By Ori @FeeX
Here at FeeX, we’re committed to showing people the fees they’re paying in plain ol’ dollars and cents — no crazy financial terms or confusing figures, just the exact financial impact related to how much money you’re saving for retirement. Expense ratio fees are of particular interest for us to decode for you, since they’re usually expressed in percentages, and the phrase ‘expense ratio’ doesn’t necessarily translate to what it is, which is to say, a fee.
This week’s Worst Fee Ever comes from Lewis, who runs the excellent blog Money Positive, and who encountered a true whopper of an expense ratio — but was aware enough to catch it on his own. Nowadays, we’ll catch those fees for you, but we’re glad Lewis figured this out before he lost a huge chunk of money!
Hey Lewis, what’s your Worst Fee Ever?
“Years ago, before I started studying personal finance professionally, my family had an account with a large investment firm. I asked my advisor how I should invest, and he recommended a product with an expense ratio of almost 5%. Which would mean they would take 5% of my money every year for the privilege of them managing it. It seemed fishy to me that it would be so expensive. They would have to make a huge return just to cover their own costs, much less produce value for me. I chose not to invest with them. I started reading on my own and learning about investing and controlling fees. I learned you can’t know how much return you will make but you can control how much you spend in fees. I learned to look for diversified products that deliver value with reasonable expenses. Now I seek to teach others through Money Positive how to better manage their money, and controlling fees is an important part of that.”
Got a Worst Fee Ever for us? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share your story with the FeeHacks community!