The Investment Scientist

Posts Tagged ‘401k plan

Many companies now offer employees the option to contribute to a Roth or traditional 401k. For a long while, I have advised my clients to go for the traditional 401k; they are all high-income earners and the tax deductions can be substantial. Besides, what’s not to like about taking money out of the clutches of the IRS?

The other day I googled “US tax rate history.” I was shocked to learn that out of the last 100 years, there were 48 years when the top rate was above 70%. There was even a period when the top rate was 94%! For heaven’s sake, that’s not taxation, that’s deprivation!

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Your retirement fund?

A recent study of 401k fees by Deloitte has revealed a troublesome fact. For companies that have less than 100 employees, the average “all-in” 401k plan fee is 2.03% of plan assets each year; for plans that have assets less than $1mm, the average “all-in” fee is 2.37%.

As a point of reference, large companies that employ more than 10,000 people on average pay only 0.48%; the federal government’s own TSP retirement plan has an expense ratio of less than 0.03%!

Keep in mind that small businesses employing less than 100 people account for 99% of all US businesses and employ more than 50% of the workforce. Why should they suffer the injustice of paying 80 times the fee of federal employees to have a retirement plan?

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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