Smart 401(k) Investing—Managing Your 401(k)

Where to Look for Advice


You're not alone when it comes to managing your 401(k). You'll want to anticipate future returns as accurately as possible—and you may need the help of outside resources to do so. Luckily, there are a few places where you can look for advice.


Your Employer


Your employer or 401(k) plan administrator may offer resources to help you with your financial planning. Many provide educational material and seminars about retirement planning and saving. They also may provide access to investment advice for retirement online or through a financial professional. Most of these services are available at little or no cost to you.


Online Resources


There are many websites that specialize in 401(k) advice. Most likely, these sites will ask you to provide information about yourself, such as the investments you own, your contribution rate, your financial goals, the age you would like to retire and the level of risk you’re comfortable taking.


Some sites may run your information through simulations to determine the most probable outcomes for your current allocation. Based on those outcomes, the programs also may recommend that you adjust your investing strategies or goals. However, there’s usually a charge for this analysis.


Online resources can offer a quick overview of your 401(k) portfolio. Just keep in mind that some of these resources will charge you for more personalized recommendations. And some sites sell their own investments, so you should weigh their recommendations against the profit they stand to make from your investment decisions.


Investment Professionals


You also may want to consult an investment professional for advice. You can obtain investment advice from most financial institutions that sell investments, including brokerages, banks, mutual funds and insurance companies. You can also hire an investment adviser, an accountant, a financial planner or other professional to help you make investment decisions.


Ask any potential adviser about his or her background and how they earned their credentials. Also ask for an explanation of their fees. Most importantly, check their backgrounds. FINRA BrokerCheck tracks the credentials of licensed brokers and investment adviser representatives.


The SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website also allows you to search for information about investment adviser firms registered with the SEC or state regulators. You also can view an adviser’s Form ADV on the SEC’s website or by contacting your state securities regulator.


For more information, including an explanation of different types of investment professionals, see FINRA’s Selecting Investment Professionals.

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