This year, one of the major investment companies on Wall Street launched a free, or I should say a $0 fee, investment vehicle. If offers abroad diversified basket of US stocks (there is an International version as well) and it has no “stated” cost to the customer/client who chooses to invest in it. The term “there is no such thing as a free lunch” comes to mind.
You can measure cost in time, in energy, in stress, missed opportunities and many other currencies. In this situation, you can probably even measure cost in the solicitations you will have to vet and endure as a result of investing your money with the “free” choice company. The cost of a free investment vehicle, to me, the person entrusted to find the best deal for clients, feels similar to the “10 cent per pound turkey” for sale at the grocery store the days leading up to Thanksgiving. It brings you in the door, and once you’re in you can buy (or be sold) all kinds of other marked up juicy and profitable items the store has to offer.
I will still explore the “free” investment, put it through the ringer, and weigh it’s appropriateness for our clients like I would any other option. However, Wall Street is not a non profit organization and if any one company is willing to “donate” one of their investment to your portfolio, it is surely worth a healthy amount of skepticism.