I am a big fan of automation. Maybe I watched the Jetsons too much when I was young? It’s not because I’m lazy, honest. But I love having freshly brewed coffee ready in the morning and how the Golden Gate Bridge automatically subtracts money from my account when I drive through (I love the ease of it all, less so the money coming out of my account). My thermostat knows when I’m home and turns up the heat and my security system disarms when it senses I’m home. Life is easy. I never want to go back to the old days before ‘keyless go’ or ‘pay-by-phone’!
But not everyone has embraced automation. For example, many 401(k) investors have failed to sign up for automation in their 401(k). Do they like rebalancing their accounts? Do they really think that their risk level can stay the same year after year?
Maybe they’re unaware that their 401(k) can be automated. Well, let me give you some great news. If you like automation, you should check out these features that many 401(k) plans offer.
Four Features 401(k) Plans Offer
1. Automatic withholding
OK, so you knew about this already, but step back for a second and acknowledge the convenience. Many other modes of saving require regular action on your part to contribute funds. Not the 401(k). If you wouldn’t save money on a methodical basis otherwise, stop and be thankful for automatic contributions.
2. Auto escalation
This is a feature that many plans have now where your contribution level can be automatically increased every year. Most plans require that you request this feature, but once elected, auto escalation can increase your contribution each year until you hit a plan-defined maximum.
3. Target date investments