When the 401(k) retirement plan was born in 1981, it was originally designed as a way for employees to defer extra savings or bonus money on a pre-tax basis. Today, the 401(k) has eclipsed the traditional defined benefit (DB) plan to become the primary vehicle for financing retirement in America.
According to an AARP study, 401(k) plans are estimated to cover 69 percent of the work force that participates in an employer-sponsored plan, while the coverage of DB plans has shrunk to 31 percent. As financial advisors, it's our duty to ensure that participants are educated about the importance of utilizing their 401(k) to create Paychecks for Life®. However, it's also our duty not to charge excessively high plan fees, especially since those fees will need to be disclosed in 2012.