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You Can Maximize Your 401(k) and Its Returns

Jessica Lanning

If the bear market is not over – and I’m not convinced that it’s over – then what’s required right now to make money in this market is a little bit more time, energy, money, and diligence.  If you have a 401(k) by choice or by requirement, you do have the ability to choose your funds wisely and manage them a little better.

You can have confidence managing your 401(k)

When I meet my clients with 401(k)s for the first time, most of them have no idea why they chose the funds they did, have no idea whether they’re in the right funds, and have no idea what to do next. So they have done nothing for years and are continuing to do nothing. This does not have to be you. Here’s a game plan for you:

•   Get out your last statement.  Since it’s not been so scary to open it lately, you might actually know where it is.  

•   Check out: It’s the best tool I’ve seen so far to make managing a 401(k) easy.  It’s an educational tool. That’s all. But it might help.  

•   When I tell clients to talk to their 401(k) administrator about their plan, I get either a blank stare or the somewhat rhetorical questions, “yeah, who is that?”  Your company does have a 401(k) administrator somewhere.  Find that person.  

•   Ask the administrator these questions: 
     o   May I please have the list of funds in which I can invest?
     o   How often can I change my allocation?
     o   How do I change my allocation?
     o   Are there any penalties for changing allocations?  

•   Implement the Mutual Fund Analyzer tool. Follow the signal. Make your adjustments. 

This is simply an educational tool that might allow you to catch the upsides of more of the markets. You won’t catch the highs and you won’t necessarily miss the lows.  But that’s better than blowing with the volatile wind of this bear market.  And, if you can make some money in the meantime, all the better.