Morningstar’s Guide to 401(k)s –

Strategies for making the most of your company’s retirement plan.

By | 06-12-17 | 05:00 AM | Email Article

Investing in your company’s retirement plan seems simple enough. After all, you’re able to set aside tax-deferred dollars for retirement–and in many cases, get a few extra dollars in matching from your employer to boot.

Yet there’s still plenty to consider. How do you invest those dollars? Do you take an active approach to investing your assets and pick funds yourself? Or do you instead go with one of the plan’s hands-off options? How much should you invest overall? Are the plan’s options really good–or really expensive? And what about owning company stock in your plan or taking advantage of a brokerage window?Even those who’ve been investing in their plans for a while can face challenges. Should you take a loan against your 401(k)? And what should you do with your 401(k) when you change jobs or retire?Morningstar director of personal finance Christine Benz agrees that 401(k)s can be complicated and that 401(k) investors don’t always make the most of their plans.”In short, 401(k) plans invite the potential for plenty of goofs,” she says.To help minimize goofs and maximize your plan, we’ve put together a series of videos and articles.How to Make the Most of Your 401(k)
Invest enough to earn your company match, monitor fees, opt for the plan’s target-date funds if you don’t want to be hands on, and take advantage of automatic features.How Good Is Your 401(k) Plan?
Our basic audit can help you determine whether to max out your contribution or lobby for improvements.FAQs on 401(k)s
The skinny on Roth versus traditional contributions, early withdrawals, loans, and more.Target-Date Fund Basics
Investors in target-date funds can set up a diversified portfolio and maintain a sensible asset allocation for decades without breaking a sweat.Five Questions to Ask When Taking a Hands-On Approach to Your 401(k)
Selecting your own investments? Here’s what to know before you start.Aftertax 401(k): Most Investors Should Walk on By
Aftertax contributions only make sense for high-income folks who have maxed out other tax-sheltered options.Company Stock in Your 401(k): Yes, It’s Still a Bad Idea
Human capital and financial capital don’t mix.401(k) Investors: Avoid These 20 Mistakes
While company retirement plans often have guardrails, investors can goof with contributions, investment selections, loans, and withdrawals.What Should You Do With Your 401(k) When You Retire?
Rolling the money into an IRA is often the best idea, but there may be reasons to leave it behind.

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