Talk about penny-wise! Just this morning when I am betting that many of the once-darling technology tech fund managers are spilling their cookies -- if not their guts -- on the sidewalks, I get this silly little missive from a reader who really doesn't get what performance is about at all:

Jim:Thanks but no thanks for your recent "recommendation" regarding the (OFALX) - Get Report Olstein Financial Alert Fund. While I cannot argue about the fund's excellent past performance, I have chosen not to take your recommendation because after reading the fund's prospectus, I realize that based on the fund's class structure and fees, it is a poor deal for shareholders. As your typical retail investor, I would be required to purchase the Class C shares of the fund. They are subject to total fund expenses of 220 basis points!!! That includes a 100 basis-point 12b-1 distribution fee that must be paid by Class C shareholders every year. Typically, in a load fund, you pay such a high annual 12b-1 fee for 5-7 years and then those shares are converted to another class with a 25 basis-point (or lower) 12b-1 fee. Of course, Mr. Olstein, his employers and friends are not subject to such fees because they may purchase the Adviser Class of the fund, which has fees that are substantially less than Class C shares.Regards,
Name withheld

Oh doctor, how could someone miss a whole forest by staring at a fee hedgerow? How could someone make a judgment over a few pennies, and miss the big home run? Hey, let's say



Van Wagoner


Putnam OTC Emerging Growth

waived their fees entirely! Would this good soul flock to them? Are so-called excessive fees the reason to boycott a great fund that delivered 24% year after year?

Heck, this fellow would have hated me. I charged huge fees at

Cramer Berkowitz

. And after those fees, you made 24% for 14 years. Some managers are worth the fees. That's the whole point of the exercise. Olstein is worth the fees. I wouldn't want to be with Van Wagoner if he paid


a fee to be with him.

Please, people, understand the way the game is played. Great managers get paid big fees. I don't care what they charge as long as it can be justified as a way to help them make money for you.

That's what matters.

Don't be pennywise. You will lose a fortune.

Random musings:

Can I see you at the biotech conference where we can learn a whole bunch of new names? I think we can learn a lot and have some fun, too. Be there, with me, and let's figure out this exciting, non-economically sensitive group.

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James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of He contributes daily market commentary for's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for and, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to