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Thank you all, this post has been extremely helpful in many ways. As usual with users, I get more than I even hoped for in insight and assistance. I offer this form of assistance on technology sites where I am in my element, so perhaps its karma.

The math does not quite work out, but 1% of your money each year for 33 years is something like a third of you money. 2% is two thirds of your money. Run!!!!

Can someone quickly explain this to me?

I ran some really basic math numbers in Excel, I was comparing one scenario where I paid 2% in the first year, then 1% per year for the remaining years until age 65 (I am 36 now). I picked an annual gain percentage of 8% just for the exercise.

So each year I was paying a 1% fee on my balance (not sure this is how it would work out since there seems to be a load and then a mgmt fee, so maybe going forward I am only paying the mgmt fees, which were closer to 0.5% per year?)

At 65, my very rough and probably wrong numbers had the original investment being worth 737% of the original amount.

In scenario B, I threw the same numbers, but had the up front and annual fees at 0.25% (is this close to what it would be for no load Vanguard funds?).

Obviously there was a big difference assuming they were the same returns. At age 65, I would have made 933% of the original investment. The difference between the two was more like double the amount of my original investment.

But, if I changed the formula to allow the advisor option to be returning 1% more than the Vanguard option per year, then it was a wash. If the advisor option made 1.5% more per year, it was better to be with the advisor.

I know this is not the right math and it can't just be as simple as ROI% - fee%, so if someone could break down what I am missing that would be great (aside from the obvious answer that popular opinion is that the advisor can't do better than me investing in generic vanguard funds).

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