For Mark Roberts’ Use: If you’re contributing regularly to a 401(k) account, then you’re a bit ahead of the curve where retirement planning is concerned. Did you know that 35 percent of American workers don’t even have access to a 401(k)? So, we want to congratulate you on making a wise decision for your future.
At the same time, simply contributing to a 401(k) isn’t the end of the road, as far as planning goes. It’s just the beginning! Along the way, you’ll make many more decisions. And unfortunately, that means you’ll face the opportunity to make these common mistakes.
Contributing versus investing. Contributing to a 401(k) was a smart move. You’re saving for the future, and in a tax-advantaged way. But if you’re not actively investing that money within your account, by utilizing the included investment options, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity.
You’re paying higher fees than necessary. Or, perhaps you are electing to invest in one or more of your account’s funds. Did you examine the fee structures before making those decisions? Many savers make the mistake of paying much higher fees than necessary, losing out on thousands of dollars over the life of their 401(k). Many lower-fee options exist, that still provide plenty of growth opportunity.
You’re losing money on orphaned accounts. These days, it is rare for a worker to stick with one company (and one retirement account) for the entire duration of their working years. If you’ve switched employers several times, you might be holding onto “orphaned” 401(k) accounts. You can’t contribute to them any longer, but you’re still paying fees on fund selections. In many cases, rolling those orphaned accounts into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a money-saving move.
You’re saying no to free money. Does your employer offer matching contributions to your 401(k)? Do you know what that matching limit is? Are you taking advantage of it? Many people aren’t even sure if their company offers this option, or what the match limit is. Find out, and contribute at least that amount every year. If you aren’t making the match amount your absolute minimum contribution goal, then you’re saying no to free money for retirement.
If you suspect you might be making one or more of these common mistakes, or have other questions about your 401(k) account, please give us a call. We can help you review your options and choices, and make the selections that fit your budget and goals for the future.