Top of Mind

How Much Does My Retirement Plan Cost?

Here’s an exercise for you: navigate to your recordkeeper’s website and see if you can determine the exact amount you are paying for your retirement plan. If you’re a plan fiduciary or someone who works with retirement plan benefits, you already know this cost, but play along anyway - you may be surprised at what you find!

On my recordkeeper’s website, I land on a page that shows my account balance, the percentage of my salary that I am saving, and my year-to-date rate of return (net of fees, presumably) - but there is nothing about fees. So, I click on the giant button on the page directing me to my account, assuming I’ll learn more there. And, while I do find information such as an infographic and a customized video, investment details, account balances by contribution source, a historical balance graph, and links to retirement readiness exercises, there is still nothing about fees. In fact, while there are a number of additional links on this page that grant access to more detailed information, like financial wellness, transaction history, statements, fund performance, plan info and education and tools, not one of them is for fees.

Only after some deep digging and reading the fine print on fund fact sheets, was I able to find the expense ratios for my investments, as a percentage of assets. And still there was no information on other plan costs, such as recordkeeping and administrative expenses. Also buried in a “Plan Info” tab, under “Participant Disclosure,” was my required participant fee disclosure notice (learn about the lessons you can learn from those in this Top of Mind post). But that’s it. In this day and age of the internet, it should not be this difficult to find the dollar amount of plan fees that I pay each year. And remember – we’re the ones who work with retirement plans. If it’s this difficult for us, what about participants?

How did you fare in this exercise? Do you have thoughts on how we can better communicate plan fees in a manner that is easily understandable and forthcoming to participants? Let me know on LinkedIn, Twitter or at!

Note: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice. Opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Cammack Retirement Group.

Investment products available through Cammack LaRhette Brokerage, Inc.
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Both located at 100 William Street, Suite 215, Wellesley, MA 02481 | p 781-237-2291