Best new ways to save money

From an app that pumps up your card rewards to tools for finding the great college your family can afford, here's how you can keep more money in your pocket in 2014.

Best new ways to lower investment fees

money savers 401k fees

Shedding light begins to lower 401(k) costs

Since late 2012, 401(k) plan providers have been required to send you a new statement disclosing fees.

Didn't read yours? That may not matter. Some other sharp-eyed folks have been looking. Lawyers are sending employers with pricey plans warnings about possible lawsuits; competing plan providers may be using the info to prepare lower-cost bids. Plan costs are coming down as a result, says Brian Graff of the American Society for Pension Professionals and Actuaries.

The median 401(k) plan is paying just 53¢ in annual fees per $100 in assets, according to consultancy NEPC, down from 55¢ last year. Record-keeping costs fell $12 per employee. It's a step in the right direction.

Best new reason to switch funds

1% costs 20%. Maybe a 1.1% fee on a mutual fund doesn't sound so costly. In an article published in the spring, however, Nobel Prize-winning economist William Sharpe devised a new way to show how fees add up over 30 years of savings.

The sobering truth. Sharpe ran simulated returns for a hypothetical actively managed fund charging 1.1% and an index fund with fees under 0.1%. Half the time, he found, the index fund would have produced at least 20% more wealth to tap during retirement.

  @Money - Last updated December 03 2013 05:33 PM ET
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