At the start, safety features were not needed in car design. Neither was it needed in a 401(k) account, but that is no longer true.
Here are some suggestions and things to watch out for:
1. Save automatically
Twenty five percent of eligible workers do not or decline to sign up for a 401(k) plan. Workers who do not sign up are risking their future. Plus, approximately $30 billion are left out in the form of company contributions.
If only a few rank-and-file workers participate, the higher-paid workers contributions are limited as stated in the IRS rules. An increasing number of companies have made 401(k) enrollment automatic. Employees can still choose to opt out.
Twenty five percent of large companies have employees automatically enrolled in the 401(k). Although, this would mean that many of the new employees are in a very conservative investment that may not be enough to beat inflation.
If you're one of those higher-paid employees, you may want to move your money into a stock fund to take advantage of long term growth. You may also want too boost your contributions each year until you max out.
2. Simplify your investment
During the late 90s when the stock market was rising, providing workers with more investment choices was the rage. A few companies introduced new options and some offered 'brokerage windows' letting employees invest their 401(k) savings in an array of funds and stocks.
True-blue investors loved the choices and unfortunately drove up costs with the increased amount of trading. Majority of the workers didn't make any choice at all.
If you don't want to mess up your 401(k), simply tell your company to add a life-cycle or a target-maturity fund. You can also invest your savings in a balanced-fund option. A 60% stock to 40% fixed-income ratio is still a good choice.
3. Seek a low-cost alternative
Anomalies on mutual funds and awareness of high, hidden fees are making a few employers explore other forms of savings beside mutual funds. A commingled fund is an option that is available wherein the service provider combines small employer contributions to reduce costs.