401(k) today: designing, maintaining & maximizing your by Stephen J Butler

By Stephen J Butler

The writer, cofounder of a third-party pension management company and public speaker, discusses how 401(k) plans paintings, the right way to verify the standard of a plan, and the way to revamp it to be larger. Of most likely curiosity to corporation decision-makers and lively 401(k) plan contributors.

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First, the amount of money in the 401(k) plan is often substantial, enough so that the best investment advisors can be hired; advisors who are more skilled than the smaller-scale financial planners who work with individual employees. Page 13 Second, most successful business owners and senior managers, who are the trustees selecting the investments, are reasonably sophisticated. They are conscious of the fact that they are choosing investments on behalf of employees, and they have every reason to do a good job.

Plan sponsors absolutely need to know. But so do plan participants. And while 401(k) plans may appear to be nothing more than a group of employees depositing money into mutual fund accounts, these plans are far more complicated. Understanding these complications defuses the frustration of employees, frustration that arises when a portion of their contributions are returned to them in some years, when they have only a limited number of investment options, and when they can't change their investment mix on any given day.

An employee saves $150 per month for 20 years. 2. The employee pays combined federal and state taxes at a rate of 34%. 3. The savings earn an annual rate of 8%. Using after-tax dollars in a regular savings plan, the employee accumulates only $42,034. This compares to $88,353 using the 401(k) plan. 2 shows that these differences grow progressively larger during longer periods of time, and during a 30-year period, they become astounding. But as unbelievable as these differences seem, 401(k) plans can accomplish this feat, thanks to the magic of compound interest operating in a tax-deferred environment.

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