Slash your mutual fund fees
You can save more than 80 percent on mutual fund expenses—leaving you more money to invest—by choosing low-cost funds. An index fund (which mirrors the holdings of a market yardstick such as the S&P 500) generally costs less than an "active" fund (which picks stocks and may charge a "load" fee upfront and management fees). The fees on active funds average 1.22 percent of assets each year—far more than the 0.18 percent, for example, charged by the Vanguard 500 index fund. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)—similar to index funds except that they trade on stock exchanges—have fees comparable to index funds.
Profit from discount-brokerage price wars
Charles Schwab, E-Trade, Fidelity, and Scottrade have been slashing stock and bond commissions to lure back investors lost during the economic meltdown. You can find commissions as low as $7 per trade—that’s as much as 60 percent less than the cost a year ago.
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