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
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More
7 businesses Amazon wants to shake up From industrial supplies to educational software, Amazon is about more than just retail and books. More
Don't miss these Tax Day deals From massages and paper shredding to cookies and queso, celebrate the end of tax season with these Tax Day freebies and discounts. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.