I am looking at mutual funds that list fees and expense ratio side by side. For the purposes of comparing funds, should I add all the numbers together and treat them as expense ratio?

For example, this American Funds target date fund lists the following fees and expense ratio:

Annual Management Fees  0.00%
Other Expenses  0.12%
Service 12b-1   0.27%
Expense Ratio
AAMTX 1 0.79%

So when comparing expense ratios, should I treat this fund has having a total 1.18% expense ratio?


1 Answer 1


I found the AAMTX prospectus online, which makes it look like .79% is the sum total:

Annual fund operating expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
                                 Share class:   A       C       T   F-1     F-2     F-3         R-1
Management fees                                 none    none    none    none    none    none    none
Distribution and/or service (12b-1) fees        0.27%   1.00%   0.25%   0.25%   none    none    1.00%
Other expenses                                  0.12    0.13    0.153   0.13    0.12%   0.03%   0.15
Acquired (underlying) fund fees and expenses    0.40    0.40    0.40    0.40    0.40    0.40    0.40
Total annual fund operating expenses            0.79    1.53    0.80    0.78    0.52    0.43    1.55
Expense reimbursement                           –       –       –       –       –       0.01    –
Total annual fund operating expenses            0.79    1.53    0.80    0.78    0.52    0.42    1.55
after expense reimbursement

Note: My original answer was the opposite of this based on this investopedia writeup, but I believe I had misinterpreted the article.

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