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
11 tasty treats to bring back from a business trip Nothing is as crowd-pleasing or pragmatic as edible souvenirs. We've found foodie gifts that are both delicious and distinguished in 11 popular business destinations. More
15 women who founded $1 billion startups Meet 15 women behind some of the world's hottest startups. More
Here are 27 ads Russian trolls bought on Facebook and Instagram The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday released some of the ads a Russian troll farm purchased on Facebook and Instagram during and after the U.S. presidential election. More

Special Offer