Screener Query Form

You can get a list of up to 10 of the lowest cost funds matching your criteria by entering the following information:

  • Specify the scope of funds you’re interested in by either one of the following:
    • Fund investment type
    • Select from the dropdown menu the Lipper fund class that best represents the type of assets that you wish to invest in, e.g. U.S. stocks, biotech stocks, municipal bonds, etc.

    • Partial fund name
    • If none of the fund classes in the menu are a close enough match for the specific type of fund you’re interested in, you can enter a character string to find funds whose names contain that string. For example, to find funds that invest primarily in preferred stocks; or that limit their investments by Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria; or that invest in Canada, you could enter the respective term Preferred, ESG or Canada.

    Along with your choices for investment type or partial name, the resulting funds are filtered by additional criteria, as described below.

  • How much would you invest in the fund?
  • Enter a number indicating the amount you would invest in the fund. This ensures that the search results will only show funds for which your investment meets or exceeds the fund’s minimum investment amount.

  • Would this be for a taxable or tax-sheltered account?
  • If you would hold the fund in an untaxed account, such as 401(k), IRA, Roth, 403(b), or 529, select “Tax-Sheltered”. If you would hold the fund in an ordinary taxable account, select “Taxable”, and the search will take into account the cost of taxes paid on an investment in the funds.

  • If the funds are in a taxable account, what are your combined marginal tax rates…
  • Enter a reasonable estimate of your marginal tax rates, combining federal tax, state tax (if your state taxes income), and if applicable the federal Net Investment Income Tax of 3.8% (applies to some individuals earning over $200,000 a year. This surtax was added in 2013 to help pay for the Affordable Care Act).

    • Ordinary Income
    • This rate applies to fund distributions that are classified as ordinary income (e.g. interest from funds that hold bonds, and dividends from REIT funds), as well as short-term capital gains distributions.

    • Long term Capital Gains
    • This rate applies to long-term capital gains distributions and qualified dividend distributions (most dividends from stock funds).

Screener Results — List of Low Cost Funds

The results table shows up to 10 of the lowest cost funds that match your search parameters (up to 5 funds for guest users). The results are ranked with the lowest of the low cost funds at the top (where cost is as defined below).

Along with your chooses for fund investment type or partial name, the funds on the list are filtered to have the additional criteria:

  1. The minimum investment amount is lower than the investment amount that you entered.
  2. The fund is directly available to retail investors through a brokerage or from the fund company. i.e. funds available only to institutions or distributed exclusively through non-retail channels are not included.
  3. The fund has no front-end or back-end load.
  4. The fund has at least 24 months of reporting history.
  5. Only the lowest cost eligible share class for a given portfolio will be shown. i.e. if the same underlying fund is available both as an ETF and as an open-end fund, only the least expensive of the two will be shown.

Lipper Fund Class

This is a code of 1 – 4 letters that indicates the class of fund as determined by Lipper to describe the type of assets the fund invests in and/or the investment strategy. This column is included in the table only when you have searched for funds based on a partial name, and not by selecting a specific fund class. A key that translates the class codes in the table to their descriptive names will be below the table.


This column indicates whether the fund is an open-end fund vs. ETF, or an index-fund vs. actively managed fund, as follows

  • EExchange Traded Fund (ETF)
  • NExchange Traded Note (ETN)
  • IPure Index Fund, designed to mimic a market index as closely as possible.
  • BIndex-Based Fund, aims to approximate an index as its primary approach, without necessarily matching its composition precisely.

If a fund is not flagged with either E or N, it is an open-end fund. If it is not flagged with either I or B, it is an actively managed fund.

Expense Ratio

The fund’s reported expense ratio.


The fund’s reported turnover. If turnover is not applicable to the particular fund or is otherwise not provided by Lipper, the value will be shown as ‘–‘.


If you have searched for a fund to be held in a taxable account, this column will show the estimated cost of taxes that would have been paid on the fund’s distributions for the preceding twelve months as a percentage of the amount held in the fund at the beginning of the twelve month period, assuming the tax rates that you provided; and assuming that all distributions were reinvested in the fund. If you are searching for a fund to be held in a tax-sheltered account this column will not be included in the table.

Cost Factor

This a standardized estimated annual cost of owning the fund per $1,000 held in the fund at the beginning of the year. It is the sum of the Expense Ratio %, the Tax% (if the fund is in a taxable account), and estimated percentage transaction costs, multiplied by $1,000. (A discussion of estimated transaction costs is here).

TTM Return

This is the fund’s return for the previous twelve months, assuming all distributions were reinvested.

Sharpe Ratio

The Sharpe Ratio is a common measurement of a fund’s performance, taking into account both risk and return. Here it is measured over the preceding 36 months (or the fund’s lifetime if less than 36 months). A longer discussion on the Sharpe Ratio and how we calculate it is here.

Matching Index

The name of the nearest matching market index that we could determine from the indexes in our Lipper database, or “n.a.” if no reasonable match could be determined.


The correlation coefficient between the fund returns and index returns over the preceding 36 months (or the fund’s lifetime if less than 36 months). A value of 100% indicates that the fund is a close replica of the index. A reasonable index fund should be at least 99.7% correlated with the index that it is intended to track. If an index fund in the table shows a correlation less than that, then it’s likely that we don’t have its true benchmark index in our database. If the correlation between the fund and the stated index is less than 90% then the fund’s asset mix and investment strategy would be somewhat different from the index.


The difference of the fund’s returns for the preceding twelve months, as shown in the TTM Return column, less the corresponding return for the index.

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Last updated on December 16, 2021