Author Topic: 401k and Fund Options  (Read 4099 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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401k and Fund Options
« on: April 16, 2014, 10:18:08 AM »
I really need a little understanding about the funds offered in our 401k.

These funds do not have ticker symbols and are managed by Northern Trust Global Investments. I do have 2 funds, the S&P 500 and a Small Cap Value fund. The following is a conversation between me and the administrator of the 401k. These are direct quotes.

How can I know when my funds pay dividends? Each pay I can see my contribution. Each pay I can see my employer's match. Each day I can track market gain/loss. I have NOT seen any indication whatsoever that my funds have paid dividends. Obviously one would NOT want to allow money to sit in these funds if one retires. Values would increase/decrease as each UNIT increases or decreases. But no dividends means no increase in the QUANTITY of units.

There are no dividend allocations for any of the investment options,– dividends are included in the Net Asset Value (NAV).

Are these funds worth my contributions beyond minimum contribution to obtain employer match? My Fidelity rollover has been sitting for over a decade and takes dividends to buy additional units. The value has more than doubled during this time. I have been maxing out the contributions but am I getting the bang for the buck?

Any insight would be great!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 11:07:34 AM »
i have some similar funds in my 401k, same sort of issue

can you get information about what funds your funds are investing in?  you should ultimately be able to track through to the quoted security, which should then allow you to get some idea of when dividends might be paid out

also, are you tracking your holdings based units purchased and source?  fortunately in my 401k it shows me that in the transaction history, which is how i can see the dividend payments.

seems like maybe yours doesn't break that down for you

i like you probably don't understand the response you got


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 11:26:36 AM »
I track my holdings regularly and I've never seen a dividend addition, plus my units always remain the same unless I and my company contribute. The companies in the fund are the same as any other S&P fund, ExxonMobil for example. I understand that the dividends are not buying us additional units but rather added to the NAV somehow. This doesn't sound beneficial to me as an individual. I wouldn't let money sit in these funds after retirement that's certain!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 04:44:38 AM »
Bump! This is what's happening.  I copied the history of ALL activity in my 2 funds, the S&P and Small Business Value. Contributions equal mine plus employer. As you can see I have no record of dividends being added to my account each quarter.  The only time the number of units/shares increases is when contributions are made. Again I ask is this plan the best way for me overall or should I be investing in funds outside the plan that are post tax or both? Is this an odd set up not to receive dividends? Any thoughts would be helpful.

All Events - <All Funds>, <All Types>
Process Date    Amount    Event              
04/11/2014    $312.83    Contribution              
04/01/2014    ($11.00)    Plan Fee              
03/28/2014    $836.93    Contribution              
03/14/2014    $833.83    Contribution              
02/28/2014    $546.87    Contribution              
02/14/2014    $702.29    Contribution              
01/31/2014    $837.61    Contribution              
01/17/2014    $260.80    Contribution              
01/03/2014    $260.80    Contribution              
01/02/2014    ($10.00)    Plan Fee              
12/20/2013    $161.16    Contribution              
12/06/2013    $249.35    Contribution              
11/22/2013    $829.22    Contribution              
11/08/2013    $821.16    Contribution              
10/25/2013    $809.35    Contribution              
10/11/2013    $821.40    Contribution              
10/01/2013    ($10.00)    Plan Fee              
09/27/2013    $821.30    Contribution              
09/13/2013    $820.44    Contribution              
08/30/2013    $819.97    Contribution              
08/16/2013    $820.16    Contribution              
08/02/2013    $809.11    Contribution              
07/19/2013    $804.34    Contribution              
07/05/2013    $810.73    Contribution              
07/01/2013    ($10.00)    Plan Fee              
06/21/2013    $734.87    Contribution              
06/07/2013    $735.82    Contribution              
05/24/2013    $310.82    Contribution              
05/10/2013    $310.82    Contribution              
04/26/2013    $260.63    Contribution              
04/12/2013    $254.91    Contribution              
04/01/2013    ($10.00)    Plan Fee              
03/28/2013    $261.02    Contribution              
03/15/2013    $260.63    Contribution              
03/01/2013    $161.11    Contribution              
02/15/2013    $261.87    Contribution              
02/01/2013    $208.21    Contribution              
01/18/2013    $555.87    Contribution              
01/04/2013    $360.82    Contribution              
01/02/2013    ($10.00)    Plan Fee              
12/21/2012    $354.72    Contribution              
12/07/2012    $254.15    Contribution              
11/23/2012    $260.82    Contribution              
11/09/2012    $259.11    Contribution              
10/26/2012    $260.44    Contribution              
10/12/2012    $259.55    Contribution              
10/01/2012    ($12.00)    Plan Fee              
09/28/2012    $209.55    Contribution              
09/14/2012    $208.80    Contribution              
08/31/2012    $210.77    Contribution              
08/17/2012    $209.93    Contribution              
08/03/2012    $209.74    Contribution              
07/27/2012    $52,916.99    Conversion In              


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 08:38:30 AM »
I don't know the answer to your question but here is what I can tell you.

I have my 401k at Fidelity invested in Vanguard Target Retirement Fund 2030 - when I look at my statements there is no evidence of dividends, just contributions (just like yours).

I have an IRA at Fidelity that holds Vanguard Target Retirement Fund 2035 - this was a one time purchase, no additional contributions.  I can see dividends (?) being added to the account once a year.

So maybe it's a function of 401k accounting?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 09:37:15 AM »
Thank you for looking up your statement history. This was helpful. Yeah, 401k accounting indeed! I'll probably not make sense of my plan unless we changed over to Fidelity or some other company where I can at least look up a fund by ticker symbol. If my wife and I can live well under our salaries, the ideal situation is to max out both 401k's, me contribute an additional $5,500 since I'm now over fifty, we each have a Roth, use extra rental income to buy REIT shares and purchase more units in the FSTMX fund. Prob'ly not gonna happen (gross household income) a little under 100k but we'll try by way of badassity!

I would love to have others contribute to this discussion. By the way, my wife's admin at her er sponsored plan is Fidelity and her statements include dividend disclosure. I have no idea what's happening!


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2014, 09:52:08 AM »
There's no problem with the fund adding dividends to NAV versus distributing them and having them reinvested in the same fund.  Mathematically they are the same, assuming fees don't change because of it. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2014, 09:55:19 AM »
the only thing i can think of is that your fund is owning more of the underlying fund(s), which is why they told you the dividends are reflected in the NAV

so instead of giving you more shares in your fund, you just own the same number of shares in a bigger investment


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: 401k and Fund Options
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 09:55:53 AM »
I have heard of some funds, only available in 401(k) plans, that do indeed bake the dividends into the NAV. Instead of tracking the dividends of the underlying stocks, totaling them up, paying them out, and automatically reinvesting them in more shares of the fund, they instead just increase the value of the shares you already own by the value of the dividends. Something about 401(k) accounting rules means they can do this instead of distributing the dividends from time to time as would be required for any fund that is purchasable in a taxable account. I don't think this should be anything to worry about.