How Good Is Your 401(k)? Test It Out Against Other Plans.

So, want to see just how good your 401(k) is compared to other plans? Well, you might be in luck as a new service called BrightScope should be able to help you out. Here is what the Huffington Post had to say about this service:

Until now, an objective evaluation of 401(k) plans has been extremely difficult because of the complexity of these plans and the cleverly hidden costs which would take a pension actuary to uncover. These excessive fees have dramatically reduced employees account balances. By some accounts, the combination of poor investment options, high expenses and poor planning have caused many plan participants to have a zero return on their 401(k) investments.

Brightscope crunched 401(k) plan data from public resources and compiled an extensive database of information. Using over 200 data points, including plan costs, amount of matching contribution and quality of investment options, it assigned a numerical rating to each plan. It then compared the rating to the lowest, average and highest rating in the peer group. It also calculated how many additional years an employee in a given plan would have to work, and how much was lost in retirement savings, compared to the highest rated company in that peer group.

401(k) plans have been accurately described as The world’s largest skimming operation – a $7 trillion (now $12 trillion) trough from which fund managers, brokers, and other insiders are steadily siphoning off an excessive slice of the nation’s household, college, and retirement savings. Now that this dirty secret is open to public scrutiny, maybe employees will be able to get the retirement plans they deserve.

Ouch. I don’t have a typical 401(k) because I work at home for myself as a freelance, but those of you with 401(k) plans at work might want to take a look at yours and see how it stacks up to other plans!

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  1. Neal Frankle says:

    This is really a great service. Thanks for bringing it to my (our) attention. This is one reason I’m really a proponent of rolling money out of the 401(k) to a self-directed IRA as soon as possible. Unfortunately, if someone is still working at their firm, they have little choice. Great post.