Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

8 of 21
BACK NEXT
8. Keep expenses low, low, low
You never know how a mutual fund is going to perform, but you can know to a dead certainty how much it's going to charge you.

Over time the annual fees of 1% or so that most stock funds carry eat away at your money. Look at how much less you can expect to earn from an equity portfolio that charges 1.5% compared with a broad-based index fund charging just 0.2% a year.

So as you move your money - to harvest tax losses (No. 1), grab up bargains (No. 15 or No. 16) or rebalance your portfolio (No. 17) - choose mutual funds with annual expense ratios that are below their category averages.

You can find such funds using our Fund Screener. It's the one thing guaranteed to improve your long-term returns.

NEXT: Gauge your stomach for risk

Last updated August 16 2008: 4:37 PM ET
More Galleries
5 great day trips from Sydney Standout escapes just a short journey from Australia's largest city. More
New cameras go weird, wearable - even old school Meet the new crop of digital cameras, an eclectic group each with a very particular set of skills. More
Exploring 10 great cities for business in Asia From Shanghai to Tokyo, Mumbai to Hong Kong, here's how to make the most of the days between the deadlines. More

Special Offer