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One company that has low fees and good advice is TIAA-CREF. They specialize in people in education and medical professions, but they are open to the public, and they have a good array of excellent investment choices, none of them terribly aggressive,including the TIAA-CREF REal Estate fund, which appreciated 10.06% in the past year. Mostly it is invested in commercial property (Malls, Office buildings and such).
Here are the results for the TIAA-CREF Funds I held last year
TRRSX Real Estate Securities Fund: 19.30%
TRGMX Midcap Growth Fund: 17.7%
TILRX Large Cap Growth Fund: 18.18%
SILB Inflation Linked Bond Fund: 6.84%
TIHRX: High Yield Bond Fund: 8.23%
TRERX International Growth Fund: 3.97%
As you can see, 2012 was a GREAT year.
TIAA also has a brokerage account in which you can buy and sell a lot of mutual funds with no commission, provided you hold them for 90 days. You can buy and sell ETF's abd stocks as well, with lower commissions than any so-called "full service" broker.
Here is what I invested in (brokerage acct)
DLTNX Doubleline Total Return Fund 8.03% annualized
OSTIX Osterweis Strategic Income 6.97% annualized
PYEWX Payden Emerging Markets Bond Advisor Class: 16.13%annualized
PONDX Pimco Income Fund, Class D I have only held this for a month.
STHYX Wells Fargo High Income Bond (held for one month)
VWINX Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund Investor Shares 5.039 annualized
Other funds worth looking into are:
PSTDX, DLFNX, STHBX, EXDAX, MERFX, DTN, DLN, VDIGX, and
PRPFX Permanent Portfolio, which I held for over two years and averaged 11.02% annually. It is invested in precious metalsand currency.
I came out ahead on each and every one of these. All can be investigated online.
If you have over $500K TIAA will provide you with an advisor in or near your town. They will do an analysis and give advice for free in you have around $100K.
Charles Schwab will give you a local consultant with an investment of around $275K. Fidelity will do something similar.
Also I have found Fundx, both the NoLoad FundX Newsletter and the Fundx Funds (which are funds of constantly upgraded funds) to be very useful.
For low feesand a good website, I like Scottrade. TRpwe Price is also an excellent company with many good solid funds. I have accounts with both.