I don’t know enough on this issue to comment in depth, although I’m probably less likely to believe the hysteria than most.
Workers are being overcharged tens of billions of dollars a year in unnecessary and often hidden fees imposed on popular, company-sponsored retirement savings plans known as 401(k)s, financial experts told a congressional committee yesterday.
Mutual funds and other professional investment firms often charge fees totaling 3 percent to 5 percent of the assets they manage, when 1.5 percent would be more appropriate, Matthew D. Hutcheson, an independent consultant on pension fees, told the House Education and Labor Committee.
I’m sure this happens, based on the company that manages my 401(k). I have no reason to believe they’re maliciously screwing me with outrageous fees, but they do waste my money. When they need to send me an amendment to my plan, they send the notification by FedEx, even when what I receive consists of two printed pages. I’d prefer they use the postal service, or even better, e-mail. I’m very close to pulling my retirement funds from them and moving them to another company.
As a business owner, I have that luxury. Employees are not so lucky. They’re generally stuck with what their employer offers. Is it possible that these “unnecessary” fees are the result a perverted federal tax structure that alters some of the normal incentive to keep costs low? Every government decision has consequences, so it’s reasonable to assess which negatives the government creates through its actions.
Would Americans be better off with a simpler, individual system not tied to employers? Would a better, fairer tax code help? I don’t know the answers, but I’d start there. When there’s a significant problem in the market, it generally results from some government action.