There shouldn’t be anything confusing when it comes to your 401(k). It should be clear to you how much you’re contributing, the rate of return, and any fees that are being charged to your account. There is a chance, however, that you’re being shortchanged by your employer. It’s a scary thought, but also one that sometimes proves to be accurate. According to an AARP article, a report from the Department of Labor showed nearly 73 percent of the plans it audited last year made the wrong employer match or some other error.
Your retirement money isn’t something you want to take lightly, which is why it’s important to know the warning signs that should alert you to a possible problem with your 401(k).
1. You’re either receiving your plan statements and documents late, or not at all
Everything that has to do with your 401(k) should be well-documented and arrive on time. You should also have access to a “Summary Plan Description” that describes your plan’s features, writes Forbes. The Department of Labor suggests reviewing the following documents:
- Your individual benefit statements. These should arrive for your review once a quarter. It should detail how much you’re investing, how your money is invested, as well as your account balance. Take a few minutes each quarter to look at it closely.
- Investment information. The statement should include your investment options, as well as a chart that breaks down any fees associated with your account.
- Underfunding notices. If you are in a defined-benefit or traditional benefit plan, you have a right to know how much your plan is underfunded.
- Plan changes. Your employer must tell you if there are any changes made to the retirement program.