Author Topic: High expense ratios & fees - options?  (Read 1599 times)


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High expense ratios & fees - options?
« on: March 15, 2018, 09:36:15 AM »
I recently changed jobs, and I'm starting to look into my employer's 401(k) plan. They're with John Hancock, and the fees and expense ratios are ridiculous. There isn't a single fund that has an expense ratio below 1%, and most are around 1.5%. Even the usually-cheap Vanguard funds have expense ratios above 1%, so JH is clearly taking a huge chunk off the top. There's also an annual fee of $30 plus 0.48%. And a $25 fee for a withdrawal of any kind--even in retirement (!).

On top of that, my employer doesn't offer matching (of course I knew this going in)... so there isn't a big incentive as far as that's concerned.

For the next year or so, my husband and I plan to contribute about 8% each into our 401(k) while we save for a down payment on a house, and we'll be funneling it into my husband's account. However, in 2019, we'll be maxing out our 401(k)s. My question is, are we allowed to contribute both our contributions into his 401(k)? We file jointly. I can't seem to find any info on this except for when one spouse doesn't work.

Are there any other options available to me/us, or should I just suck it up? I know I could try to talk to them about moving to a different provider, but considering that I'm new and have relatively little seniority (engineer with a couple years experience), I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable going that route at the moment.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 09:38:25 AM by aprilm »


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Re: High expense ratios & fees - options?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 09:41:00 AM »
Retirement accounts are individual, as are contribution limits, so you're each allowed to contribute to your own account up to the limit (I think 2018 is $18,500). If your AGI is low enough, contribute to traditional IRAs ($5,500 max per individual) before your JH 401k.


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Re: High expense ratios & fees - options?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 04:29:02 PM »
You’re really only stuck with the problem as long as you work there. The second you leave you can throw it all in a Vanguard/Fidelity/Schwab/etc IRA. The tax savings will still far outweigh the less-than-ideal fund expenses, especially if you’re not employed there long.


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Re: High expense ratios & fees - options?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2018, 07:46:47 PM »
Similar situation for me.  An index S&P is has an expense ratio of about 1%, plus I have to pay about .75% management fee on the total of my retirement account each year.  No fees to withdraw.

In ours, we have a fixed income fund that pays a flat 3% earnings and is excluded from the .75% management fee that applies to everything else, so I've begun contributing to that and will be shifting over some of the invested funds.


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