KnowHow Archive

Plan Sponsor Guide Participant Guide

Their Money’s Worth

Helping participants figure out their retirement plan fees

Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

Few issues have drawn as much scrutiny as quickly as retirement plan fees. Congressional hearings have been held, legislation has been passed, and, starting in 2012, the Department of Labor will require a whole new level of disclosure to plan sponsors and plan participants alike about the fees paid by these programs.

What remains to be seen, of course, is just how much all this attention will mean to plan participants who, in most cases, are paying the fees that so many now are focusing on with renewed vigor. Some participants no doubt believe that these programs are "free"; many more have no appreciation for what these programs entail or how much they cost—and their concerns, if still somewhat nascent, seem destined to increase over time.

This month’s Know How is designed to help participants get a better handle
on the costs, as well as the benefits, of their retirement plan accounts.
You can help by:

• Identifying the class(es) of fund shares available in your plan

• Making fund prospectuses available (or telling participants how to obtain them)

• Highlighting the expense categories on their retirement plan statement­s (if any).

As always, I look forward to your feedback.

Nevin E. Adams