Are you aware of the fees you’re paying when it comes to exchange traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds or your retirement account?

A new study shows: probably not, reports Lisa Shidler for Investment News.

In a survey by AARP, 85% said that while fees are important when it comes time to make decisions about your investments, 74% weren’t aware of how much they’re actually paying.

The Department of Labor is studying the need for fee disclosure, and released a sample form asking for comments. AARP created its own fee disclosure form to be separately tested along with the Labor Department’s.

Only 30% found the Labor Department’s form easy to read, while 77% thought the AARP’s form was easy to understand.

How do fees affect your investments over time? They can have quite a significant impact, as shown by the chart below. On average, ETFs have much lower fees than mutual funds.:

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. 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.