Mutual Fund Fees You Pay
These days you will hardly find an investor without having at least one mutual fund. Most of us never pay any attention to mutual fund fees, which can be very confusing and hard to grasp. Many of us do not realize how much of our returns can be evaporated by these fees. I consider one of the best features of mutual funds is that fund companies camouflage fees as a percentage of assets.
There are 3 basic categories of mutual fund fees – management fees which is known as MER, sales fees and special fees. I will discuss only MER because regardless what type or class fund you buy, MER is a built-in feature and it will be always there.
MER stands for Management Expense Ratio and expressed as a percentage of fund total value. MER is made of sales, administration, marketing, legal, accounting, reporting and portfolio management costs and charged directly to the fund, thus reducing the value of your investment. You will never see any statement or transaction or invoice or you will never write a check to pay MER as fund companies deduct this cost from funds per unit value everyday, making it invisible and hard to track. MERs can run from ?% to over 3% or even more. Let’s say a fund charges an MER of 2.5% which may sound harmless but when you look at in terms of real numbers, it looks scary and hard to believe. Suppose you have $100,000 in a mutual fund which charges 2.5% MER. Assuming you are 30 and will have this $100,000 invested till you reach 70. How much is your cost? The answer is a whopping cost of $100,000 ($100,000 * 2.5% per year for 40 years) I used very simplified calculations and omitted many other factors. Remember, there are other costs and taxes to pay as well. Be a smart investor by educating yourself and avoiding fees and expenses. There are variety of options these days and always do your homework before investing and seek help from someone whom you find knowledgeable and trustworthy.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Dec 5, 2008.
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