The Frugal Fiduciary Small Business 401(k) Blog
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The priciest thing that most people will buy in their lifetime is retirement. Perhaps you’ve never thought of “buying” retirement, but that’s exactly what you do when you contribute to a 401(k) plan – you’re saving now to afford income in retirement. When you consider that income may need to last 10, 20, even 30 years, it’s easy to understand why retirement is not cheap.
On December 20, 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was signed into law. The legislation made many significant retirement plan changes, including later deadlines for adopting a new 401(k) plan or amending a traditional 401(k) into a safe harbor plan. For most small businesses, these changes took effect January 1, 2020.
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When a 401(k) provider’s administration fees are paid from plan assets, they're typically allocated among plan participants pro rata based on account balance. That means the plan participants with largest account balances pay the highest fees. In most small business 401(k) plans, that group usually includes the business owner.
The most expensive thing you’ll probably buy during your lifetime is retirement. Perhaps you’ve never thought of “buying” retirement, but that’s exactly what you do when you participate in a 401(k) plan – you’re saving now to buy retirement income later. When you consider that income may need to last 10, 20, even 30 years, it’s easy to understand why retirement is not cheap. However, by following a simple 3-step plan during your working years - save early and often, invest appropriately, minimize account fees - you can reduce the out-of-pocket cost of your retirement by a lot.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Act allows – but does not require - employers to loosen the participant distribution and loan provisions of their 401(k) plan and any Coronavirus-affected individual to reduce the tax burden of most 401(k) distributions. 401(k) participants should understand their options under the CARES Act as soon as possible – this economic relief is temporary.
To meet retirement goals as affordably as possible, 401(k) participants must do three basic things – save early and often, invest appropriately, and keep account fees to a minimum. Investing appropriately involves constructing - and maintaining – a 401(k) investment portfolio that balances growth potential with the risk of losses.Striking this balance is important. Otherwise, a 401(k) participant could miss out on gains by investing too conservatively when young or sustain unrecoverable losses by investing too aggressively when near retirement.