Q and A: Are there fees involved with the 401(k) plan

Q: From time to time an employee tells us they didn’t know there were fees involved with the 401(k) plan. We are complying with the requirements to disclose the fees being paid, so it is surprising to us that some participants still don’t know. Are we the only ones whose participants are not getting the message?

A: Unfortunately, your experience is not unusual. The National Association of Retirement Plan Participants, or NARPP, says that 58% of working Americans don’t know they are paying fees on their workplace retirement savings accounts. That amounts to a staggering $35 billion dollars in fees every year, or $835 per investor. Even those participants who know they are paying fees are often unclear about how fees are calculated, with just 26% able to accurately explain. It’s important to make sure the information provided to participants is clear, accurate and complete, because there is a strong link between fee transparency and trust from participants. NARPP found that 81% of participants would appreciate a standardized fee label on all retirement funds, similar to a food nutrition label. Visit www.narpp.org for more information on this and related research from NARPP.

If you want to set up or switch to an a 401(k) that provides low costs for employees and employers, let your company know about TRA. Contact us today.

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