Jill Gianola, CFP, owner of Gianola Financial Planning, LLC, and author of "The Young Couple's Guide to Growing Rich Together":
"One of my favorite ways to build wealth is to pay close attention to the cost of investing and stick to low-cost, no-load mutual funds," she says.
One example: "If you invested $10,000 in small-cap, value funds with a commission and higher-than-average operating expenses and earned 7 percent a year for 10 years, your balance would be $16,005 and you would have paid a sales charge of $575 and $1,890 in operating expenses," she says.
"Compare that to investing the same amount for the same time period earning the same return in a no-load, small-cap, value fund with low operating expenses," she says. "Your balance would be $19,128 and you would have paid $408 in operating expenses." The difference: $3,123.
Tip for success: Calculate cost and differences with Bankrate's mutual fund fees calculator.