man on ladder trimming tree in shape of dollar sign (Photo: Shutterstock)

There’s that old saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” While the trees may prevent you from seeing the big picture, it’s the weeds that trip you. The devil is in the details when it comes to a 401(k) investment policy statement (IPS). Those details are like weeds. Not only can they grow prolifically, but they can be the very thing that trips you up.

Before getting into the weeds of the IPS, it’s critical you go beyond them, indeed, well beyond even the trees. Picture your IPS as a vast forest, an ecosystem that expresses the interconnectedness of your 401(k) and guides it to its ultimate goal (see “5 Critical Elements Every 401(k) IPS Must Contain to Achieve Its Primary Purpose,”, January 14, 2020).

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 (

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