Taking a hard look at your 401(k) is a great end-of-the-year retirement-planning step.
- Review your bottom line. Are you on target to have an adequate amount of savings on your preferred retirement date? If not, now is the time to take action.
- Increase your savings rate. Very few of us are saving too much. Even bumping your rate up 1 percent will make a difference in the end -- and you'll barely feel it.
- Make sure you're getting the full employer match. If you're not saving enough to get the maximum match from your employer, shame on you. You're leaving money on the table. At least up your contribution enough to get what you're entitled to.
- Review your allocation and rebalance. If you don't feel confident about doing this yourself, a financial planner will help you for a fee. Or if one of your 401(k) choices is a lifecycle fund, which invests your money more aggressively when you are young and more conservatively the closer you get to retirement age, consider putting your savings there.
- Take a look at fees. Financial information firm BrightScope.com rates thousands of company retirement plans on a scale of zero to 100. It also offers information on plan fees. All of this data is available free of charge. What can you do with this information? Complain. Your employer has a responsibility to make sure it is offering you a good deal, so your complaints can carry weight.
- Read the fine print. It's good to know what your plan offers and whether you're taking full advantage of everything available.
Put this review on the list and do it before the HR department locks its doors for the holidays.