...The majority of the IRA is with one of the well known shops but managed - so they charge about .99% a year and match my assets based on a model (e.g. Aggressive Growth) which consist of Mutual Funds - their own and 3rd parties.....Their mutual fund fees(including hidden costs) are likely much higher than similar index fund at Vanguard or an ETF would be. That likely adds at least another 1% in expenses each year for a total that might be 2% or more a year. The math gets a bit funky but 1% of your money each year for the next 20 years is something like 20% of your current nest egg. 2% a year is nearly 40% over 20 years ! When you retire you will be able to have a safe withdrawal rate of somewhere around 4% so 1 and 2 percent in expenses each year will eat up 25 or 50 percent of your retirement income each year. They would have to help you beat the market by a lot to justify those fees. (Hint: if they were that good they wouldn't be wokring for you or me.)As of today the Dow has doubles over the last three years. If you are going to buy individual stocks you need to be brutal about comparing your performance to a comparable index. ..What so most people do?...I don't know about most people but my plan was to put around 80% of my stock portfolio in index funds and then pick stocks with the rest. I found out that I was not a superior stock picker (which could earn me an eight figure salary in Wall Street) so now about 99% of my stocks in index funds and Berkshire Hathaway with about 1% in individual stocks left over from my stock picking days.