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My husband just got into his 401K program at work. He is 40 years old, so we've got a way to go until retirement. Unfortunately, none of the choices for the 401K is an index fund. We've got growth funds, international funds, value funds -- all of the MFS and Putnam families.

I've been researching a bit on the Motley Fool about how to choose a fund when one is forced to and from what I understand, expense ratios and loads are a big factor. I researched all of the funds and got that info on them all. Now, I'm not sure what to do with it. Am I supposed to compare each fund's expense ratios and loads to their returns? If so, am I supposed to use 1 yr. or 5 yr. returns?

What about the turnover rate? Does that factor in anywhere and if so, how do I use it?

I'm also finding that some of the funds with the highest expense ratios are also producing the biggest returns. I know the expense ratios and loads eat into those returns, but when I weigh that against a fund that has much lower expense ratios and loads, but very mediocre returns, it makes the higher one look better.

Also, if a fund is posting a negative return for the YTD, that means that so far, for 2001, it hasn't made any money, right?

Thank you for any assistance anyone can give me! I feel like I have so many pieces of info on all of my available funds, but nothing that really gives me a story or a direction. (As you can probably tell, I'm very new at this!)
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