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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?

When looking at loads and expense ratios the name of the game is to look for the lowest. However, this can get tricky to identify what you would actually pay, because mutual funds held in a 401(k) may state a load in the prospectus, yet the load is waived for the 401(k) plan.

But Low expenses does not automatically guarantee good returns. Ideally, you would like low expesnes and high retruns. When you are limited in the funds you can choose from, you have to pick the best of the bunch. In order to compare your choices, you need to look at the complete picture in terms of performance, fees, your asset allocation and your level of risk. A generic approach should look at the 5 YR (and older if available) numbers, but if there have been changes in the fund managment or objective in the last 5 years, the comparison may not be accurate.

You can research the funds at either or for free. Both sites allow you to go one step further will offer you advice as far as which funds would be best to choose in the 401(k) plan.

Hope this helps!
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