Tag: Percentage

Many of my prospective clients come into my office either not knowing how much they are paying in investment fees or mistakenly thinking that they are receiving their investment counsel for free.  It is no wonder this occurs.  Fees are often embedded in the form of loads (either front-end when the fund is purchased or on the back end when it is sold), commissions, and expense ratios.  These hidden fees make it difficult to ascertain total investment costs for your portfolio. 

Many financial statements appear to have no fees deducted, but just because you can’t see a fee, does not mean it is not present and having an effect on your portfolio.

So how do you determine the fees you are being charged?

How much do you pay for advice? – Fee only versus Fee Based Advisors

First, if you use an advisor, you will somehow be paying for this advice.  There are many ways advisors receive compensation.

A fee “only” advisor charges a fee based on either a percentage of your total assets invested, a retainer, or per project fee based on an hourly rate.   This is the easiest and most transparent way for the client to be charged.  Furthermore, with retainers and hourly fees, large portfolios are not charged egregiously high rates just because they have higher account balances.  Note that true fee-only planners are in the minority in the financial advisory world.   Hourly, fee only advisors are even rarer.

The downside of this approach is that since the client has to write a check for the amount, behaviorally it is less palatable for him, even if the charges are far less. Ironically, this enhanced awareness of the fee, even if it is substantially lower, makes the client more resistant to paying via this method.

Fee “based” advisors are distinctly different from fee only advisors in that they can charge a certain percentage of assets AND may also receive commissions on the products or funds sold to the client.  This could be the case if your advisor who charges you 1% annually on your investment portfolio also gets commissions from the funds or positions in your portfolio or from an insurance product or annuity he or she sells you.

The ABC’s of Investment Fees

Most investors that go to a solely commissioned based brokerage are not charged a fee as a percentage of their assets. So, on the surface, it may appear that the advice they receive is “free.”   Instead, the broker will buy funds that have a built in commission.  These funds are often denoted by a capital letter after the fund.  An “A” fund has a front-end load.  Typically 4-6% of the total amount handed over to the advisor will go straight to him or her as commission.  These fees may decline at certain breakpoints, particularly if you stick within one fund family.  “B” funds have back-end commissions that normally decline over time, so it is best to hold on to these until they have expired.  C funds have level but relatively high annual expenses.  Due to these loads or commissions, load funds tend to have higher expense ratios, as well as potentially 12b-1 fees.

What are expense ratios and 12b-1 fees?

An expense ratio is the most common fee an investor will encounter.    It represents the annual operating costs of the fund.  Every mutual fund or exchange traded fund has this ratio, and, of course, you would ideally like to see these as low as possible.  For example, active funds may have expenses ratios well over 1%, whereas passive index funds may have expense ratios less than .20%.

The 12b-1 fee is also considered an operational expense and, as such, is included in a fund’s expense ratio. It ranges between 0.25-1%, but is more often closer to 0.25%.  It is primarily used as an incentive for the broker or rep to sell the fund and is paid to that broker annually.

Note that although active funds purport to “beat the market,” over two-thirds of these funds fail to beat their benchmark in any one year.   See this related article. As you can imagine, the more of these active funds you add to your portfolio, the chance of you beating the market (as represented by index funds) over many years substantially diminishes.   Thus, the increased expenses many investors pay a fund manager to “market time” or pick “winning funds” are often a waste of money.

Let’s look at an example to bring it all together:

Say I invest $100,000 in a fund with front end loads of 4.75%.  The fund also has an expense ratio of 1.13% inclusive of a 0.25% 12-b1 fee, which goes back to the broker.  At the same time, I decide to invest in a no load passive indexed fund in the same investment category.

After 5 years, assuming that the annualized rate of return for the category index is 10%, the total costs and return of the portfolio would be as follows:

 Even though the expenses for the higher cost fund were perhaps not as transparent, the ending value of the investment shows the dramatic difference.  This is why many investors scratch their head and wonder why their portfolio seems to underperform the market.

The moral of the story is costs matter, especially over long periods of time.  Over just five years, in this example, the low cost investment balance is over 10% higher.

Make sure you fully understand all of your investment costs and how you are being charged.  If future investment returns are expected to be lower than what we have historically experienced, keeping costs low is even more imperative.

If you invest in low cost funds and use a low cost fee only advisor consider yourself well-armed to defend against lower returns in the future.

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It is not easy to live in this life diffrent from many people. Especially if it about tradition, including how you spent your money on holiday. With the holiday shopping season well underway, the spirit of giving to family, friends and just causes comes with a high cost.

According to creditcards.com, the total U.S. consumer debt stands at $2.43 trillion for 2019, and falling into debt during the holidays is a reality for many. In fact, the National Retail Federation found that Americans spent $52 billion on Black Friday shopping this year.

Beware of the phony debt collector…

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These days, falling behind on some bills is the new normal since so many people are juggling unemployment checks or part time salaries. But that opens the door for fake collectors to scam people out of credit card numbers and bank account information. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector cannot threaten arrest, call you after 9 p.m., at your place of work or contact others regarding your debt. If so, that person may very well be a scam artist.

Don’t be ‘naughty’ with your credit cards…

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Credit cards can be useful tools for consumers, but you have to be careful not to abuse them during the holiday season. They can spell a quick slide into unmanageable debt if misused. Creditcards.com reported that the average credit card debt per household was $15,799 and the average annual percentage rate on credit card with a balance on it was 13.10 percent, as of May 2019

Have no fear; help is on the way…

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Not paying off debt can have other consequences besides having to dole out extra cash due to a high interest rate. A lowered credit score can affect your ability to snag a great deal on your next car, appliance, home or other purchases – or may prevent you from obtaining future credit altogether. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 70% of consumers surveyed say they have noticed new credit card disclosures on their bills. But fewer than one-third say this caused them to make bigger payments or stop charging up their cards.

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Modern times have taught people of a different manner to approach things. When looking to purchase a valuable item like a house or a car, people choose to borrow money. Having the entire sum is close to impossible in some cases and purchasing a home is often a necessary step in life. Borrowing money from either a bank or a financial institution which is dedicated to this field has its costs. The problem with loans is that the client never gets the entire story from the very beginning. People are lured by incredible amounts of money which seem to be given easily to almost everyone. There are no impossible conditions to accomplish which might come between the borrower and the needed sum of money. When the contract is done and the sun of money received has been spent, the truth arises and it can be devastating in some cases. Working with a professional annual percentage rate calculator brings forward several benefits.

The first real advantage is the fact that you get the whole truth from the very beginning. With a mortgage apr calculator, you know exactly what to expect when you are borrowing money. It is a known fact that when you decide to file for a loan, the costs of the entire affair will end up being larger than the sum of money borrowed. The good thing about using an annual mortgage rate calculator is that you have the possibility to better distinguish among your choices. The APR could very well become a criterion based on which you select the loaner. Secondly, the next benefit on the list is that you can tell whether or not your loan needs refinancing. The APR has the tendency to fluctuate and these modifications can affect you over time. Only a mortgage apr calculator can tell you whether or not you should file for a loan refinancing and where is the best place to obtain it.

Last, but not least on the list of benefits, the annual percentage rate calculator can tell you exactly what type of loan you can actually afford. This is very important, because even if several loaners offer you the same sum of money, one might present less extra costs. Luckily, a tool as efficient as the mortgage apr calculator can offer you the guidance you need when selecting where to borrow money from. It is true that one cannot take a decision based solely on the results provided by the annual percentage rate calculator. There are multiple other factors which come to influence the decision of the client as far as the borrower is concerned. However, using the annual percentage rate calculator can provide the client with relevant pieces of information. As you can see, the use of a mortgage apr calculator brings forward a complete and truthful overview of the borrower, the chance to better compare borrowers among them and offers the client details on the loan he can afford. In a world which is characterized through loans and the concept of borrowing, this instrument is indeed on the client’s side.

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