Scott Snider

Retirement, Investing, Lifestage Based Planning
“Scott Snider is a fee-only financial planner based in Jacksonville, FL, and is the owner and founder of Mellen Money Management.”

Mellen Money Management LLC

Job Title:

Principal, Financial Planner


After spending much of his 11-year career as an advisor for a large regional bank, Scott Snider decided it was time to break away from corporate America and start an independent financial planning firm -- Mellen Money Management. Scott's firm is based in Jacksonville, Florida with the ability to work with clients around the country via video conference. His company's offerings include full-service investment management and comprehensive financial planning. While their specialty is helping young professionals and families navigate past the confusing maze of college financial aid and student loans.

It is Scott's mission to end the student debt crisis one family at a time through proactive planning. In fact, Scott believes the cost of college cannot be solved in a vacuum. Financial trade-offs, like saving for retirement, must be prioritized and included with such large expenditures. In other words, Scott's company helps their clients plan for the financial impact of major life transitions so that they are prepared for life's biggest moments. Such an approach has helped Scott's client realize their dreams and live a more fulfilling life.

Please explore the Mellen Money Managment website, check out the FAQ page for answers to our most common questions, subscribe to The Money Blog to stay up to date with the latest content, or contact Scott to learn how we can help.


BS, Finance, Miami University

Assets Under Management:

$5 million

Fee Structure:


CRD Number:


  • Who is Mellen Money Management
  • Finance 101 Video Series - Stock & Bonds
All Articles
Sort By:
Most Helpful
September 2017
    Personal Finance
August 2017
    Retirement Plans, Retirement Savings
last month
    Debt, College Tuition, Personal Finance, Taxes
December 2017
    College Tuition, Debt
October 2017

All Answers
Sort By:
Most Helpful
    Mutual Funds
What is the difference between exchange-traded funds and mutual funds?
100% of people found this answer helpful


Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), offer both active and passive investing elements. Like a mutual fund an ETF is a diversified basket of securities. However, they trade in the form of shares on the major market exchanges in real time like a stock, which makes them more nimble than a mutual fund.Meaning, ETFs are a great vehicle for active traders. Furthermore, ETFs offer more efficient exposure to alternative investments like REITs, options, commodities, and convertible securities. 

In addition to passively tracking indices like the S&P 500, ETFs are able to package an investment mix that is specific to a sector style like technology or energy. Another popular type of ETF are smart beta funds. Smart beta is still technically a passive strategy in that the fund holdings are usually derived from an index, however, the difference is the fund manager will make tactical investment decisions to change the weighting of an indices stocks based on volatility and other factors. Therefore, ETFs like smart beta have an active trading aspect that deviates from the passive nature of an index fund. 

From a tax standpoint, ETFs are much better than mutual funds and index funds because they don't suffer from the embedded capital gains tax issue previously discussed. This means that individual investors can better control when to realize their capital gains. Unfortunately, with mutual funds, investors are at the mercy of other shareholders and the asset manager.

Another advantage of ETFs is that they are often the lowest-cost way to diversify your investments because they carry the lowest expense ratios. For example, Vanguard's S&P 500 index fund (VFINX) has a net expense ratio of 0.14%, whereas, Vanguard's ETF version (VOO) costs 0.04%. It may sound like splitting hairs, but that's more than triple the cost for the same strategy.

Keep in mind, ETFs can be more expensive than index funds when your custodian charges a trading commission. The commission issue is especially problematic for low dollar amounts invested or high-frequency trading. Also, the more expensive the commission, the more mindful an investor needs to be. For instance, a $1,000 investment purchase with a $10 commission equates to a 1% fee. Now add the advisor's 1% fee and you have to make 2% just to break-even. 


A mutual fund, commonly referred to as "active investing," is a diversified basket of securities that are professionally managed using any combination of stocks, bonds, and money market instruments. Units are purchased at Net Asset Value (NAV), which is calculated by taking the total value of all securities in the fund, divided by the total number of shares outstanding.

Investors pool their money together and their share is invested on a prorated basis across the fund's holdings. Each security purchased by the manager will add or detract from the fund's performance. Therefore, all shareholders equally participate in the profits and losses. Additionally, when any one shareholder redeems their shares, it can trigger a taxable event in the form of capital gains, thereby affecting the entire group of shareholders who still remain invested with the fund. This tax inefficiency is one of the major drawbacks of mutual funds, and to a lesser degree, index funds. Taxes are especially costly when a fund does a frequent amount of trading. Fortunately, funds held in IRAs, 401(k)s, and other tax-deferred retirement accounts are not impacted by the capital gains tax issue.

Mutual funds are bought and redeemed through market exchanges like the Nasdaq and NYSE, but the pricing mechanism is clunky because the price (NAV) resets once per day -- after 4:00 PM EST, when the markets are closed. Therefore, an investor might run into a scenario where he/she purchases a fund when the broader markets are down at the beginning of the day but end up buying the fund at a higher price than expected when the market value rises to finish the day. Due to the after-hours re-pricing feature, mutual funds are not a wise strategy for active traders. They are also not great for beginning investors with less than $1,000 because that is the typical minimum entry amount needed.

All mutual funds charge fees, but how those fees are passed down to the investor varies by the share class structure. There are several types of share classes, but the most common are A, B, C, F1, F2, I, R, Y. Beware A-shares often charge a 5.75% commission and carry higher net operating expense ratios than the other share classes mentioned, with the exception of the B and C share classes.

The reason for multiple layers of fees is that the commission is the advisor's compensation for their recommendation, and the net operating expense covers the mutual fund manager's overhead costs. While every fund has operating expenses, not all funds charge commissions. The I-share class and F2-share class do not because a fee-only or fee-based planner will overlay their investment management fee as a percentage of assets being managed, rather than charge a one-time commission. As a point of reference, the industry average for investment advisory oversight is 1%, charged annually

For more reading on this subject, check out my in-depth analysis here

4 days ago
    Investing, Mutual Funds
What is the average annual return for the S&P 500?
94% of people found this answer helpful
May 2017
How does a Roth IRA grow over time?
82% of people found this answer helpful
June 2017
What's the difference between an index fund and an ETF?
80% of people found this answer helpful
2 weeks ago
How can I buy oil as an investment?
68% of people found this answer helpful
August 2017