Investing 101: What to Look For In An Investment Management Company

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choicesThis is the first time you’re seeing investment information that comes from me on this blog.  The reason is that I haven’t really delved into it yet.  It is the single worst area of mine in the personal finance realm.  And I kind of got called out on it.  (Though completely indirectly.)  Save.Spend.Splurge. had a wonderful post a couple of months ago about women in STEM fields.  Or rather, the lack thereof.  In it, she added in this:

“I hope everyone who reads this encourages girls and women to try things and to learn subjects that are not typically female-oriented or female-dominated, such as how to best invest your money.

No seriously, more women than men (not saying that men don’t do this) seem to have this budgeting thing down pat, but when it comes to slightly more advanced personal finance topics like INVESTING, there seems to be a blockage or avoidance of the subject that mystifies me.”

And I’m totally one of those women.  I manage my money well in all other areas except that of investing.  And that has to change.  This was a kind of call-to-action for me.  I’ve been reading books to try to buff up, but so much of the vernacular is foreign that I get frustrated and lost.

So I decided to call my bank which offers free financial advising.  I told them I wasn’t interested in buying today, and I want to shop around anyways (they’re pretty good about allowing their customers to do that without being pushy as they generally have great rates and know that people will come back after looking,) but I wanted to know what kind of questions I should ask and fees I should be looking for when I decided WHO to invest my money with.  And these were the answers I got:

  • Look for a long list of investment options.
  • See if advice is included when you make certain investments with the company.  (Free advice, preferably.  The kind that doesn’t come with fees.)
  • Look for low:  maintenance fees, administration fees, annual fees, expense ratios (when you buy shares, what percentage goes to the manager of the fund?), and where the load is (front-end or back-end.)
  • Don’t ever buy something with a 12B-1, also known as a Leaky Bucket Fee.

So now I at least know what to look for.  And that’s a start.


(Obviously I’m not a professional on any of these things as I’m just learning them.  If you have any financial questions regarding investing, please seek out a financial professional.)


In other blogging news…

Check out my post on Coupons Daily!

Ramit is giving away a trip to Hawaii.  Use that link and we’ll both get entires!

Jeremy over at Modest Money has started a Top Finance Blogs List.

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9 thoughts on “Investing 101: What to Look For In An Investment Management Company

  1. Suburban Finance

    I first learned about investment in my Finance class in college, and I didn’t know that there were A LOT of investment options to choose from — not just stocks. I think it’s a great list from the bank. I also read about investment stuff on other personal finance blogs, really helpful!

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      I’ve read a lot from blogs, too. I think the number one thing I’ve gleaned is that Index Funds are good. A lot of times I feel like I’m diving into the deep end when I read them, though, and I still have my floaties on.

  2. Alexa

    I can relate to this. Only since the beginning of the year have I really started to take the time and learn about investing. (And to actually invest of course.) I think trial and error is key here though. The first stocks I bought were penny stocks and I learned first hand how stupid that is!! Now I’m working on creating a dividend portfolio and have been adding to it each month. I’m also planning on opening an SEP IRA this month. For me the only way I can truly learn about something is to get hands on. So that’s what I plan to do!

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      I’m the same way! Sometimes I block myself from learning because I think I have to know more before I start, but the real learning for me happens once I dive in and do it. Congrats on starting!

  3. nicoleandmaggie

    This part is true: “Look for low: maintenance fees, administration fees, annual fees, expense ratios (when you buy shares, what percentage goes to the manager of the fund?), and where the load is (front-end or back-end.)”

    Is there any reason not to go with Vanguard?

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Haha that’s what I’m finding to be true. My bank actually recommended checking them out. How do you feel about the other parts?

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      I’m pretty sure that’s the path I’ll be taking. Thanks for the recommendation!


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