Thursday, May 31, 2012

Are You Paying 30 Percent?

Recently, I wrote about how retirement investment plans will have to disclose their fees and expense ratios this summer. For the first time, both business owners and their employees will get a chart showing how much of the retirement savings is drained off to pay administrative and investment costs.

This week, we got a preview in the form of a disturbing study showing average 401(k) fees reduce total retirement savings by 30 percent. Industry disputes those findings, but everyone seems to agree that the costs are too high and there's too little transparency.

This summer, that's going to change as part of a trend toward better financial information getting out to Americans. Do you have an employer-sponsored retirement account? If so, do you know how much you pay now? If not, do you track expenses in your IRAs or mutual fund investments?

I was always told to look for overall expense ratios of 1% or less in my self-employed accounts. I'll be interested to see how our employer-sponsored plan shakes out.


  1. Just met with our new financial advisor today. We're getting rid of the old one because the advice cost us more than it made us!

  2. Petra, I fired my advisor too. His fee was reasonable but he gave me some really bad advice that cost me a bundle, unfortunately.
    The thing you want to ask your new advisor about are the institutional fees and expense on your accounts. They should be very low-cost or you should make changes to lower-cost index funds, etc.