Shoppers often must confront the hidden costs of convenience. Sometimes it means paying a little extra for that convenience. Sometimes it's accepting a little lesser quality for that convenience.

All 401(k) plan sponsors must act as fiduciaries for the sole benefit of their plan's participants. When they make a decision based on personal or corporate convenience, 401(k) plan sponsors need to ask themselves if it's worth it to sell their souls for one-stop shopping.

Many believe, and not without some merit, bundled service providers offer a convenience particularly compelling to the smaller 401(k) plan sponsor. These plans often are associated with companies too thin on personnel to assign one specifically to the 401(k) plan. As a result, the plan sponsor – usually the company owner or its president – simply decides to make the easy choice and selects an "all-in-one" service provider. This can be a broker, a mutual fund firm, an insurance company or even a payroll processor, for example.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook ( Twitter (