401(k) Tune Up: How to Lower Your Fund Fees

Runnymede has increasingly been serving as a fiduciary advisor to companies' 401(k) plans so I continue my series of articles on how to tune up your retirement plan.  The intended audience is the company and its trustees that sponsor the plan but participants are also advocating for better plans.  It is our hope to help employers optimize and better manage their retirement plan.  In doing so, we seek to help employees achieve their goal of successfully preparing themselves for retirement.

This week, I want to help you to decipher mutual fund share classes.  By far the largest component of 401(k) plan fees and expenses are those associated with managing plan investments.  Moving to less expensive funds is an action item that can save money fast and have a huge impact over time.

Benchmark Your 401(k) Plan

Runnymede has increasingly been serving as a fiduciary advisor to companies' 401(k) plans so I will be writing a series of articles on how to tune up your retirement plan.  The intended audience is the company and its trustees that sponsor the plan but participants are also advocating for better plans.  It is our hope to help employers optimize and better manage their retirement plan. In doing so, we seek to help employees achieve their goal of successfully preparing themselves for retirement.

Why Not Now? Realizing Your Goal Starts With Action Today.

post-it-trans-action.pngLast night before going to bed my wife asked me, "Can you turn on the humidifer?"  "Sure," I said burying my head back into my laptop to finish some work.

This morning the first thing I heard was, "How come you didn't turn the humidifier on?"  Oops.  After completing what I had been working on, I put the laptop down and quickly fell asleep.

And so, today, I write about ACTION always beats INTENTION.

How to Find an Old 401(k)? A Comprehensive Guide to Help You Find Your Money.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American has held 11.7 jobs from age 18 to 48.  When switching jobs, 401(k) money doesn't automatically switch with you.  In fact, by some estimates, more than 900,000 workers lose track of their 401(k) plans each year!  This leaves many people at some point working hard to track down an old 401(k) account or accounts.  The good news is that the money should stay in your account.  Here are some tips to help you track down your old retirement account.

401(k): Finding The Right Asset Allocation

One of the most important decisions you have to make in your 401(k) plan is asset allocation -- that is, how much you put in stocks, bonds, and cash. Asset allocation is the strategy of dividing your investments across various asset classes in order to reduce risk through diversification. Here are two simple approaches to get you started.

Your 401(k): Benefits of Starting Early

Your 401(k) could make you a millionaire. By making small, regular investments starting in your 20s or early 30s, your savings will grow tax-free for 30 to 40 years. Unfortunately, people tend to procrastinate because they are focused on bills that are due today and the things they want right now. We human beings are notoriously bad at wrapping our minds around far off events.

When it comes to investing, time is a big advantage. Here are three reasons why.

How to Diversify Your 401(k)

When it comes to trying to reduce risk in your 401(k), the phrase "don't put your eggs in one basket" applies. Therefore when selecting investments, it's important to diversify.

The Downside of Passive Investing

Earlier this month, I was invited to make an appearance on CNBC's "The Closing Bell" to discuss the topic "Is this the end of a stock picker's market?" I enjoyed the lively debate with Ross Gerber and Evan Newmark. In case you missed it, click the video link below. Since one can only say so much in a 4 minute segment, I'd like to share some additional thoughts with our loyal Runnymede readers.

Many articles have been written about the shift from active to passive investing. The thesis is simple. The majority of active mutual fund managers underperform their index and also charge a higher fee. This is a double whammy for an investor's bottom line. Therefore, the solution seems simple: move your money into low cost index funds and that should lead to higher returns over the long term. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Let's take a look at the potential pitfalls of passive investing.

401K Providers: 2016 Top 20 Lists

Plan sponsors, that is companies that offer their employees a 401(k) plan, have many choices when selecting service providers for their defined contribution plans. The challenge for many businesses, especially for small businesses, is that the day-to-day running of their businesses leaves little time to review, monitor, and optimize their retirement plan. The result is that many plan sponsors lack a comprehensive understanding of who the top 401k providers are. PLANSPONSOR magazine conducts an annual recordkeeping survey profiling top providers. Here's their list of the 2016 top 401(k) providers and a few of my thoughts.

Plan Sponsors: How to Review Plan Costs to Avoid Lawsuit

If you're a plan trustee, I hope you're paying attention. Employees have been increasingly active fighting against "excessive fees." Just in the 4th quarter of last year alone, there were eleven major class-action lawsuits filed in federal courts against 401(k) sponsors or providers of retirement products. Most suits allege that participants’ retirement savings were compromised because employers, as plan fiduciaries, failed to act in participants’ best interests and breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by allowing high fees, poor fund choices, and conflicts of interest.

If you are among those who thought only multibillion-dollar plans (Cigna, Edison International, ABB, International Paper, Boeing, Lockheed Martin) were at risk because small- and mid-sized plans won't get sued, think again. A new class-action lawsuit was filed in the Minnesota federal court targeting excessive 401(k) fees in a $9.2 million plan with 114 active participants. Damberg v. LaMettry’s Collision Inc., claims that plan fiduciaries breached their duties under ERISA for allowing excessive fees to be charged for plan investments, record keeping, and administration.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Runnymede Capital Management, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Runnymede Capital Management, Inc. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Runnymede Capital Management, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of Runnymede Capital Management, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.