Fidelity Investments is upping the ante in the investment world by lowering the minimum deposits and fees on index funds.
Investment minimums are being dropped from $10,000 to $2,500 for entry level investing. And for the Big Money crowd, minimums are shrinking down to $10,000 from $100,000.
The fees at Fidelity are getting the scalpel treatment too. "Fees will be cut at eight of the firm's Spartan index funds, with total net costs decreasing between 1 and 8 basis points," according to Morningstar/Yahoo! Finance.
Of course, Fidelity isn't the only one looking to attract more investment dollars by slashing fees.
Late last year, Charles Schwab cut the annual management expenses across the board on all 15 of its own branded exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
That move was part of Schwab's effort to gain market share from rivals Fidelity and Vanguard. It followed months of moves by all three discount houses continually undercutting each other in an industry-wide price war.
Schwab's latest move now makes them cheaper than Vanguard. The Schwab U.S. Total Stock Mart ETF (SCHB) and the Schwab U.S. Large Cap ETF (SCHX) are now believed to be the cheapest mutual funds in the world. Both charge just 0.04 percent in annual expenses. Other Schwab ETFs cap out at expense rations of .20 percemt.
For the layman investor, this means that if you put $1 into a Schwab ETF, you have almost 100 percent staying and working for you.
By contrast, a typical mutual fund can have annual management fees of 1.5 percent, which means a penny and half of every dollar is gone. That may not sound like much, but over time it can actually reduce what you have in retirement by half.
ETFs have historically been for only for the wealthiest and biggest investors. But today they're for normal Earthlings. Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard all allow you to buy and sell ETFs commission-free.
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