Despite all the talk about transparency, many investors still do not think they pay fees for investing or do not know how much they pay, according to a study released today by the Finra Investor Education Foundation.

Fourteen percent of all respondents did not think they pay any kind of fee for investing and another 17% acknowledged they did not know how much they pay.

Among mutual fund investors, 32% believed they do not pay fees or expenses, according to “Investors in the United States: A Report of the National Financial Capability Study,” compiled by the Finra Foundation, an educational and research organization.

The lack of awareness about fees is indicative of overall low level of knowledge about investing in general, according to the survey of 2,000 American adults, all of whom have investments outside of their retirement accounts. Participants in the study were given a 10-question quiz. Only one-third of respondents were able to answer more than half of the investing questions correctly, and the average number of questions answered correctly was 4.7.

Just under one-third of the nation's population has investments in non-retirement accounts. While the number of men who have non-retirement investments has increased, the number of women with non-retirement investments has remained flat since 2015. However, ownership among millennials and African-Americans is increasing, the study said.

The survey showed that 46% of the participants mistakenly think that the past performance of an investment is a good indicator of future results. At the same time, 70% did not understand that the main advantage of index funds over actively managed funds is generally lower fees and expenses.

Using a financial advisor to help with planning does not preclude investors from doing some of the work themselves, the study indicated. Seventy-two percent make decisions on their own at least some of the time and, among those investors who trade online, 51% also trade through their financial advisor.

Although the study revealed a lack of knowledge about investing, 75% of the study participants said they feel they have enough knowledge to make their own decisions. Online services, websites and blogs are the most frequently cited channels for obtaining investment information, the study said.

Investing-related tools like BrokerCheck or Investor.gov are used by less than 10% of investors, according to the survey.

Individual stocks continue to be the most commonly held investment vehicle, especially among those with portfolios of less than $50,000, according to the survey. Mutual funds are much more likely to be owned by those with portfolios of $50,000 and above than by those with portfolios of less than $50,000.

While 12% of the study participants already are invested in cryptocurriencies, 18% are considering it. Awareness of cryptocurriencies is consistent across age groups and portfolio values, but younger investors (ages 18 to 34) and those with portfolios of less than $50,000 are much more likely than average to consider cryptocurrency investments, according to the survey.

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