Are Your Investment Fees Costing You Too Much?

We are living longer than ever before and interest rates have been at historically low levels for years. No wonder so many CARP members are worried about outliving their savings.

As we age, we have fewer options to extend our savings, but there is still one critical decision we control: how much we pay in investment fees. The best predictor of future returns from a fund or other investment is its annual fee.[1]
This is because the fees we pay are a double whammy. Not only are the fees deducted from our portfolio, but we also lose the future earnings we would have made if we’d kept that money in our portfolios.  Albert Einstein once declared compound interest to be the most powerful force in the universe. Unfortunately compounding costs take away much of its power.

To help you visualize the importance of fees to your investment returns, former investment banker and investor advocate Larry Bates has agreed to share a tool he created with CARP.  Larry has designed this interactive graph to help investors see the impact of the fees they pay over time.

Think of investment fees as a hungry predator biting into your savings. Your share of the return from your investments – the percentage you actually get to keep – is called your T-Rex Score.  It’s what you have left over after investment fees are taken out. The higher your T-Rex Score, the better.

To learn more about Larry Bates and check out his other resources, please visit his website at

To use the T-Rex Calculator, simply input the following:

  1. The amount of your existing or contemplated investment
  2. A projected average annual return on investment before fees
  3. Your total annual investment fees
  4. Your investment time horizon

Determine your T-Rex Score

You Invest

Annual Return

Annual Fees(%)

Time (years)

T-Rex Score: 57%

Total Gain

Lost in Fees

Gain You Keep

Total Value


T-Rex Score: The percentage of your total investment returns you actually get to keep

Total Gain: the total gain produced by your underlying investments before fees (based on continuous reinvestment of annual gains throughout).

Lost in Fees: total amount lost in fees (fees paid plus the “drag” arising from the reduced rate of return).

Gain You Keep: portion of total gain you actually keep.

Total Value: your original investment plus the gain you keep.

Note: CARP is not opposed to the purchase of investment advice or management services. Our advocacy work is focused on ensuring that people are aware of what they are paying for, investment advice and management services; and that those who provide financial or investment advice act in their clients’ best interests.

[1] See for example