Whether you’re in the market for a new car, booking a hotel or benchmarking a retirement plan, price comparisons can be tricky business. Resort fees, dealer fees, convenience fees and more — it seems nearly every industry has a variety of clever pricing methods that can obscure relative value. As a consumer, this means you might occasionally pay a higher price for that oceanfront suite or new minivan. But as a fiduciary, failure to ensure that the fees plan sponsors and participants pay for their 401(k)s are reasonable can lead to costly lawsuits and hefty penalties.
Over time, small changes can have a big impact — and not always in a good way. What would be the long-term health consequences of a daily doughnut or fast food lunch habit? Probably not anything you want. Likewise, years of excessive 401(k) fees can gradually erode the financial wellness of plan participants — definitely not the outcome they want.
To stay in good health, you visit the doctor for an annual physical — before any worrisome symptoms arise. Similarly, when it comes to your 401(k), regular checkups can help screen for early warning signs that plan fees warrant greater scrutiny.