Lots of financial writers correctly praise index funds for their low costs, low turnover, low drama, massive and easy diversification, and numerous other attributes.
But today I’m going to repeat something I wrote in 2014: The No. 1 reason you should love index funds is they will keep you out of the hands of pushy, unethical salespeople and brokers.
If Wall Street knows you’re committed to index funds, you’ll probably drop to the bottom (where you want to be, I assure you) of cold-call lists used by security salespeople looking for business.
The reason is obvious: The paltry expenses paid by index-fund investors will never be enough to satisfy Wall Street’s seemingly insatiable need for hefty sales commissions, fancy offices, expense-paid trips, sky-high salaries and other perks.
Millions of investors seem willing to pay significant annual expenses for actively managed mutual funds.
In the very popular large-cap blend fund category, the average expense ratio is 0.98%. Index funds typically charge no more than one-fifth that much — and often less than 10% of that.
Even worse (in fact unconscionable) from Wall Street’s point of view, Fidelity Investments offers index funds in that category with no charge at all for expenses.
But what’s bad for Wall Street is good for investors.
In fact, there’s general agreement among academics and investment advisers who don’t sell products that the most reliable way to boost investment returns is to cut your expenses.