Nancy Tengler's USA Today Column

3 tips to protect your investments, whether you manage your money or hire an adviser

Years ago I decided to leave the investment business and return to graduate school. It seemed a good time to hire an investment adviser to oversee our portfolios.
But I quickly realized that because of the hefty investment management fee we were paying the adviser, as well as the underlying fees (often hidden) in the funds the advisor chose, we were spending a great deal of money to achieve below-market returns.
I asked for a full accounting of our total fees paid. Our adviser seemed astonished by my request and exclaimed: “No one has ever asked us for that before! I will have to create a custom spreadsheet to calculate the fees.” And, so she did.
The “hidden” fees in the fund investments added an additional 50% to the advisory fee we were paying.
Soon I was managing our assets once more.
Whether you decide to manage your assets (and I believe you can!) or hire an adviser, here are three tips to ensure your portfolio generates maximum return for your future.
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