Author Topic: Please take a look at my 401k fund options  (Read 2123 times)

jsloan

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Please take a look at my 401k fund options
« on: September 04, 2012, 07:18:34 AM »
Hi All,

With the help of this forum I am taking some steps to get my financial house in order.  Right now I am taking a look at my 401k options and am trying to decide what changes I should make.  I am 32 with a high risk tolerance.  My 401k plan does have some options for Vanguard funds, but then there are certain categories (like Small Cap) that only include funds with high expense ratios.  I am not sure what categories would be most beneficial to invest in and how much.  I could stick with only the low expense funds, but don't I need some small cap funds to balance things out?  Can anyone take a look at my options and let me know what you would do?  I created a screen shot of my options that is attached.  The >> represents my current holdings.  Thank you! 

Another Reader

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Re: Please take a look at my 401k fund options
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2012, 09:25:44 AM »
These look like the usual stinky choices in 401k and 457 plans.  What I did when faced with these average to much worse than average funds in my plans was to research the best of the bunch and allocate among them, pretty much independent of asset class.  I then used my IRA to balance out the allocation.  For example, if my plan had decent large and mid cap choices and crappy small cap choices,  I put some small caps in the IRA.  Same with REIT's.

I always started with the 5 and 10 year and life of the fund performance.  Then I looked at Morningstar's growth of $10,000 chart.  I also looked at the fees of the fund.  Finally, I ran the choices through Fund Alarm to make sure I hadn't missed a red flag.  When I had a Prudential plan, some of the two and three star choices came back as "sell."  I think Prudential was the worst plan administrator I had.  Ironically, I still keep some of the 457 deferred compensation funds in cash in their stable value fund, as it is paying over 3 percent.

Your administrator will likely show you balanced portfolios comprised of a lot of their marginal funds and tell you this is the ideal asset allocation for someone your age.  They may even offer you a portfolio builder and an automatic rebalancing option with these funds.  Run, do not walk, from this.  Pick your own, review the portfolio at least quarterly, and balance your asset allocation outside of the 401(k).  Also check to see if the administraor offers a brokerage account as an alternative to their fund choices.  If they do, there are usually fees and commissions, but picking your own investments may justify the costs.