A new breed of mutual fundcomes with a sales pitch that makes itsound much like a variable annuity(VA). As with a VA, you can putmoney into a so-called principal-protectedfund and be guaranteed thatyou can never get back less than whatyou put in. The catch? Much like aVA, the new breed of mutual fundcomes with a sky-high expense ratioand a long lockup period of 5 yearsor more. Pull out before the lockupexpires and it will cost you as muchas 5% of your stake. There are alsofront-end loads of up to 5.75%,which are deducted from the guaranteedreturn of your original investmentif the market doesn't go up overthe period that you hold the fund.: Do your financial homework.