Did you know that April 1st is 401(k) day?
Okay, maybe 401(k) day isn't a real holiday but it might serve as the motivation you have been needing to evaluate your 401(k) (or retirement savings in general).
The Advisors at Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers help clients plan for their retirement and that includes creating a plan for which retirement plans to use and what investments to use. In this article, I'll walk through three things you might want to think about or evaluate if you haven't before or it's been a while.
Make Sure You Are Taking Advantage of the Match
If I offered to give you a dollar if you saved a dollar, I imagine you would do that all day long. That's exactly what an employer match is - they give you money as long as you are saving money. When planning for your retirement savings, we always prioritize making sure you get the match (free money) first and foremost!
If you signed up to contribute the amount to get the match originally but it's been a few years, it might be worthwhile to check to see if anything has changed. We all know that the pandemic has changed many things and employer match percentages are no exception. So, if you haven't checked in a while, take a look to see what your match is.
Did You Pick Your Investments in Your 401(k)?
If you didn't specifically select your investments inside your 401(k), chances are, you are in a target date fund. This often means you are allocated to bonds even if you are in your 20’s or 30’s. This also means you are not likely diversified in the 4 categories of mutual funds that you hear Dave Ramsey talk about.
All 401(k) plans offer target date funds as an investment option if you want them to "do the work for you" or you can choose to "manage it yourself" by selecting the mutual funds you would like to invest in.
Often times we hear from clients that they are not sure how to pick their investments. As your advisor, we are more than happy to help you with this. Using a platform called Pontera, your Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers advisor can manage your 401(k) for you. This includes picking your investments (from the options provided by your plan) for you as well as rebalancing when it is appropriate to do so. This is a new service that we are able to offer so if you are interested in hearing more, be sure to reach out to your advisor! I hear from clients all the time that they would love to see all their accounts in one place and would also like me to be able to review it on a regular basis and Pontera is the solution to this request!
Maybe you did pick your own investments or your advisor made recommendations for you, 401(k) day might be the reminder you need to make sure those are still the best investments for you! Fund managers change which in turn can affect the performance of the fund. Also, 401(k) plans have the ability to add and/or take away fund options. For all of these reasons, it's good to check in and make sure you are still in the right funds for your goals and stage of life! If your advisor is managing your 401(k) for you through Pontera, they will be alerted when fund changes happen and will be able to reevaluate your investment options in a timely manner.
Our Chief Investment Officer just wrote an article discussing the ways that having help in managing your 401(k) improves the performance of your account. It is a very interesting read and you can check that out HERE.
Are you saving enough?
This could also be a great time to evaluate whether you are saving enough or not. I often tell clients that the financial plan is the answer to “Am I going to be okay in retirement?” Which means it is also the answer to “Am I saving enough to reach my goals?” If it has been a while since you and your advisor met to discuss your financial plan, maybe 401(k) day is the reminder you have needed to get something scheduled. Also, if you are not a current client with Whitaker-Myers and have questions about your finances and your retirement, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the Financial Advisors. We would be more than happy to help!
Author: Amanda Sharratt