How Good Is Your 401K Plan?

New Web sites can show how it compares. Ask your company to take a look--and take action

For all the good they may do us one day, 401(k) plans suffer a serious flaw. It's the gap between their beneficiaries and the mutual-fund companies, banks, brokers, and insurers that provide the plans. In that gap stands the employer, who shops for 401(k)s on behalf of employees. However well-intentioned, companies can't care about their 401(k) plan as deeply as employees, who have small say in its choice yet are responsible for its ultimate success and pay most of the fees. For a $100,000 account, management fees might run $500 a year--or $2,000.

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