Realtors say “location, location, location” as the key to good real estate purchases. I say “expenses, expenses, expenses” as a fundamental for success in investing. Every dollar you pay to the fund or your adviser is one less dollar that can double every ten years if your growth rate is 7.2%. You realistically should see every dollar double every 7 years, because it is reasonable to earn 10% per year on average. When you are ready to buy an ETF, don’t ignore expenses.

For ETF’s, log onto Fidelity Investments and select “News & Research” at the top center of the page and then “ETFs.”

In the “Enter name or symbol” box enter the ETF. In this case, I used SCHD. I selected “Compare” and look at “Basic Facts & Performance.” You can now click on “Show similar ETPs” to get Fidelity’s suggested comparison ETFs, or you can individually enter the tickers you want to review. I entered VYM, ITOT, VOO and FDVV in my example.

What is a “good” expense ratio? There are so many quality ETF’s with an expense ratio of less than 0.10%, that it rarely makes sense to pay more. I would avoid FDVV because of the expense ratio. Other reasons I wouldn’t buy FDVV include the total investor dollars in this fund, the relatively small number of holdings, the fact that it is a newer, unproven ETF (09/12/16) and “tradability.” Tradability is important if you want to sell your shares. If an ETF does not have a lot of traders, it is almost akin to buying a small cap stock. Trading volume matters.