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Many Companies Changing 401K Contributions [AUDIO]

It’s no secret that many companies across the country and right here in New Jersey are looking to cut costs. In fact, many are changing the way they contribute to 401K plans in an effort to do so.

Flickr User 401K

Some are making yearly payments instead of matching contributions every pay period.

“From an employees perspective, there is a down side to some of these cost cutting moves. For example, when a company contributes only once a year, you don’t get the benefit of dollar cost averaging into your investments over the period of the year and you’re not getting the money up front, which means you don’t get to participate in the potential market gains for the entire year,” said Arthur Crist, Financial Solutions Advisor at Merrill Edge.

That doesn’t mean you should not participate in a 401K plan if your company is offering one.

“More importantly, you should contribute at least what your company matches,” said Crist. “If your company matches five or six percent of your contribution, you should take advantage. You don’t want to leave free money on the table. In terms of a magic number, there isn’t one, but if you can contribute ten or 15 percent, that’s a great goal to shoot for.”

All mutual funds have underlying expenses and fees and that’s something that should be monitored. “Make sure you’re diversified properly and make sure you’re selecting the best possible funds to meet that diversification need. You also need to analyze the annual fees as well. You don’t want to select the mutual fund because it has the lowest expense ratio in its category. You want to look at its performance, but fees should be one of the top two or three things you’re looking at when making your selections,” said Crist.

If your company offers guidance or advice through a third party, take advantage of that. It can’t hurt to sit down and personalize your portfolio with investments that work for you.

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