MY MOTHER-IN-LAW Doris passed away last year at age 90. In the last few years of her life, she often mentioned that she felt guilty spending any of her money, let alone splurging. She wanted to leave the money to her children, even when her children kept telling her to spend, splurge and enjoy the last few years of her life.
Doris didn’t want to worry about her investments. Like a lot of people, she entrusted her money to a nationally known financial company. Unfortunately, the company, like many name-brand money managers, charged an asset under management (AUM) fee above 1%, which I considered high for investing her money in relatively simple index funds. Although she had a good portion invested in stocks, the return she received after the AUM fee was much lower than the return she could have enjoyed with index funds held at a low-fee company like Charles Schwab or Vanguard Group. Doris, however, didn’t want to think about it too much and just assumed that the big name meant best management.