401k Fees Eat Holes in Money Socked Away

What The Heck are 401k Fees and How Do You Kill Them?

The saying “ignorance is bliss” doesn’t apply to hidden 401k fees. We frequently reference them … and for good reason. According to research from NerdWallet, people with 40 years until retirement could lose as much as $500,000 because of investment fees.

Worse yet. Most people aren’t AWARE they are paying these fees. An incredible 92% of Americans have no idea how much they pay in 401k fees.

We’re going to provide a simple break down of the fees found in your 401k. We’ll also review what, if anything, you can do about them.

Providers Have Three Main Types of 401k Fees

Investment fees are specific to each investment option your plan offers and typically the loftiest type of fee. Luckily, you can usually control – or get help to control – these types of fees. They can be reduced by simply choosing to invest in funds that have lower expense ratios.

Other types of 401k fees, administrative and service fees, are more difficult for you to reduce, as they are an innate part of your provider’s plan.

Here’s the quick overview of the three main types of fees:

  1. Investment fees – Expressed as an “expense ratio” of anywhere from 0.01% – 3%. Our team will call these “fund specific fees” or “fund fees.”They cover the management of the investments within your plan. And they typically represent the largest component of fees. Generally assessed as a percentage of assets invested, they are deducted directly from your investment returns: Investment fees are taken out annually as a percentage of your investment.
    • Sales charges – transaction costs for buying/selling shares
    • Management fees – for managing the assets of the fund, often used to cover administrative expenses
    • Other fees – to address services such as furnishing statements
  2. Plan administration fees – The fees charged to keep your plan running. These fees include recordkeeping, accounting, legal and trustee services that are necessary for administering the plan.
  3. Individual service fees – typically associated with optional features offered under a 401k plan. Some additional services may include access to a customer service representative, educational videos or seminars, planning software, investment advice, or online transactions. The more services provided, the higher the fees. The cost typically corresponds with the size of your employer’s 401k plan, i.e. there are benefits of scale (the following are the typical fees by employer size):
    • 1.4% for small employers
    • 0.85% for medium-size employers
    • 0.5% for larger employers

Investment Fees Pile On – They’re Vermin You Want to Control

We sometimes hear from people that they don’t need to worry about investment fees because their account balance is relatively small. But here’s the rub: Fees negatively affect your 401k (or other employer-sponsored retirement plan) in several ways.

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When Market Tanks ... Do These 3 Things

3 Things You Should Do With Your 401k When The Market Tanks

Disclaimer:  I am not predicting the market tanks tomorrow, next week, next month or even next year. Contrary to what the media or “pundits” try to convince you — it is impossible to predict when the market will drop or what will ultimately cause it. That said, I am 100% convinced that the market will drop at some point.

In fact, at blooom – we guarantee that it will drop at some point in the future. In reality, it isn’t IF the market will drop. It is WHEN and how many times over your investing lifetime will it occur. We try to inform our clients about this as often as possible and set the expectation that market drops – although painful at the time – are perfectly normal.

The mistake average investors make most often is they take the assumption that something is wrong with the market or their portfolio and they bail out of their investments right in the midst of the market decline. They do this thinking that they are doing the “safe” thing but it is often the absolute worst thing you can do. It is a huge reason why average investors perform so horribly when left to their own devices.

So what can you do the next time the market tanks?  At blooom, we advocate that our clients do these 3 things.

1. Set Your Expectations Ahead of Time

Just knowing that it is perfectly normal for the market and the value of your account to decline from time to time is half the battle.

History has repeatedly shown that the right thing to do — regardless of the circumstances causing the market decline — is to not panic, sit tight and just get through it. You probably know that the average rate of return over the stock market over the past 30, 50 whatever years is something close to 10%. Guess what, the 10% rate of return was calculated by STAYING in the market 100% of the time. Even in the last 20 years (1997-2016), the average investor return – 2.29% — has paled to that of the S&P’s 7.68% 1.

Achieving the S&P historical numbers does NOT assume that an investor had a fully functioning crystal ball. They weren’t hopping out of the market before a decline and back into the market right before it turned upwards. That rate of return assumes you left your investment the heck alone!

Start prepping your mind today — when the waters are fairly calm — for the fact that your 401k will decline in value when the market drops. This does not mean anything is wrong with your 401k, the investments, or blooom!  I promise you — after 22 years of experience working with clients to help them save for retirement — if you can come to grips and expect the market and your portfolio to drop from time to time, you will put yourself in a much better position for investing success.

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Common Traits Hamilton And Blooom

5 Unexpected Reasons Why We Love Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton the Broadway musical has been the hit of the New York stage for several years now. Even before his hip-hop reinvention, we at blooom shared some sensibilities with our founding father. Here are the Top 5 Alexander Hamilton traits we live when providing 401k help:

Alexander Hamilton Was an Innovator

When there was recent talk of removing Hamilton from the $10 bill, it was no surprise that there were a number of supporters who reached out to the press to challenge the move. Hamilton is rooted in the origination of several of our country’s financial and business institutions.

In addition to serving as our first U.S. Treasury Secretary, Hamilton co-founded the Bank of New York, which still lives on today as BNY Mellon. The bank’s stock was among the first to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. His strategies were also instrumental in the formation of interest-paying bonds, the chartering of a national bank and the first U.S. incubator.

Disruptive like Hamilton, blooom’s founders created a revolutionary online 401k app to fix the plans for EVERY American. The key distinction between blooom and other robo-advisors is that we are the only firm managing individuals’ employer-sponsored retirement accounts like 401ks and 403bs.

And, blooom clients also have access to unbiased professional financial advice beyond their 401k. Our goal is to provide access to help everyday Americans, not just millionaires who can typically afford financial advice. We do it for only $10 a month.

Alexander Hamilton Championed Transparency

In 1801, Hamilton started a daily federalist news sheet that eventually became the New York Post. At the time, Hamilton used the paper to voice his opinions publicly and attack conventional wisdom.

Transparency is no act for us, as blooom is a fiduciary. This basically means we are required to act in your best interest, not ours. We wish this was the case for all advisors in the good ol’ US of A, but it’s not.

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DayCrunch Pick 24 Time Infographic Game

Time Infographic: Unlock 30 Hours of To-Dos Per Day?

Seven or more hours of sleep per night? That’s what the National Sleep Foundation recommends for adults. A half an hour of exercise each day? Those are numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services. One hour to eat per day – says who? The USDA, that’s who. With so many things to do in life, we decided to crunch all the numbers of what the experts “recommend” you do in a 24-hour period — and the total adds up to 30 hours in this nifty time infographic!

Well, that’s life for you: 30 hours of steps to perform in 24 hours of moves. See how we can free up a move for you!

Meet Our Fictitious Player Kari: She Can Relate to the Time Infographic

Kari’s a 37-year-old single mom with two kids: Jasper, who’s 8, and is always playing baseball; and Cassie, a 4-year-old who enjoys finger painting butterflies.

Kari works full-time at a local department store, and loves picking up her kids from school after work. Once they’re all home, Kari feeds the kiddos, helps them with their homework, puts them to bed, and finally makes sure everything is all set for the next day. After that, she decides to spend some time before bed researching 401ks and financial planning. But 10 minutes into her research, she falls asleep. Her 24 hours are up, but the time infographic says she has six more things to do.

Sound familiar?

A Managed Account Can Help You Lifehack a Move

At this point, you’re thinking the same thing as Kari: How in the world can I get all this done? Life is a tough game. We all have hectic schedules and can relate.

We’re not positive whether you can lifehack your way to all 30 moves. But we do know one thing — a managed 401k account is one lifehack you can play to get closer.

So … what is a managed account?

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Wall Street Won't Provide 401k Help

Helping You With Your Retirement Where Wall Street Won’t

After about 20 years of working as financial advisors and helping people reach retirement, Kevin Conard and I knew the financial services business model was broken. No — more pointedly – we knew Wall Street was broken. Don’t believe us? Take a few minutes to learn about the Wall Street neglect that led us to create our 401k management app at blooom. We believe every hard-working American trying to save for retirement deserves to receive expert 401k help! If you watch blooom’s story, you’ll see why we are here to change the culture of saving for retirement:

Want More of the Story?

Based in Leawood, Kansas, our culture consists of Midwestern values and hard-work. We are a low-cost, online platform created to help improve the way average Americans manage their 401k retirement plans. In just five minutes, anyone with a 401k can receive a free health assessment on their current investment strategy. Then, for those that want professional Do-it-For-You 401k help, blooom can be hired manage your account for a flat, Netflix-like fee of only $10 per month. We don’t even need to move your account.

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