One of my heroes – Jack Bogle, the founder of The Vanguard Group – died on January 16. I can’t think another person who has done more to help the average American save for retirement than Jack Bogle. Before he started an index fund revolution, it was difficult for investors with few assets to pay low fees for top mutual funds. Bogle democratized investing by making it easy for all investors – regardless of assets – to pay low fees for top funds. His guiding principle was simple: costs matter. Since fees reduce investment returns, they should be kept to a minimum.
Most of us know it is smart to save money for those big-ticket items we really want to buy - a new television or car or home. Yet you may not realize that probably the most expensive thing you will ever buy in your lifetime is retirement.
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401(k) plan sponsors have a fiduciary responsibility to distribute certain information to plan participants from time to time. The purpose of these disclosures is important - to equip plan participants with the information necessary to make timely and informed decisions about their 401(k) account. However, these important participant disclosures can also be many – and spread throughout the year - which can make their distribution seem like an overwhelming fiduciary responsibility to many 401(k) plan sponsors.
We’re fast approaching the end of another calendar year, and for many older Americans, that means it’s time to take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from their 401(k) account. If you participate in a 401(k) plan, you want to understand the RMD rules. Failing to take a RMD can mean stiff tax penalties from the IRS. Understanding the RMD rules can also help you avoid required distributions altogether.
According to AARP, Americans are 15 times more likely to save for retirement when they can do so by payroll deduction through a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. However, while most large businesses – companies with more than 100 employees – sponsor a retirement plan, 51 to 71 percent of small businesses don’t. Because workplace retirement plans make savings – and in turn, a comfortable retirement – dramatically more likely for workers, increasing this percentage is essential.
In a 2019 401k plan design study of 3,975 small businesses, we found about 71% permit participants to make after-tax Roth contributions to their personal account. I think it’s safe to assume the high adoption rate of this 401k plan feature is due to participant demand.