5 ways to fix the 401k

The 401k has become the primary retirement-savings vehicle for many workers, but critics say it isn't up to the task. Here are five suggestions to improve it.

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111Comments
Jun 9, 2014 12:35PM
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OMG YES-YES-YES - Let's SOOO put the Federal Government in charge of yet MORE of our monies - because they have shown over time how WONDERFULLY they can manage our monies!  Think SOCIAL SECURITY, IRS, WELFARE, MEDICAID, OBAMACARE, TAX MONIES IN GENERAL, CELL PHONE PLAN !!!!  Our government  does NOT have our best interests in mind - EVER!  If they did, then they would have MANAGED our Social Security monies so there would have been enough monies in the system to NOT be bankrupt in the next 20 years.  With 77-MILLION baby boomers in the workforce (more than EVER before) they CERTAINLY were receiving more than enough monies to fund both the current retirees AND the upcoming retirees. It's NOT like this was sprung on them - they knew for 65 YEARS (yes, since we were born) that the Baby Boomers would someday retire and in their infinite wisdom(?) chose to BANKRUPT the SS fund to spend it on their "pet projects".  EVERY CONGRESSPERSON WHO SERVED DURING THIS TIMEFRAME & VOTED TO TAKE FUNDS FROM THIS ACCOUNT should be TRIED for embezzlement, ALL assets confiscated, and they should be imprisoned!  This is what would happen to any employer who mismanaged or confiscated a pension plan - so they should get no less!  REINSTATE DEFINIED BENEFITS PLANS TO EVERYONE.  for small employers, you can band together as a group and develop pension plans for your employees as well, at minimal cost to all. The ONLY thing the federal government can manage is GIVING THEMSELVES OUR MONEY!  THEY vote for THEIR raises - wouldn't you guys like to have that option?!?!?   THE GOVERNMENT ALREADY HAS THEIR NOSES IN ALL OUR BUSINESS - THIS HAS TO STOP!!!
Jun 9, 2014 11:38AM
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"Originally designed to supplement pension plans, 401ks have become the primary retirement-savings vehicle for many employees"

Totally BS, it was designed to allow Corporations to get away from providing great Pension Plans. So as the elite reward themselves with Record Wealth, they are ripping off the Workers in the process. The Race to the Bottom continues. However if your Employer matches dollar for dollar, take it the the Max.
Jun 23, 2014 7:36AM
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The number one way to improve our 401k is to keep the governments fat greedy hands out of it. The day they start being able to "borrow" from it like they did SS is the day it will start its demise...
Jun 9, 2014 6:59AM
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Worked for many years in a small group practice with a very practical outlook on our 401K.


1) High earners can only maximize contributions by maximizing participation by lower earners.

2) Lowers earners will only participate if they understand the process.  Our answers?


Generous match. Company pays administrative fees, not participant. Low cost panel of mutual funds (we used Vanguard for decades). And lots of education and encouragement.


Didn't always work, of course, but you can't help if you don't try...

Jun 9, 2014 11:26AM
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Please no national plan. Who will run the plan, and if the government is involved better believe the fees will be high. Also no way the Social (Lack of) Security could be entrusted with that money. Have we not learned that national plans will fail.



Jun 9, 2014 11:26AM
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Do we really want the goverment managing more retirement money? What is to stop them from steering funds to T-Bills when they need a loan?

People need to be held accountable for themselves and only then will we see an improvment in retirement savings.

Jun 9, 2014 12:57AM
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401k better than nothing  if  the company has match , 
Jun 9, 2014 1:30PM
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The military still provides a pension after just 20 years of service. If you want a pension then enlist in the military and serve 20 years.

Jun 23, 2014 2:24PM
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They need to change the rules on Vesting Schedules.  A company should only be allow to take back their original contribution, not the contribution plus investment growth and interest. 
Jul 6, 2014 9:08AM
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I'm not a fan of automatic enrollment nor automatic contribution escalation.  It's my money so it should be my choice - not forced upon me.  I'm not saying that 401(k) programs are bad - I'm saying that I want to make my own investment choices. 

 

My employer sent me an e-mail with much fanfare about how they were automatically enrolling me into a 401(k) plan that they'd picked.  Other than the name of the provider, there were only vague details about what made up the portfolio.  I checked the provider's web site and couldn't find our plan name listed.  When I called and asked (after a long hold) I was given a run-around and an attitude of "trust us".  Sorry but I don't invest blindly and I don't trust salesmen.

 

I was assured that I could opt out easily, and they did provide instructions.  But I found that those instructions did not work - the website menu selections did not exist.  I called again and they admitted that I actually had to opt out with them over the phone, followed by a notarized letter!  They purposely make it hard for us to get their hands out of our pockets.

 

Since then I got the cold shoulder with every interaction with my employer.  They said I'm not a team player (since I wouldn't be one of their sheep).  But they were just a contracting agency so I changed agencies.  I wonder how much kickback they were getting?

Jun 9, 2014 12:38PM
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WHERE is the money that your employer was contributing into your "defined benefit" pension plan?  I certainly didn't receive this to input into my 401K - did anyone else?  This is now going DIRECTLY INTO THE POCKETS OF THE EXECUTIVES!  THIS IS WRONG!!!
Jun 23, 2014 6:42AM
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#6 Do not allow them to take fees no matter what. This is supposed to be peoples retirement so they should only be allowed to collect fees when the make the clients money.  No one is perfect and I know markets are  unpredictable, but nothing hurts more than to see that the markets tanked and you look at statement only to see your fund lost you money out of your 401k for that month or quarter and yet they still have there fees on that statement drawing your fund down even further.  They have no incentive to care, because no matter what they will make money, which at times, lets them take risks that they probably should not.
Jun 23, 2014 7:40AM
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What we need is a Nationalized 401k, you know so all the welfare recipients will have something to retire on, paid for by the taxpayer of course. We can call it Obamatirement...yes this is glorious! I can see all the lazy minorities now, sitting on a beach with a Mai Tai living the good life....
Jun 9, 2014 3:34PM
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The biggist risk to your retirement is obama and congress. They all figure if you have one your rich and they are going to tax you. If government wants people to have a retirement which is doubtful they will stop taxing them. SS is still not stable and never will be. But why should all the Politicoes care they have their nice warm fuzzy golden fleece.
Jul 6, 2014 11:14AM
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The federal government wants to nationalize OUR 401k's and IRA's (THEIR money will be exempt from this plan, of course) so WE can "share the responsibility" of providing for even more welfare rats.
Jun 23, 2014 8:04AM
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So a section ( 401k ) of the Internal Revenue Code sits on the books for 2 years (1978-1980 ) before a Pa dairy farmer's son, Ted Benna, discovers that it can be developed into a retirement product. That sounds like a well thought out retirement plan for Americans. ( Nothing against Ted, He's a really smart guy.) 
Jul 6, 2014 8:55AM
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I do not mind paying someone to invest my money; That's a service that should be paid for. What I object to is some greedy Democrat taxing the hell out of it so he can give it to his lazy **** constituents, whom mostly are on some form of assistance, for their vote, .  
Jul 6, 2014 8:39AM
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More lies that "We the People" have been duped into believing... just wait and see what happens to your 401K when the bottom falls out of this artificially sustained market!
Jul 6, 2014 8:33AM
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did you hear about the flasher who was thinking of retiring early?
         he decided to stick it out for one more year.
Jul 6, 2014 2:21PM
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What an idiot this Anna Prior is. Nationalize a 401k and kiss is goodbye.  Just another example of the media wanting to socialize our country.
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