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hi all -

i just started contributing to my 401k after a year of working - i was building up some liquidity since i'm recently graduated and also waiting for eligibility for the company's matching contribution. i'm 22 and new to and would appreciate your help. i'm basically gonna make an allocation and leave it there til i retire.

i've got a question about the expense fee and how it plays out in the long run. let's say you've got two funds (like the S&P) with no expense fee and 12% annual return over 10 years, and you've also got another managed fund with an expense fee of 0.88%, but annual return of 14% over 10 years. what are the net returns on these two? i'm not exactly sure how to calculate the expense fee, and is there a possibility of other hidden fees?

i'm set up with t.rowe price am considering allocating a majority of my 401k into their index fund which is meant to replicate the S&P. it's got no expense fee, and it's 10 year returns are 11.74%. since i'm young, i'm also thinking of putting a portion in the TRP SMALL CAP VALUE managed fund, which has an expense fee of 0.88%, no 12b-1 fees, and 10 year returns of 14.79%. these investments would be long term (~10 years).

of course no return is guaranteed, but i wanted to get some opinions on this, because i really don't know if i'm making a dumb decision or not. there's other fund options that i have with current 10 year returns higher than the S&P but they've got expense fees associated with them. but i do know that the S&P wins out in the end, but maybe over a shorter term like 5-10 years another fund may beat the S&P.

so another question is what would have to be a minimum return over the S&P for a managed fund with an expense fee to still come out on top over 5-10 years?

thanks for your help!
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