As with anything you buy, there are fees and costs associated with investment products and services. These fees may seem small, but over time they can have a major impact on your investment portfolio. Understanding the fees you pay is important to investing wisely.
The following chart shows an investment portfolio with a 4% annual return over 20 years when the investment either has an ongoing fee of 0.25%, 0.50% or 1%.
The best advice we can give you about understanding fees and investing wisely is to ask questions. For example:
- What are the total fees to purchase, maintain, and sell this investment?
- Are there ways that I can reduce or avoid some of the fees I’ll pay, such as by purchasing the investment directly?
- How much does this investment have to increase in value before I break even?
- What are the ongoing fees to maintain my account?
- For mutual funds: How much will the fund charge me when I buy and/or sell shares?
- For the investment professional: How do you get paid? By commission? By the amount of assets you manage? By another method? Do I have any choice on how to pay you? Should I pay you by the transaction, or pay a flat fee regardless of how many transactions I have?
Investor Bulletin: Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses
Updated Investor Bulletin: How Fees and Expenses Affect Your Investment Portfolio
Investor Bulletin: Mutual Fund Classes
FINRA's Fund Analyzer (link is external)
Common Fee Types
Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses
Sales Charge (Or Load)
Shareholder Service Fees
Total Annual Fund Operating Expense