401(k) Fees Checklist

Gather together all of the written information you can about your 401(k) plan. Your account statement may show administrative expenses, or the fees may be listed in the prospectus that describes your investment choices. If you can’t find where the fees are listed, start asking your colleagues, your human resource manager or your employer.

  • Does the employer, the participants or both pay the 401(k) administrative fees? How much are they?
  • What services are offered through the 401(k), like loan programs and insurance coverage? Are most people using the services? Are you charged whether you use them or not?
  • What investment options are offered – is there an index mutual fund with low expenses?
  • Are there options without a load (which is basically a sales commission)? Would your employer consider adding a low cost fund to your choices?
  • Do any of the investment options have other fees, which might include a 12b-1 fee (a fee to pay for advertising and other costs), insurance charges or surrender fees? What do they cover?

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