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If you are seeking investment help, look at the video here on my services. If you are seeking a different approach to managing your assets, you have landed at the right spot. I am a fee-only advisor registered in the State of Maryland, charge less than half the going rate for investment management, and seek to teach individuals how to manage their own assets using low-cost indexed exchange traded funds. Please call or email me if interested in further details. My website is at If you are new to investing, take a look at the "DIY Investor Newbie" posts here by typing "newbie" in the search box above to the left. These take you through the basics of what you need to know in getting started on doing your own investing.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Do You have a Good 401(k)?

In today's world where we are responsible for our own retirement, a good 401(k) is extremely valuable.  If you are young and you have a good 401(k) and you take advantage of it, you are on the track to spending the last third of your life in really, really good shape.

Don't know how to do it?  Read this blog or hundreds like it, or read Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam or The Elements of Investing by Malkiel and Ellis.  These books will take you two weekends, at most, and will put you on the aforementioned path.

But how do you know if you have a good 401(k)?  One thing you might want to do is visit where you may find your company 401(k) listed and rated.

Another approach is to read

 7 Clues That Your 401(k) Plan Sucks by Robert Berger.

Incidently, his website Dough Roller is one of my favorites that I check weekly for the articles he lists!

In this article he wrote for Daily Finance, Berger has the following important points to examine on determining the quality of your 401(k):
  • employer match - in just about every instance, a match should be taken advantage of.  How do you find if you have a match?  Ask Human Resources or look at a recent statement.  Statements will have "employee contribution" and "employer contribution"(if any) listed.
  • Roth 401(k) - if you have a Roth 401(k), it is good; and consideration should be given to using it.  Know that you won't get the upfront tax break for using it; but, going forward, you'll never worry about taxes again (assuming Congress doesn't change the law ;).
  • Index Fund offerings - generally, if you don't have low-cost index fund offerings, then you should limit your contributions to the company match and use an IRA elsewhere.  If you aren't sure of what a low-cost index fund is, read the above mentioned books.  If you have low-cost index fund offerings (example: Fidelity Spartan Funds), then your path to a successful retirement is straight forward.  Use them to the fullest extent allowed!
Berger's article lists other important considerations.  One important point to note is at the very beginning where a lawsuit is referenced concerning a Plan Administrator.  If your 401(k) has only high-expense fund offerings, you may want to highlight the case mentioned with a yellow highlighter and drop it off in your Human Resource person's mailbox.  The days of clueless administrators choosing poor fund choices for plan participants is slowly coming to an end.

1 comment:

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