Improve Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

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Many people assume that they're stuck with a sub-par employer retirement plan. However, this doesn't have to be the case. There are some things you can do to improve the performance of your plan. Here are four ways to influence your company’s retirement plan:

1. Identify Your Fiduciary

By law, your employer-sponsored retirement plan has to be operated in the best interest of the workers. This means that a fiduciary is often used to ensure that plan rules are properly followed, and that the investments used are the best possible. Find out who the fiduciary is, and keep tabs on whether or not he or she is doing the job. This can include comparing costs and choosing a plan with lower fees.

2. Join the Retirement Plan Committee

In some cases, the fiduciary is actually a group of people. Some employers allow workers to sit on the retirement plan committee. If you are dissatisfied with your retirement plan options, and you have the choice, you can join the retirement committee and help direct policy.

3. Look for a Self-Directed Plan

Rather than rely on someone else to choose your retirement plan, look for a self-directed plan. This way, you can choose your own investments, directing your retirement plan dollars toward funds and other investments that you are more interested in.

4. Check with the Government for Plan Evaluation

The Department of Labor offers a fee disclosure that can evaluate retirement plans. This is a form that forces a fiduciary to carefully consider the plan, and what it offers. Having the committee or the person in charge of the retirement plan fill one of these out can be a real eye-opener. If your company goes through an outside provider, ask that provider to fill out a fee disclosure. Refusal to do so could be a major red flag.

In the end, it is your retirement. No one will protect it the same way you can, so it pays to get involved.

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