How Do I Find the Fees I’m Paying For My 401(k)?
Now that you know you are being charged fees for your 401(k), it’s natural to want to know exactly what fees are being deducted from your retirement plan. So how, exactly, do you go about the fees associated with your 401(k) plan?
For those who have one, the easiest way to get any information about your 401(k) plan is to consult with your plan administrator. You can expect the administrator to be familiar with the different aspects of your 401(k) plan, and should be able to answer your questions. The information is, however, also available in the plan documentation.
For those choosing to direct the plan’s investments themselves, investment information, as well as other general information on the plan itself, will have been provided to allow you to come to informed decisions on your account. This typically takes the form of a model chart, which includes investment performance data and information about fees and expenses associated with the different investment options.
Along with the rest of the plan documentation, you should also be receiving account statements on your 401(k) plan, with frequency ranging from quarterly to annually. These statements will list the fees and expenses being charged.
Included in your 401(k) plan’s documentation will be the plan’s summary plan description, or SPD, with information on what the plan provides, and how it operates. As such, it generally includes information on the investments offered by the plan, as well as what fees and expenses are associated with the plan. A copy of the SPD is provided when you first join the plan, and then every 5 or 10 years depending on whether or not the plan undergoes modifications during that time.
It should also be possible to request copies of prospectuses and other similar documentation regarding the plan, as well as financial statements and share values for the investment options involved. These will allow you to compare and contrast your plan’s performance and fees with other investments that fall outside the investment options on your 401(k) plan.
Having discussed the types of fees involved with your 401(k) plan and where to find them, Part 3 will talk about how to figure out if you’re paying higher fees than normal on your 401(k).