Posts Tagged ‘investment options’

3 Easy Ways to Cut Investing Costs

Posted on: May 10th, 2010 by

Financial Adviser - Financial Planner - Rockville, MDThe markets can be very fickle and uncontrollable, but what you can control is cost.  Keeping your costs down is crucial to your success as an investor.  The first step is to cut your fund fees.  I’m sure by now that you have already learned to avoid sales fees, but do you know how much your mutual funds really cost you every year?  Morningstar’s “Instant X-Ray” feature will break down your funds’ fees into hard dollar figures and compare them with the average costs of similar funds.  From there, you need to get rid of any funds with above-average expenses and are poor performing.  Replace them with low-cost index funds or exchange traded funds.

Next, you need to find a bargain broker.  The widely used online broker Fidelity does not have rock bottom commissions, but has a wide range of investment options.  They also supply a lot of research on their investments.  If you are looking to do a lot of the work yourself, you can go with bare bones operations like WellsTrade, which offers 100 free trades per year as long as you maintain a balance of at least $25,000.

And, finally, you need to haggle with your financial adviser.  The best time to negotiate your adviser’s fees is when  you are still shopping around.  But, if you have already settled, ask for a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of the exact fees you are paying.  At that point you can politely ask, “Is there anything we can do to lower the price tag”.  Now, if you pay by the hour, I would suggest doing a lot more research at home, have all of your questions thought out and written down, and come in with much of your paperwork done so that you will spend less time and money with your financial adviser.

Job Hopping and Retirement

Posted on: April 26th, 2010 by

Financial Planning - Rockville, MDFrequently changing employers can make it more difficult to save for retirement. The median job tenure of American workers was 5.1 years at the same job in 2008, according to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Many pension formulas reward long-term and highly paid employees more than workers with a shorter job tenure. Some job hopping workers also move in and out of retirement plan coverage throughout their career and cash out small 401(k) balances when they change jobs, both of which lead to smaller retirement account balances.

Some 401(k) plans provide better investment options or charge lower fees than others. 401(k) match formulas also vary considerably among employers and short-term employees don’t always get to keep the 401(k) match. Only 37 percent of 401(k) plans offered immediate vesting in 2008, according to a Profit Sharing/401k Council of America survey of 908 plans, which means you get to keep your employer’s match as soon as it is deposited. Other plans require you to stay with the employer a certain number of years before you can keep the match. Some companies also have a graduated vesting schedule that allows you to keep a certain percentage of your employer’s 401(k) match based on the number of years you have worked for the company. If you leave the company before the match is fully vested you forfeit some or all of your employer’s 401(k) contributions.  You should speak to a financial planner to find out how this may effect your retirement.

The job tenure for males approaching retirement between the ages of 55 and 64 had declined steadily from a peak of 15 years in 1983 to 10 years in 2008, EBRI found. Among females the same ages median time on the job has gradually increased from 8 years in 1963 to 10 years in 2008. Public sector workers job hop considerably less often than private sector workers. The median private sector worker had been on the job just 4 years in 2008, compared to 7 years for those in the public sector. Only about 11 percent of all workers have been at their job 20 or more years in 2008.