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After much reading on the Motley Fool website, I have discovered that the Vanguard Index 500 fund is a fairly good invenstment choice if you cannot manage your own stock portfolio. I have a 403(b) plan through my employer that has this fund as an investmetn choice, however, I called the administrator to receive performance and fee information on this fund. this is what I was told:

1YR = 17.03
3YR = 26.51
5YR = 24.72
10YR = 17.47

Fees (annual) = .75%

Then I checked the internet and found this:

1YR = 21.07
3YR = 26.90
5YR = 25.78
10YR = 17.91

fees (annual) = .18%

Can someone help me interpret what this means? Why does the return seem lower in the 403(b) and would I be better of choosing this as a vehicle in a Roth IRA instead of using the 403(b)? It would seem that the return would be better and the fees would be lower.


http://www.vanguard.com/daily/pricesyields.html will provide yet another set of numbers, but I wouldn't worry about those tiny differences. They come from the fact that the returns are calculated for slightly different time periods. The one difference that is real is the 0.57% excess annual fee over what Vanguard charges. My 403(b) with Vanguard only charges 0.20%. Still, it's probably less overhead than any other option you'll have on a decent investment, and in your position I wouldn't worry about it ... at least up to the maximum matched investment.

I chose to put almost my entire 403(b) into the Index 500, while I use my IRA for individual stocks, generally tech/growth stocks where I have personal knowledge of the quality of their products and management. If I didn't have the time or the knowledge to choose stocks for the IRA, I'd put that into Index 500 too. It's your choice of course, but do you have a better tax-deferred option (with matching!) for amounts greater than $2k per year?
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