Home  >  Financial Articles and Q&A  >  How can I accurately and easily determine the fees that I...

How can I accurately and easily determine the fees that I am paying for a 401K or an IRA account?

Jan 19, 2016 in  |  Flag
5 Answers  |  6 Followers
Follow Question
0 votes

Look at the right side of your account when you log into your 401k, then click on one of your investment vehicles it should show you something like this 0.85 or 1.25 if so that is what you are being charged for that piece, don't worry every one has to pay for those as well. Now is your IRA doing you any good.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 19, 2016

1|600 characters needed characters left
0 votes

Most likely you are not paying an direct fees on your 401k or IRA account, however, you are definitely paying fees on the funds within the account. You can find out the fund fees either by looking at the funds prospectus or going to www.morningstar.com and entering the symbol of the fund. Morningstar will give you the fee for each fund in your portfolio.

Good luck!

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 19, 2016

1|600 characters needed characters left
0 votes

I wish this was an easy process, but unfortunately the rules that were supposed to make it easy to figure out what you get charged for fees are getting buried in places that make it hard to find.

What you want to do is ask your benefits or human resources department where the fees are located if they aren’t on your statement. Make sure you know the following:

1) Fees paid to the investment company or broker servicing the plan 2) Fees paid to the record keeper or third party administrator (TPA) 3) Any fees you may be paying to an independent money manager to manage your plan 4) The total operating expense of all funds

This will give you a good idea what your costs are now.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 21, 2016 from Alpharetta, GA

1|600 characters needed characters left
0 votes

Your statements are the best place to start, be it monthly, quarterly, or annually. In a 401(k), You will probably see some sort of administrative (plan) fee, and then you'll have to look at the expense ratio of each fund (listed in your plan materials or easily obtainable at morningstar.com) to estimate your annual fee. You might want to think twice if the funds you have chosen have a sales fee (load) or 12b-1 (distribution) fee, because there is a good chance you could find something else similar for a lot cheaper.

For an IRA or taxable account it will depend on if you go with a traditional Mutual Fund Company or a Broker-Dealer. I have had accounts at USAA, Fidelity, Interactive Brokers, and Schwab. In most cases the total fees (if any) from my account were listed at the front, and then broken down by type on later pages. However, often the commissions for trades were buried in the "total cost" column for each trade, so it takes a little math to figure out how much you paid. Alternatively, you just count the number of trades and multiply by your commission, so if you had 10 trades at $8.95, you paid $89.50 in commissions that period. And you'll still need to review the expense ratios of your funds to estimate your annual fees for each asset.

As Ted wrote, the industry is designed to make it difficult to find this information, but with a little education you have a fighting chance. The SEC has a decent page dedicated to mutual fund fees for additional reading if you are interested: https://www.sec.gov/answers/mffees.htm

Comment   |  Flag   |  Feb 04, 2016

1|600 characters needed characters left
0 votes

Use a website like https://www.feex.com/nerdwallet/should-i-rollover-my-401k/. Your statement may not include all of the outside fees or the mutual fund expense ratios.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Oct 30, 2016

1|600 characters needed characters left