There's a portion at the end of every mutual fund's annual report that, if you readit closely, just might change your view on “fees,” or, more appropriately, mutual fundoperating costs (commonly called the “expense ratio”). But before Iget to that, let's review the game everyone plays when it comes tofees.

Fees are bad. Retirement savers pay too much in fees. Why,did you know that several white papers even say ordinary workerswill lose anywhere from $150,000 to more than a quarter-milliondollars? That's maybe a third or more of their earnings. All lostto those terrible fees.

Only, the bulk of these “fees” consist of mutual fund operatingcosts. One widely quoted study even includes “trading” expenses(i.e., brokerage commissions incurred when buying and sellingunderlying securities within the mutual fund's portfolio). Here'sthe too-often-ignored mathematical reality: Mutual fund returnsalready incorporate both brokerage commissions and expenseratios.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook ( Twitter (