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Investing Specialists

Morningstar Runs the Numbers

We take a numerical look through this week's Morningstar research. Plus, our most popular articles and videos for the week ended Aug. 10.

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Inspired by Harper's Index (with a tip of the hat to FiveThirtyEight's Significant Digits blog), Morningstar Runs the Numbers uses a numbers-based approach to highlight recent Morningstar research, along with some outside news stories.

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The costs of owning mutual funds/exchange-traded funds are well-specified. Auto manufacturers sticker cars with estimated fuel expenditures, and appliance dealers post anticipated energy consumption, but those are rough guesses. Actual expenses will vary widely by user. Whereas with funds, a shareholder's costs can generally be determined precisely, multiplying the expense ratio by the investment's size. Sometimes, however, the official numbers don't tell the complete story. Vice president of research John Rekenthaler discusses three exceptions.

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