Take control of your 401(k)


For many Americans, how we spend our retirement will be determined by how well we planned. After all, Social Security is limping along, "healthy" until 2037, and most pensions have been replaced by 401(k) accounts. While the first smart thing to do is to take advantage of that company-sponsored 401(k), it shouldn't be your last when saving for those golden years.

Matthew D. Hutcheson
-- a driving force in the independent fiduciary movement and co-founder of e-Luminary.com, a web site that vets advisers for consumers – has four tips to navigating the 401(K) maze:

Know your expectations
Before you even buy your first fund or stock, talk to your adviser or plan manager to find out what the reasonable return would be on your portfolio given your investment time frame. Too often, we trust our advisers to build a portfolio that will grow. Or we feel that we have limited options offered by our company's plan. Take charge of your 401(k) by pushing the adviser -- whether he is an independent broker or the person designated by the employer to work with employees -- to give a reasonable estimate of what income you can expect after a certain number of investment years.