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My mind goes to gel when I try to figure out how expensive a fund is. Sure I know that index funds, normally, are significantly cheaper than managed funds, however, how do you figure out what managed fund is the cheaper of two you are looking at - for your own specific investment plans. Here, I'm assuming that the two (or more) under consideration have similar year to year performances.

Basically I really don't know how to figure out from the information given in prospectuses how much I'll pay in fees.

For example, lets take a hypothetical investment choice.

I invest $3,000 in Fid. Sel. Technology (FSPTX). How much of that $3,000 gets taken out in fees during the course of year 1, and how much gets taken out in year 2 assuming I keep all my money in that fund, and how much gets taken if I exit it in year 3 ?

The fees listed for FSPTX are
Maximum Sales Fees:
Initial 3.00%
Deferred 0.00%
Redemption 0.75%

Maximum Fees:
Administrative 0.00%
Management 0.30%
12b-1 0.00%

Actual Fees:
12b-1 0.00%
Management 0.60%
Total Expense Ratio 1.20%

Expense Projections:
3yr $78
5yr $108
10yr $192

I obviously am at sea here because I don't understand how an actual management fee can be higher than the maximum fee, and I don't know how the expense projections are calculated and thus whether they are relevant to my situation and plans, nor how the expense ratio is calculated, nor whether in fact the expense ration is the only number I need to care about.

Any light any of you can shed on the subject, or any webresource that could help would be much appreciated.


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