Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are touted for their low costs, however, many are becoming noticeably more expensive as time goes on.

Eleanore Laise for The Wall Street Journal reports that the average ETF now charges an expense ratio of 0.54% of assets, up from 0.41% from one year ago. This may be only chump change to some, but small variations in funds can add up quickly over time. ETFs are getting pricier as they narrow their focus and use more complex strategies.

Broad market ETFs remain comparatively cheap. For example, Vangaurd Total Stock Market (VTI) charges 0.07% for expenses. When you venture into more specialized territory, the funds begin to get a little more expensive. For example, the HealthShares European Medical Products And Devices (HHT) charges 0.95%.

While there are some mutual funds that are inexpensive and some that even cost less than certain ETFs do, ETFs remain the far cheaper and more versatile option, by and large. It’s all about being informed and doing what’s right for you and your portfolio.

There are a number of screening tools available online to sort ETFs by expense ratio, including at Morningstar and Index Universe. Rydex Investments has a Trading Expense Calculator.

Read the disclosure, as Tom Lydon is a board member of Rydex Funds.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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