retiredjg wrote:The way to pick your funds (and the custodian) is by the costs. You need to look for low expense ratios combined with low or no other management costs.
There is a lot more to picking a fund (and custodian) than costs. I think costs could be the final deciding factor between two similar funds. But that is not the primary reason to pick a fund.
Start by figuring out your risk tolerance and desired asset allocation. Keep it simple until you have $50,000 or so in assets, meaning about 3 funds.
Then find the funds that match your goals.
Lastly, use costs to distinguish between similar funds.
To keep things really simple, use a target retirement fund by looking to see which one has the stock/bond ratio that is closest to your desired allocation. (This is better than selecting a target retirement fund with a year which is close to when you turn 60 or 65.)