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5500 Preparer's Manual for 2012 Plan Years

5500 Preparer's Manual for 2012 Plan Years
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CCH® PENSION — 05/20/11

401(k) participants lack awareness and understanding of fees: AARP survey

401(k) plan participants are "largely unaware" of the fees they pay to their plan providers, according to a survey released by AARP. The survey was conducted from December 14 through December 30, 2010 among a sample of 803 U.S. residents ages 25 and over living in telephone households who were 401(k) plan participants.

When asked, more than seven in ten (71%) 401(k) plan participants incorrectly reported that they did not pay any fees and six percent said that they did not know whether or not they pay fees. "Americans are trying to plan for their retirement without all the information they need about their 401(k) plans," said Jean Setzfand, AARP Director of Financial Security. "The research shows a clear lack of understanding about 401(k) fees and the impact they might have on one's saving."

Setzfand added that a sound investment strategy should take into account not just fees, but also an individual's portfolio, risk tolerance, objectives, diversification, fund performance, age and other factors. While most plan participants surveyed (63%) say that they have contributed money to their 401(k) plan, about one-fifth (22%) have withdrawn money or received payments from their 401(k) plan.Almost two-thirds (64%) stated that they prefer to make their own decisions about saving and investing. Some respondents reveal that they have taken steps to learn more about their investments such as using the summary information or prospectuses about mutual funds or consulting with a personal financial advisor.

Source: AARP news release, April 28, 2011.

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