes its fiduciary responsibility.

Key Points.

  1. If you are searching for the best no load index mutual fund, shopping for one with low fees and expenses makes perfect sense.
  2. If active management of investments appeals to you, fees and expenses are just one of several important factors to consider.

    The ability and investing style of the portfolio manager are at least just as important as fees.

  3. The types of fees a mutual fund charges and how the fund uses the fees provides clues as to how seriously a mutual fund takes its fiduciary responsibility.

    Mutual funds that impose fees to contain operating expenses and return fees to the mutual fund help protect the interests of long-term shareholders.

  4. Mutual funds that put the shareholders' interests first typically pass on savings from scale economies to the shareholders.

Notes: This report is for information purposes only. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer to buy or sell securities or to give individual investment advice. This report does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation, and particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. The information contained in this report is obtained from various sources believed to be accurate and is provided without warranties of any kind. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC does not represent that this information, including any third party information, is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC is not responsible for any errors or omissions herein. Opinions expressed herein reflect the opinion of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC and are subject to change without notice. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC disclaims any liability for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information in this report. The third-party trademarks or service marks appearing within this report are the property of their respective owners. All other trademarks appearing herein are the property of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC. Owners and employees of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC for their own accounts invest in the Fidelity Mutual Funds included in the AlphaProfit Core and Focus model portfolios. AlphaProfit Investments, LLC neither is associated with nor receives any compensation from Fidelity Investments or other mutual fund companies mentioned in this report. Past performance is neither an indication of nor a guarantee for future results. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner without written permission of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC. Copyright 2005 AlphaProfit Investments, LLC. All rights reserved.

About The Author

Sam Subramanian, PhD, MBA is Managing Principal of AlphaProfit Investments, LLC. He edits the AlphaProfit Sector Investors' Newsletter", a publication that discusses investments using Fidelity mutual funds. For the 5 year period ending December 31, 2004, during which the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index declined 6.) 9%, the AlphaProfit model portfolios increased by up to 186.) 2%, an average annual return of 23.) 4%. To learn more about AlphaProfit and to subscribe to the FREE newsletter, visit http://www.alphaprofit.com .

Comments

ElPortoPuraVida 19.11.2010. 20:47

Difference between mutual fund sale loads and operating expenses? If i bought a mutual fund would I be charged both of these? What are they? Am I charged annually a sale load? Lost...Thanks!

ElPortoPuraVida

Admin 19.11.2010. 20:47

Both no-load and load funds have ongoing management fees and general operating expenses. Management fees are paid to the fund manager for portfolio management and administrative services. In addition, general operating expenses cover expenses such as brokerage commissions, securities filing fees, custodian fees, legal fees, etc.

Since some funds may pay all expenses out of the management fee while others may charge certain expenses directly to the fund, in order for you to directly compare the expenses different funds, use the MER or Management Expense Ratio. MER is the total of the management fees and operating expenses (excluding brokerage commissions and taxes) and is expressed as a percentage of the fund's average daily assets. When a mutual fund's performance is reported in any publications, the performance number reported has been calculated after the deduction for the MER.

Before you purchase any mutual fund, the MER is an important figure to consider. Over time, it can impact your overall portfolio return. For example, you invested $1,000 in a fund for 15 years and you received an annual rate of return of 8% after expenses. You would end up with roughly $3,172. If the MER was1% higher, you would have received an annual rate of return of 7% after expenses, hence you would end up with roughly $2,759. This difference between $3,172 and $2,759 means your total return was 15% lower with the higher MER.

In general, MERs of equity funds in Canada tend to range from 2 to 2.5%. Fixed-income funds have lower MERs and tend to be under 1.5%. MERs are always disclosed in the fund's prospectus.

Admin

mrinal 23.04.2011. 11:58

What is mutual fund, how to invest in MF and what is the best MF to invest at this current market position? I am a new investor, I want to invest in mutual fund. But I have not any idea regarding MF that means what is MF, is it a safe investment or nor, how to invest in MF etc. So kindly guide me regarding this.

mrinal

Admin 23.04.2011. 11:58

A mutual fund in an investment vehicle that pools together money from many investors and allows you to invest in dozens, hundreds, or thousands of companies all at once and so there is less risk. This protects you if any one company or industry runs into trouble. The contents of the fund is chosen by a fund manager(s) or for an index fund tries to mimic the contents of a whole market or section.
You need to think about your risk tolerances in choosing what fund is best for you, not to mention where you are investing through. Both are extremely important. If you want something safer there is something like the Total Stock Market index or S&P 500, but if you want to take on some more risk or some potentially better returns there is a wide range to choose from, such as small or mid-caps, sector specific funds like Energy or Health Care, or international funds like Europe, Pacific, or Emerging Markets. It would be wise to have a diversified portfolio.
As to how safe they are, they are far safer than throwing your money into individual companies and hoping for the best. If you chose a winner you could get a lot more, but if you didn't you could lose a large amount of your investment. Your time horizon is very important as well. The more time you have the more risk you can take on since you have a chance to recover if the market declines. Ultimately it is your decision though.
Where you put your money is also very important. Some of the best are Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Schwab. Avoid the big banks like the plague. Don't let them rip you off with loads (sales charges) and fees. Check how much the company charges you as an expense ratio. A good one might charge you 0.2-0.8 %. If they charge more than 1% than go somewhere else. And if they charge any kind of 12b-1 fee, hold on to your wallet and RUN. If you want to check, go to a site like
Morningstar or http://finance.yahoo.com and check each fund. Vanguard has some of the lowest expense ratios anywhere.
Many places will hit you with high front end sales loads, ripoff 12b-1 fees and stiff expense ratios. That could rob you of potentially tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over your working career. If you want to see a demonstration of this, look at https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/investingtruths/investing-truth-about-cost and compare.
Read some basic books to teach you the fundamentals. Three excellent reads are Mutual Funds for Dummies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Investing, and Investing for Dummies. You can probably find them in your local library. Before doing anything, make sure you have enough in savings in case things go south for at least 6 months.

Admin

N 12.10.2011. 14:36

How to invest in a mutual fund? I would like to invest in a mutual fund but I don't know where to start.

N

Admin 12.10.2011. 14:36

If you don?t want to spend a lot of time with your investments, Mutual funds can be the best solution.
A Mutual fund will provide you with a good diversification and your money will be professionally managed.
Unfortunately, like any investments, you must do your homework before investing. Basing your investment only on past performance will be foolish.

How a mutual fund works?

Open ended funds.
The majority of mutual funds are open funds. Open funds continuously issue shares.

Closed end funds.
A closed end fund has a limited amount of shares.
An investor can invest in a closed end fund by buying shares on a secondary market.

Where to find mutual funds?
You can find mutual funds on MorningStar?s website.

How to buy a mutual fund?
With a broker, online broker, your bank, directly submitting to the fund.

Types of mutual funds:

Money Market funds.
Money market funds invest in short term paper like treasury bills (short term bonds, less than one year maturity).
They are very safe but provide a modest performance. The performance for money market funds is correlated with short-term interests.

Bond funds.
Bond/fixed income funds invest in fixed income securities like bonds, Mortgage backed securities and asset backed securities.

Equity funds.
Equity funds invest principally in stocks. The performance is generated by capital appreciation and dividends.
Equity funds can be divided in the following categories:
Value fund, growth fund, sector fund, fund of funds.

Balanced funds.
Stocks and bonds compose balanced funds. A balanced fund can provide you a good diversification by buying only one fund.

International funds.
They have the advantage of investing worldwide. The principal drawback is that the fund manager must deal with various exchange rates.

Indexed funds.
If you believe that the fund managers are not able to beat the market.
You can still invest in an index fund. The management fees are usually lower because the fund only follows an index.


How to choose a Mutual fund?

To elect a mutual fund you should look for the following items:

Prospectus: an important document.
In the prospectus, you will find the most important information on the fund.

Fees
Front load and back load. Avoid funds with front load and back load.
Historically these fees were supposed to cover the marketing expenses.
They can be very high up to 5% and sometimes more.

Management fees and administration fees.
Management fees are the fees you pay to the fund manager each year, they usually rank from 0.5% to 2%. Naturally, if you invest in a mutual fund, watch for the lower management fees. For example, investing in an index fund is interesting because the management fees are usually lower (around 0.5%)
Administration fees are fixed fees of the fund (for custody and other administration expenses), you should pay again each year. Usually they are around 0.10 %.
You can easily control the total amount of fees by looking at the expense ratio.

Fund size.
With a too small mutual fund, the fixed fees will represent a large part of the performance. If the fund suffers many redemptions it will be force to close.
If the fund is too big, the fund manager will have some difficulties to put in place his strategy. For example, a lot of funds are closed to new investors. Like this the manager can pursue his strategy in a better environment.

Age.
The fund should have survived during various economics cycles.

Fund manager.
When investing with a mutual fund, you should check the fund manager credentials. Look for an experienced fund manager.
Along with your investment, keep an eye if any turnover regarding the fund management team.

Cash position.
A mutual fund should always be fully invested otherwise you won?t get any performance but the fund manager will still get paid.
To verify this point, you can refer to the prospectus.

Portfolio turnover.
Avoid funds with a high turnover ratio (churning). The portfolios with a high turnover provide less performance. As these funds buy and sell a lot of securities, the performance is generally less than stable portfolios.

Net asset value (NAV).
The net asset value is calculated by summing the portfolio assets less any liabilities (like the fees).
The net asset value of a mutual fund is calculated periodically (every days, every months for example).
Before buying a mutual fund, it is important to check if the price you pay is close to the NAV per share (the real value of the fund).

Taxes
Avoid buying fund before the distribution date.
Avoid churning funds.
It is better to invest in a tax deferred or tax exempt account like IRA or your 401(k).

Admin

Wilderness 27.06.2008. 04:09

What kind of fees do banks charge account holders of mutual funds? What kinds of fees might be assessed to account holders by financial institutions offering mutual funds?

Wilderness

Admin 27.06.2008. 04:09

I don't know what banks charge either, but they may steer you to loaded funds that take a chunk of money when you buy a fund (class A), when you sell it (class B), or continuously (class C).

The only discount broker I am familiar with is Fidelity (IRA and Roth IRA), which does not charge anything for buying/selling over 1000 mutual funds, unless you cash them out before a minimum holding period (ranging from 30 days to 6 months). They don't charge any monthly or annual fee either. They make their money from the mutual funds through the expense ratio which is already factored into reported average returns. They do charge a trade fee for stocks or ETFs, which varies with assets or number of trades (decreases with $50k in assets or a certain numbers of trades).

Admin

John W 02.05.2011. 23:55

How many mutual funds companies should you have? I am thinking about doing mutual funds accounts with my bank financial advisor and fidelity. What are your opinions about having multiple companies.

John W

Admin 02.05.2011. 23:55

Stay far, far away from the Big Banks. Unless you enjoy having them take more than 4-5% as a front sales load from you. Not to mention the klepto 12b-1 fee, and expense ratios often 10 times higher than other places. Having your money in more than one place is fine, if one company can offer you something the others can't. But you can get perks and bonuses for having a lot of money in one place, like certain fees or penalties waived. Fidelity is good, as is T. Rowe Price. But Vanguard has the lowest
expense ratios of all.

See http://www.clarkhoward.com
for a lot of useful info.

Admin

sarie2304 16.08.2007. 20:51

Thinking about a Roth IRA and no load mutual fund? Does it matter where I open either a Roth IRA or a no load mutual fund, or are all the banks (brink-and-mortar) the same? How much should I put into a no load mutual fund annually?

I think ING offers a Roth IRA option. While I don't mind using their savings account feature, would it be wise to invest in an online Roth IRA? Are there any advantages?

If you feel you can shed light on either of my questions above, please do! Also, I'm 23, a year out of college, and I make about 36K annually, so any general saving for retirement advice would also be much appreciated. I've just about tucked away my 6-month cushion of living expenses into a savings account, so I'm looking to invest in my future now. Thank you!

sarie2304

Admin 16.08.2007. 20:51

First off, good for you, very few recent college grads have a 6-month emergency savings account. If you're interested in saving for your future, I found some good info on http://www.plannerconnect.com/retirement-planning-investing-for-retirement.html and another page http://www.plannerconnect.com/retirement-planning-retirement-income.html that talks about all different retirement savings options.

Anyway, I think ING and lots of other investment companies offer a Roth IRA. I personally have an ING Orange savings account and a Roth IRA with Fidelity, because I like their different mutual funds. Each company is definitely different - different fees, different funds you can invest in. I personally set mine up through a financial planner who was able to make some good recommendations.

How much are you able to put away? You're always best off putting as much as you can into a Roth IRA (max $4000, I think) because when you take out the money, you don't have to pay taxes on it. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, ie. puts money into your 401(k) account based on how much you put in, I'd say do that first, since that's free money and 401(k) accounts aren't taxed until you take out the money.

By the way, don't worry about no load mutual funds, if you do a good job of setting up your Roth IRA through a financial planner, it really doesn't come into play.

Admin

ThatDude 11.01.2007. 01:15

When buying mutual funds, what are the most important aspects to look at? Okay, I'm new to investing in funds.

I know a bit here or there, but I'm still learning. I don't know enough to trust myself jumping into anything yet.

What I'm looking for is long-term stuff, like something for retirement. I'm 22 now so I guess it's a great time to start.

What is the top parameters I should look for when browsing mutual funds? Like when browsing MorningStar I see NAV and Expense Ratios (I know what they are) but how do I know what is more important? Also, once I know what is important, how do I know if it's good. I figured you probably want a low expense ratio, but what would you consider "low"?

I guess I just wanna know what to look for in numbers.

ThatDude

Admin 11.01.2007. 01:15

I'm not a big fan of actively managed mutual funds because I think most people can do a better job managing their own money by diversifying into individual stocks and bonds or simplying by purchasing index funds. Over 70% of all actively managed mutual funds underperform their benchmark so why pay management fees for underperformance?...it makes no sense...Having said that if you are certain that you want an actively managed mutual fund follow these guidelines.

1. Look for funds that have outperformed their benchmark in both bull and bear markets

2. Realize that the fund manager is more important than the name of the fund so once you find a fund that has consistently outperfomed make sure the fund manager responsible for the performance is still managing the fund.

2. All else being equal, choose the fund with the lowest expense ratios and always opt for no load no transaction fee funds...there are plenty of good ones out there so there's no sense in paying a fee when you don't have to.

Admin

liljohncubs 12.04.2011. 02:06

What mutual fund should I invest into with my money? I am 18 and I want to use some saved money and contributions from my graduation party to buy into some mutual funds for about 5 years. Most likely, I will have between $3,000-$5,000 to invest. I do not have a large knowledge base in finance, but i know some basics. I would like some opinion on these funds please: JGYAX, YACKX, and TILDX. Thank you in advance for the help!

liljohncubs

Admin 12.04.2011. 02:06

Frankly, none of the 3 you mentioned have much appeal...the first is more income centered, but with really high sales commissions and 12b-1 fees that will pickpocket you right before your money starts working for you. The second is more capital centered, and geared for long term growth of your money. But you say you only want it for 5 years, which is the bare minimum for a stock investment. The last one is the most balanced, with no loads and no 12b-1 fee, but has a big expense ratio, again being a leech on your earnings.
Aside from learning to avoid the "Big Money Fast" hype that is basic common sense and seemingly in very short supply among investors, one of the most important things you need to learn is that *what company* you use to invest is extremely important - especially the longer you have money in the market.
Start with some basic books to teach you the fundamentals. Two excellent reads are The Complete Idiot's Guide to Investing and Investing for Dummies. You can probably borrow them from your local library. Before doing anything, make sure you have enough in savings in case things go south for at least 6 months if you're on your own.
You need to learn also some important concepts in investing, such as dollar-cost averaging and compound interest - two of your best friends to make money for the future.
You first need to pick a company to invest through. Some of the best are Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Schwab. Avoid the big banks like the plague. Don't let them rip you off with loads (sales charges) and fees. Check how much the company charges you as an expense ratio. A good one might charge you 0.2-0.8 %. If they charge more than 1% than go somewhere else. And if they charge any kind of 12b-1 fee, hold on to your wallet and RUN.

The question you need to answer is WHY you are investing. Different people have different goals. Is it for more income? For retirement? For someone's education? Plus how old are you and how long do you want to invest? How much risk are you willing to assume?

These are all very critical questions and they will determine what kind of investments are right for you. Don't believe anyone who has a "one size fits all" kind of investment. For stocks typically you are talking about at least a 5 year investment period. If less, consider getting into bonds or a bond fund instead. Many people choose an appropriate mix of the two.
For more information, try looking at
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/vanguard/all?sort=name&sortorder=asc
and play with it, comparing funds with more or less risk.

Do some reading online such as
http://www.vanguard.com/us/insights for some important investment truths.
Especially how high costs, expense ratios and so on can rob you of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.

Of course you will have a lot of immediate needs for you money in your near future, but if you can,
saving up even just a little for retirement will serve you well. The more time you have, and the more money you can amass together with a wise investment. Consider a Roth IRA after you earn some money from a job. Your money grows tax free, and when you retire you can withdraw it tax free as well.

Best of luck!

Admin

live and learn 03.04.2010. 10:05

Is it better to invest in a Mutual Fund of ETF? Do mutual funds get better returns than ETFs? What is your opinion on them both? I know ETF has low expense ratio and you can sell them easier than a mutual fund. Is it better to invest in a mutual fund because they're actively managed? Etc?

live and learn

Admin 03.04.2010. 10:05

An ETF and a mutual Fund are very similar investments. An S&P 500 mutual fund and S&P 500 ETF would have very similar returns - maybe over a ten yr period the ETF being superior with the smaller expense ratio. In general an ETF would have a brokerage charge so consider this as a load fee unless your brokerage doesn't charge for instance if you have Schwab or Fidelity and are buying their ETF's. Try to compare apples to apples with expense ratios, load and commission fees.

In general, active managed funds can't outperform indexes since managers trade more which create tax consequences or possible losses. You would only want to invest in superior portfolio managers with proven track records. This would probably cost more however would hopefully payoff with better returns. International ETF's in my opinion are great investments since they can offer low expense ratios to markets like China or Brazil.

In reality, you investment philosopy should guide you in picking your funds. ETF's are not as numerous so shouldn't be your only investments. For instance, it's hard to find technology ETF's or certain sector funds. commodity or leverage or inverse funds that pay off when the market goes down. If your a trader and like to go in and out of investments ETF's are probably better for you since you can trade them during market hours. However when it comes down to is return, risk and costs. Design a portfolio that will give you the greatest chance of making money for instance with a breadth of diversification with bonds, small cap, microcap, medium and large companies along with International and Emerging markets.

If you have one choice go with VT or Vanguards ETF for the Total World Stock Market which will give you all these categories with mostly American stock markets of: NASDAQ, American and NYSE and then Europe, Latin America, Canada, Asia and the emerging markets. Good luck!

Admin

David L 07.08.2007. 14:40

What type return should be expected from a managed mutual fund portfolio relative to a comparative index? Not even sure the question makes sense and have a limited knowledge of how investments work. My quarterly statement from an account with an investment advisor shows my rate of return in a diversified mutual fund portfolio for a 5 year period and it's always lower than a comparative index. 5 points lower for the current year and less than one for the 5 year period. Net of 12.94 for the 5 years is good but should I be getting better from the advisor? Question may be too vague to answer but wanted thoughts from those more knowledgable on investing. Thank you.

David L

Admin 07.08.2007. 14:40

OK, the general principle is that you will underperform the index by the amount of fees you are paying. But because fund returns go up and down and some funds are lucky and some unlucky, that is only a general principle.

This is why index funds are great. They are low-cost and tax efficient and underperform the market by their expense ratio (internal management fees). Over time, 80% of managed funds underperform the companion index fund. If you didn't pay loads or a higher expense ratio or 12b-1 fees, that number would be much different.

Here's a shocking example. I was comparing returns for a VUL - which is a high expense insurance police and also an investment (has mutual funds in it).

I compared the return on the S & P 500 fund in the VUL to the Vanguard S & P 500 fund - apples to apples, except for the fees.

The return on VUL S&P 500 Index Fund2: 6.85%
Vanguard's S & P 500 Index fund: 11.77% !!!!!!!!

THIS is what fees do to returns. Yes, some high cost funds will beat their index, but almost always not consistantly.

So, you need to find out what your fees are. ALL the fees. I suggest you use Morningstar.

Also, you need to read this:

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/BoomerBucks/20061206_investment_advice_a1.asp

http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/05/news/newsmakers/buffett_fortune/index.htm

The more I learn, the more certain I am that the financial advising industry is a sham.

Very good question.

Admin

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