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Last year I had a dialogue with a number of 401(k) advisers about what they thought was the “perfect” number of investment options to plan sponsors should place on their 401(k) menus (see “Professional Advisors Sound Off on Ideal Number of 401(k) Plan Options“). At one point in the conversation, one of the advisers jokingly said, “One.” We laughed because it was true, but moved on, visions of 404(c) dancing in our heads and all that. 

Perhaps the laugh was on us. It turns out more and more 401(k) investors are deciding to go back to the future and select the “one portfolio” option on their plan’s menu (see “Why 401(k) Plan Sponsors (and Investors) are Going Back to the Future“). In doing so, they’ve come to solve two debilitating problems 401(k) investors have commonly faced. 

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