The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding the disparities in fees that consumers pay on mutual funds compared to largest institutional investors, but you shouldn’t wait for a court ruling to lower your investment expenses. Instead, review your existing investments and use these tips to save on your overall investment costs.
First, you should buy your investments directly from a brokerage, known as “no load” in the industry, rather than through a commissioned sales person, which is known in the industry as “load” or “loaded.”
Second, consider purchasing index funds, which contain a broad spectrum of different industries. This way, you won’t be paying fees to an investment analyst to choose stocks for you. In many cases, the S&P 500 outperforms managed mutual funds, so more often it’s better to get an affordable index fund. There was also a recent report from the Hammond Group that suggested that buying plain, boring, vanilla index funds and holding them for a decade will result in more total earnings for an investor than with most traditional mutual funds.
Just about every major consumer brokerage house, including Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity, and T Row Price sell index funds.
On a related note, there’s also a lot of people that got out of the market some time during the last year because of the financial crisis that were afraid of losing any more of their money. Some are now questioning whether or not it’s safe to get back in the market. Unfortunately, now is not the perfect time to jump back into the market, because there never is a perfect time to get into the market. Your best bet is to invest into the market over time (using dollar cost averaging) to minimize the amount of volatility in prices that you pay per share.