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Bond guru Ford O'Neil steers the debt side. Manager Sonu Kalra mixes high-quality, established firms with nascent companies in his roughly stock portfolio. And he's known to take big bets if he feels strongly about a firm's prospects.
Over the course of nearly three decades at the helm, Fidelity Contrafund manager Will Danoff has delivered spectacular results, helping longtime shareholders fund cushy retirements. Danoff hunts down companies with fast-growing earnings. When he likes a company, he holds on. Berkshire Hathaway BRK. B , a top holding, has in the fund since Over the past 10 years, Contrafund has gained If Fidelity Growth Company is available in your k plan, buy shares.
The fund is a winner, and it is closed to new investors outside of k plans. Manager Steve Wymer hunts for firms with good long-term growth prospects. But nearly a quarter of the fund's assets is invested in smaller companies.
Even so, Wymer's year record, Lead manager Joel Tillinghast and five comanagers use the low-price bar to find good values in small-cap stocks and out-of-favor larger firms. The fund has an outstanding long-term record under Tillinghast. Even so, Low-Priced Stock is worth a look. Tillinghast is a master stock picker. The fund is unique, and not easily compared with a benchmark.
Managers at Harbor Capital Appreciation look for fast-growing firms in good financial health that dominate their businesses. Think Amazon. You should expect above-average volatility, but the reward is above-average returns. Within Invesco Diversified Dividend , a quartet of managers led by Meggan Walsh look for financially healthy companies with a strong presence in their industry that can sustain and increase dividend payouts over time.
And perhaps more important to some investors, it tends to hold up better in down markets. However, over the past decade, its You won't see Amazon. The fund yields 2. Despite a weak decade for emerging-markets stocks, Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets manager Justin Leverenz has delivered a 6. ODMAX tops its peers, too, and fairly consistently. In all but three of the past 11 calendar years, including so far in , Oppenheimer Developing Markets has beaten the average fund in its peer group: diversified emerging-markets stock funds.
Of course, stashing one-fourth of the fund's assets in developed-country stocks has helped. Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets is closed to new investors, but that rule doesn't apply to k investors. This fund is a winner. Over the past three, five and 10 years, Janus Henderson Enterprise has delivered above-average returns with well-below-average risk.
It holds steadier than its peers in down markets and outperforms or keeps pace when stocks are rising. Two managers, Brian Demain and Philip Cody Wheaton, look for firms with durable growth rates that can be sustained through an entire business cycle. COO are among the fund's top holdings. JAENX is closed to new investors, so if it's offered in your k plan, you should load up on shares there. In , the managers at Metropolitan West Total Return Bond grew more defensive and began to shore up the fund with high-quality bonds — Treasuries, as well as mortgage bonds and bundles of student loans backed by Uncle Sam.
They were early, which hurt the fund's returns, as safer fare lagged and riskier debt outperformed. Aggregate Bond Index. Recent returns have been stronger, too, thanks in part to a rally in Treasury bonds. Even so, NBGNX's four managers tend to hold on to its winners, so more than half of its portfolio is devoted to mid-cap stocks. The quartet favor firms with strong balance sheets, competitive advantages, moderate mid-teen growth rates, and shares that are priced at a discount relative to the small-company index, the Russell Though the recipe means Genesis typically doesn't top the charts in big rallies, the fund's ability to weather bad markets helps over time.
Thanks in part to holding up better than the Russell in and , Genesis's 9. The fund, formerly known as Prudential Total Return Bond, sports a portfolio that bears little resemblance to the benchmark. The risk paid off well, however. Only a few actively managed funds consistently beat the broad stock market.
Manager Larry Puglia fills his portfolio with established companies that boast strong free cash flow cash profits after capital outlays , above-average earnings growth and smart executives at the top. Fath likes to keep a portfolio of roughly 80 stocks, though he has 91 at the moment. He favors firms with strong cash flow and above-average profit growth, but he also likes firms that can withstand an economic slowdown thanks to good earnings momentum or a solid, lucrative niche in their industry.
At last report, Amazon. Manager Taymour Tamaddon takes an active role. Tamaddon is relatively new to TRLGX — he took over at the start of — but he has performed swimmingly so far. The fund has returned Midsize-company stocks don't fetch as much attention as their large and small brethren do, but T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth is hard to overlook.
Manager Brian Berghuis likes fast-growing companies that trade at a reasonable price. RPMGX is closed to new investors, but this rule doesn't apply if the fund is in your k plan. Consistency is Vanguard Equity Income's hallmark. Over the past three, five and 10 years, Equity Income, a Kip 25 member, has delivered above-average returns with below-average risk relative to its peers: mutual funds that invest in large, bargain-priced companies. A focus on dividend payers helps.
So does having the same managers in place for more than a decade. Wellington Management's Michael Reckmeyer runs two-thirds of the assets; Vanguard's in-house stock-picking group manages the rest. But these days, inflation expectations are low. As a result, these types of bonds aren't paying much income, which is the fund's secondary objective. At last report, the fund yields, just 0. Even so, there's always a risk that the price of goods and services will increase — or that a fear of inflation could emerge.
Every diversified portfolio needs exposure to foreign stocks, and Vanguard International Growth is a worthy choice. Just be prepared for some volatility. But in the past, the reward has been worth the risk. Though VPMCX's performance over the past 12 months lags its peer group, we think that's an aberration.
Over the long haul, this fund has been a star. Five stock pickers from Primecap Management look for out-of-favor companies that have a catalyst for growth. Small business k plans are tailored to meet the specific needs unique to small business owners and their employees.
Whether your business is a sole proprietorship, corporation, Limited Liability Company or a partnership, there is a k plan available for you to help provide affordable retirement solutions to your employees. Not many names come with as much recognition with the retirement planning industry as Charles Schwab. This program comes with advisor services and also has an interest-bearing feature through the Schwab Bank.
Individuals who are self-employed or have an owner-only business can contribute to an individual k plan which offers many of the same benefits as the traditional k. A great thing about the individual k plan is that you can direct how your contributions are invested.
This plan has no monthly service fees or maintenance fees and no minimum amount to open an account. Contributions are tax-deductible and earnings are tax-deferred. Employee Fiduciary has low fees for setting up and administering k plans.
The fees for k plans are low and Employee Fiduciary provides tax return forms, annual report summaries, benefit statements and a toll-free number for participants needing assistance. If you are a small employer that is looking into k plans but also needs a payroll service, Paychex may be just what you are looking for. Paychex has more than offices around the country which can be contacted for assistance.
Small employers are billed based on their number of employees and the number of pay periods each year. There are some additional fees for processing tax forms and other services. ADP is another k provider that offers combined services for small employers including k , payroll, insurance, HR, tax filing, and other administrative services.
It specializes in small companies with 1 to 49 employees and offers several k retirement plans for businesses this size. Three investment tiers are available for participants: basic sample line-up for investors with little-to-no investment experience , standard sample line-up for investors with an average level of investment experience , and advanced sample line-up designed for participants with above-average investment experience.
Investors may ask for assistance in choosing the correct plan or ask that a plan is selected for them. Once enrolled, employees have access to a useful mobile application allowing access to their retirement account from their mobile devices. Even though it is one of the largest mutual fund companies in the world, Vanguard offers several low-cost k investment options including professionally-managed mutual funds and ETFs.
There is a Vanguard investment fund available for nearly every investor, including more than mutual funds some of the most inexpensive in the industry , low-cost and diversified ETFs, and target date funds these funds automatically adjust underlying investments as the retirement date approaches. The target date funds are very cost effective and are designed to maximize retirement earnings.
Vanguard does not handle its own customer service — that is handled by a k administrator. Rowe Price is a respected name in retirement planning and has been providing investment and retirement services for more than 80 years. These mutual funds have no sales fees and expense ratios below the industry average.
In addition to its k plans, T. Rowe Price offers b plans for nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations such as hospitals, churches, and schools. Fidelity Investment is a privately-owned company and a competitive k plan provider. The plans administered by Fidelity Investments are ideal for public and private companies with more than 20 employees.
As the fund nears its target-date time frame, investments move toward the conservative end of the investment spectrum. Watch out for fees with these funds. Some are higher than average. In fact, you should spread your money around several funds. How you divvy up your money—or your asset allocation —is your decision. However, there are some things you should consider before you invest.
The first consideration is highly personal, your so-called risk tolerance. Only you are qualified to say whether you love the idea of taking a flier , or whether you prefer to play it safe. The next consideration is your age, specifically how many years you are from retirement. The basic rule of thumb is that a younger person can invest a greater percentage in riskier stock funds. At best, the funds could pay off big. At worst, there is time to recoup losses, since retirement is far ahead.
The same person should gradually reduce holdings in risky funds, moving to safe havens as retirement approaches. In the ideal scenario, the older investor has stashed those big early gains in a safe place, while still adding money for the future. The traditional rule was that the percentage of your money invested in stocks should equal minus your age.
More recently, that figure has been revised to or even , because the average life expectancy has increased. Nonetheless, Hebner doesn't recommend relying solely on this methodology. He suggests using a risk capacity survey to assess the proper ratio of stocks to bonds for investors. Another quick and simple way to estimate the amount you will need to have saved is to take your pre-retirement income and multiply it by A more comprehensive approach would be to use a "retirement calculator.
They typically also have knowledgeable representatives that will walk you through the process. You should take advantage of these resources if they are available to you, assuming you don't already have a financial advisor. You probably already know that spreading your k account balance across a variety of investment types makes good sense. Diversification helps you capture returns from a mix of investments—stocks, bonds, commodities , and others—while protecting your balance against the risk of a downturn in any one asset class.
After that, it's a matter of fighting the temptation to market time , trade too often, or think that you can outsmart the markets. Some experts advise saying no to company stock, which concentrates your k portfolio too narrowly and increases the risk that a bearish run on the shares could wipe out a big chunk of your savings. Vesting restrictions may also prevent you from holding on to the shares if you leave or change jobs, making you unable to control the timing of your investments.
It costs money to run a k plan. The fees generally come out of your investment returns. Consider the following example posted by the Department of Labor. If you pay 0. However, increase the fees and expenses to 1. They are determined by the deal your employer made with the financial services company that manages the plan.
The Department of Labor has rules that require workers be given information on fees and charges so they can make informed investment decisions. Basically, the business of running your k generates two sets of bills—plan expenses, which you cannot avoid, and fund fees, which hinge on the investments you choose. The former pays for the administrative work of tending to the retirement plan itself, including keeping track of contributions and participants.
The latter includes everything from trading commissions to paying portfolio managers' salaries to pull the levers and make decisions. Among your choices, avoid funds that charge the biggest management fees and sales charges. Actively managed funds are those that hire analysts to conduct securities research.
If you opt for well-run index funds, you should look to pay no more than 0. If you are many years from retirement and struggling with the here-and-now, you may think a k plan just isn't a priority. But the combination of an employer match if the company offers it and a tax benefit make it irresistible. That minimum should be the amount that qualifies you for the full match from your employer.
To get the full tax savings, you need to contribute the yearly maximum contribution. In addition, you are effectively reducing your federal taxable income by the amount you contribute to the plan. As retirement approaches, you may be able to start stashing away a greater percentage of your income. In addition, as you near retirement, this is a good time to try to reduce your marginal tax rate by contributing to your company's k plan. When you retire, your tax rate may drop, allowing you to withdraw these funds at a lower tax rate, says Kirk Chisholm, wealth manager at Innovative Advisory Group in Lexington, Massachusetts.
The federal government is so hot to promote retirement savings that it offers another benefit for people who have lower incomes, and it's not all that low. This offset is in addition to the usual tax benefits of these plans. The size of the percentage depends on the taxpayer's adjusted gross income for the year.
The income limits for the Saver's Tax Credit go up in Once your portfolio is in place, monitor its performance. Keep in mind that various sectors of the stock market do not always move in lockstep. For example, if your portfolio contains both large-cap and small-cap stocks, it is very likely that the small-cap portion of the portfolio will grow more quickly than the large-cap portion.
If this occurs, it may be time to rebalance your portfolio by selling some of your small-cap holdings and reinvesting the proceeds in large-cap stocks. While it may seem counter-intuitive to sell the best-performing asset in your portfolio and replace it with an asset that has not performed as well, keep in mind that your goal is to maintain your chosen asset allocation. When one portion of your portfolio grows more rapidly than another, your asset allocation is skewed in favor of the best performing asset.
If nothing about your financial goals has changed, rebalancing to maintain your desired asset allocation is a sound investment strategy. And keep your hands off it. Borrowing against k assets can be tempting if times get tight. On top of that, you will be assessed interest and possibly fees on the loan.
Resist the option, says Armstrong. The need to borrow from your k is typically a sign that you need to do a better job of planning out a cash reserve, saving, or cutting spending and budgeting for life goals. Some argue that paying yourself back with interest is a good way to build your portfolio, but a far better strategy is not to interrupt the progress of your long-term savings vehicle's growth in the first place.
Most people will change jobs more than half-a-dozen times over the course of a lifetime. Far too many of them will cash out of their k plans every time they move. This is a bad strategy. If you're moving to a new job, you may also be able to roll over the money from your old k to your new employer's plan, if the company permits this.
Whichever choice you make, be sure to make a direct transfer from your k to the IRA or new company's k to avoid risking tax penalties. The costs for a Wells Fargo k vary greatly based on the size of a plan and number of participants, investment options available as well as the specific role s that Wells Fargo is playing in setup and administration.
Customer service is offered in a myriad of ways with Wells Fargo. It has a comprehensive online platform as well as retail banking branches around the country where clients can go for assistance. Visit Wells Fargo. ShareBuilder k sets itself apart by offering a complete online experience for those who seek it. Using ShareBuilder k, small business owners can set up a plan completely online for a flat fee and start investing immediately.
While ShareBuilder k offers k plans with as few as one participant, it specializes in businesses with between six and 10 employees. This is ideal for a business that thinks it will be growing shortly. ShareBuilder k focuses on the following:.
ShareBuilder k offers plans with flat fees that vary based on the type of plan you establish and the number of participants in your plan. The fewer the number of participants, the smaller the fees. Even though ShareBuilder k is designed to get you up and running with an entirely streamlined online experience, a team of professionals is available for customer support. Service issues handled include questions about the online platform, questions about investments, and administrative issues.
Visit ShareBuilder k. Merrill Lynch prefers to work with high-net-worth individuals looking at comprehensive planning, not just transactions. Because the online brokerage has fewer management requirements, smaller accounts are available to open. Through Merrill Edge, small business owners can get access to all Bank of America services and resources, including business banking, lending, and wealth management.
As a standalone unit, Merrill Edge offers clients an easy, cost-effective k option that provides ample investment options, streamlined service, and a straightforward fee structure. Merrill Edge offers investors a host of investment options, many from the premium Merrill Lynch parent name, including:. While Bank of America and Merrill Edge provided several different financial services, Merrill Edge is predominantly a discount brokerage arm and trading platform.
As a k provider, Merrill handles many services seamlessly, including:. While Merrill is not a payroll provider, it does make it easy to coordinate contributions to your plan by setting up automatic contributions for employees as well as cash sweeps for employer matching and any profit sharing. While not the cheapest k company, Merrill Edge is relatively cost-effective.
Even more significantly, it is easily one of the most straightforward providers in terms of cost. While Merrill Edge is predominantly online, its parent companies have offices around the world with in-person and phone support available. Merrill Lynch offices and Bank of America branches are in most communities across the country. You can use dedicated representatives from one of these offices to resolve any issues and provide individual guidance, in addition to numerous other financial services.
Visit Merrill Edge. Guideline is one of the best k investment companies because it promises transparent pricing and simplicity, and this k provider delivers. Companies can choose from two different plans, both of which offer a full array of services—including assistance with regulatory compliance—for a flat monthly fee plus a fixed per-employee cost. Guideline simplifies the cost structure for business owners, making it less intimidating to operate a k.
Guideline offers employees two different options for investing, so every k plan participant can find investments that suit their needs. There are two methods of investment with Guideline that include:. Guideline offers a choice of two plans: an entry-level Startup Plan and a costlier but more robust Prime Plan. Both offer a full array of features for businesses, including:. Guideline is one of the most affordable k providers, both for employers and employees.
Pricing is transparent, and employers have a choice of two different plans depending on their needs. Neither plan charges investment management fees or custodial fees, and both plans offer mutual funds with low expense ratios. Guideline has been recognized for its first-of-a-kind software that streamlines k setup and management for businesses. It offers complete payroll integration and has live, United States-based support for plan participants via phone or chat.
Starting with a free minute k consultation helps your company get your plan up and running quickly. Prime plan participants also receive priority support with a dedicated account manager assigned to them. Visit Guideline. Human Interest was founded on a belief that many k companies charge excessive or hidden fees. As a disrupter to the industry, it is an investment platform that can administer your k plan and is great for small business owners willing to use an online provider for ease of use to save time and money.
Compared to other k companies, Human Interest aims to keep administrative costs down and utilizes flat administrative fees, so business owners know what to expect. Unlike some other providers, Human Interest provides limited investment options. Still, the funds it offers are typically the most popular types of investment vehicles for retirement accounts and provide ample opportunities for participants to grow their assets.
Human Interest has a core group of services that it provides very efficiently. For other items like payroll services, it works very well with any outside providers that a small business relies on. The primary k services offered by Human Interest include:. Human Interest provides a detailed list of its fees directly on its website and is extremely cost-efficient in its offerings.
Its services are offered for a flat monthly fee to help small business owners better budget their k assets. Human Interest is almost entirely online with no retail offices around the country for clients to get guidance, nor is there a menu of additional services that many other providers offer. Despite having limited brick-and-mortar options, each k client gets a dedicated account manager, and the company works with other types of providers to make administration seamless for business owners and employees.
Human Interest even provides support for k plan participants who want to borrow against their retirement assets. Visit Human Interest. The company offers professionally managed mutual funds and ETFs that can potentially be used within a k plan, depending on the design of the plan. Vanguard is the ideal provider of mutual fund options for any k.
On its own, Vanguard is not a plan administrator. Vanguard offers relatively easy integration with banks and payroll service providers when used through an administrator platform. However, like most mutual fund companies, it still has substantial room for improvement when it comes to technology and seamless integration. These fees increase as the amount invested rises and are deducted from participant accounts automatically.
Other k plans typically hold Vanguard funds through an intermediary like a plan administrator. Instead, customer service typically is handled by a k administrator. Visit Vanguard. Paychex is known as a payroll provider, but it is also an excellent choice as a k plan administrator.
It also provides outsourced benefits solutions, business loans, and other services for small- and midsize businesses SMBs. Paychex is a great provider for small business owners who want to outsource payroll processing to a company that can integrate seamlessly with k administrators and other providers.
Paychex is the top choice for payroll provider because of the critical recordkeeping services it provides. Most importantly, however, Paychex offers seamless integration with k third-party administrators TPAs , making the process of plan administration much easier for small business owners. As a payroll provider, Paychex does not offer any investment options. Instead, its client firms canuse any investment options available through the plan administrator they choose.
This opens the door to unlimited investment choices based on the administrator chosen. Paychex is being highlighted here for the extreme ease in which it can coordinate with k plan administrators. This gives small business owners a great deal of flexibility to choose an administrator, trading platform, and investment options that are right for them.
For example, it will facilitate pretax or post-tax employee contributions as well as any employer match. Because Paychex does not provide plan administration or investment options, its costs are confined to payroll services, should you decide to use them. Its billing structure is based on the number of employees and pay periods per year and increases with the number of employees and number of annual periods.
There are additional charges for processing employee W-2s and other tax forms, and you need to contact them directly for a free quote. While Paychex is focused almost exclusively on payroll and human resources HR solutions, there are more than offices throughout the country that small business owners can contact for assistance. The company does a great job of making it easy for business owners to work with k plan administrators to implement a plan and make contributions. Visit Paychex. Fidelity is a diversified financial services company offering mutual funds, securities brokerage, and business and personal banking, including credit cards and business loans.
Fidelity is the best target date funds provider for k s because of the 13 Freedom Funds plans the company offers. Small business owners can get access to k plan administration and recordkeeping services, a full trading platform, and investment advisory services, plus personal and business banking.
Many of these services come from different business units but can all be provided by Fidelity as a full-service firm. Fidelity makes an array of in-house and independent investment options available to k clients, including:.
As a full-service financial firm, Fidelity offers a host of different financial services. In addition to its line of mutual funds, trading platform, and banking services, Fidelity also offers a number of services specific to k s, including:. Fidelity places a major emphasis on customer service. It has offices in a number of communities around the country, where clients can go to get individual assistance or work with a dedicated adviser for one-on-one guidance.
On top of that, its phone support is some of the best in the industry. Visit Fidelity. Charles Schwab offers both a full-service k plan customized to your company and the option to add investment advisory services to an existing k. Charles Schwab has both a broker-dealer and banking subsidiary, so it can provide a full range of financial services.
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