When I was a teen, our family moved to Wisconsin. My parents bought an older home with some extra back rooms that were built behind the garage and the breezeway. My dad wanted to remodel the rooms, so we proceeded to tear off the drywall. Surprise! We found thousands of black carpenter ants that rained down from the ceiling. They were there all the time. We just didn’t see them. And they were doing damage to the ceiling that could have been disastrous.

There are black carpenter ants or termites in many investor’s portfolios. Sometimes it is annual portfolio management fees, quarterly fees, front-loaded high-cost mutual funds, high expense ratios and other hidden but crafty costs. It pays to know the costs. While not every tool can show you every cost, you should read your statement and add up the costs. You can also use Personal Capital to reveal your normal ETF and mutual fund expenses. The following is an example from our investments:

ETF and mutual fund investment fees can be seen in Personal Capital.

You can use the Personal Capital tools on their web-based solution, and you can also use the mobile apps. I use both. The following image is from my laptop. It shows our expenses for 2019.

Personal Capital mobile apps: https://www.personalcapital.com/financial-software/mobile-app

Don’t ignore the fees and other charges. Your advisor cannot grow dollars that are removed from your account no matter how brilliant they are. Of course the broker or other experts are happy to take your money. Don’t give it to them without counting the cost.