How You Can Help Battle Outrageous 401(k) Fees

June 26th at 1:00pm by Tom Lydon

ETF 401(k) Does it seem like your shrunken 410(k) retirement account keeps getting eaten up by hidden fees? Maybe the time is here to switch to an exchange traded fund (ETF) portfolio?

Dan Grech for Marketplace reports that although 401(k) retirement accounts have taken a  beating along with the rest of the economy, the hidden or buried fees within have stolen about $2 trillion. Is it time for legislation is Washington to take control?

A new bill in legislation would require 401(k) consultants and administrators to be more open about conflicts of interest and fees. Is full disclosure enough? The bottom line is that these fees add up to tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. There is no way to justify this.

Emily Brandon for US News & World Report reports that many employers are fully aware of how much their employees are paying into retirement accounts. About 73% of employers think that employees know how much they are dishing out in fees, but only 29% of employees actually are aware of the fees they’re paying. That’s a huge disconnect.

Many investors would prefer a summary of all fees paid and have this listed in plain black and white. The current plan in the House would require all fees to be disclosed as a single number both on a participant’s quarterly statement and before signing up.

Eventually, ETFs may become a staple within 401(k) plans, as well. We’re seeing some plans that offer them, but they’re by no means a given in these plans yet.

What can you do? Write to your Congress person, stating your support for Washington’s efforts to clean up 401(k) plans and ask that they help start protecting American investors trying to save for retirement. Let them know how important it is to you. Also, get in touch with your HR representative and request that ETFs be an option in their 401(k), and let them know why.

Investors need to step forward and advocate for themselves and fight for what’s fair, because the 401(k) industry won’t change without plenty of prodding.

For more stories about retirement, visit our retirement category. For more stories on 401(k) plans, visit our 401(k) category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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