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hello everyone!

i have a rookie concern. well, here goes....

my employer (a major automobile insurance company that is not publicly traded) has for years offered it's employees a small suite of mutual funds with very low expense ratios and very low initial/subsequent purchase requirements (currently $250/$50). the funds are only available to employees and family members.

now my employer has decided to offer a separate suite of funds to the general public. these 10 or so funds have only been around for about 2 months (inception in december of 2000).

among these new funds, there are a couple of international (foreign) funds that i have interest in with nav's around $9/share. i would normally jump at one of the funds, because it would be a perfect fit to my "portfolio in progress".

here's the problem: the funds have 12b1 fees, front-end and back-end loads and a noticeable service fee, (actually one has the front-end load and the other has the back-end load). because i'm an employee, i think i can avoid the loads as i may qualify for a waiver. however, i still have a problem with the 12b1 fees and the overall expense ratio of 1.8% or so.

the initial investment minimum is $250 and subsequent buys are a $50 minimum. i plan to hold the fund shares for years to come as i'm 30+ years from conventional retirement age (ok, i'm 33). after 7 years or so, i think the back-end load disappears on the one fund.

just so you all know, my employer is state farm and the subject funds are SFFAX and SFFBX (additional info at my questions/concerns:

-do funds usually start out with such fees?
-is it unrealistic for me to think that over 10 yrs
or so that these funds will eventually drop these
ugly fees and look more desireable like the "employee
only" funds?
-or, am i fooling myself and should i continue my
search for an international fund to compliment my

as you can probably tell, i have a strong allegiance to my company and couldn't imagine that they would offer funds with loads and 12b1 fees for any substantial amount of time. i would appreciate any comments.


a fool trying to become a Fool.
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