Over a period of years this can amount to more than the front-end load. American is usually less than 1% a year.True enough, I would not avoid a load just to pay higher yearly fees. That doesn't make sense. But with Vanguard, and to some extent Fidelity, and a few others, having no load funds with very low fees as well, and funds which cover the whole range of options, I really see no reason to ever pay a load. Vanguard is no load on all styles of funds, and the expense ratio is generally below 0.20%.So when you combine no load, lesser expense ratios, and the fact that the average managed fund generally underperforms its index anyway, yeah, I'm gonna have to stick with my first call :). If you'd rather pick a managed fund, you can still pick a no load one with fees 0.80% or lower.
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