401(k) Account Checkup: A Step-by-Step Guide 

401(k) account checkup

A 401(k) plan is a cornerstone of retirement savings for many Americans, providing a tax-advantaged way to grow your primary savings source. However, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it situation. Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to help you perform a 401(k) account checkup. 

Step 1: Gather Your Information 

Before you start, gather all necessary information: 

  • Your latest 401(k) statement. 
  • Login details for your 401(k) account online portal. 
  • Any relevant financial documents related to your investments. 
  • Log in to your 401(k) account online. If you don’t have an online account, contact your plan administrator to set one up. 

Step 2: Review Your 401(k) Account Balance 

Check your current account balance. Compare it to previous statements to see how your account has grown over time. 

Step 3: Check Your Contributions 

Review your contributions to ensure you are maximizing your contributions: 

  • Verify that you are contributing enough to take full advantage of any employer match. 
  • Increase your contributions if your financial situation allows. Use this handy Paycheck Contribution Calculator to determine how much.  
  • Consider consolidating accounts if you have multiple 401(k) plans. 

Step 4: Assess Your Performance 

Compare the performance of your investments to benchmarks like the S&P 500. 

  • Asses If your portfolio is on track to meet your goals and if it has performed as well as comparable investments over time. 
  • If your portfolio consistently falls short, you may need to revise your strategy. 

Step 5: Evaluate Your Investment Mix 

Check the allocation of your investments: 

  • Ensure your portfolio is diversified across different asset classes (stocks, bonds, and more). 
  • Adjust your allocation if necessary to align with your risk tolerance and retirement goals. Take this Risk Tolerance Quiz to determine your risk profile. 

Step 6: Rebalance Your 401(k) Portfolio 

Rebalancing helps maintain your desired asset allocation: 

  • If your portfolio has drifted from your target allocation, rebalance by buying and selling assets to get back on track. 
  • Leverage Bespoke, a digital advisor that customizes and automatically rebalances your investments to fit your needs. Share your details and Bespoke creates a personalized investment mix based on your age, goals, and risk tolerance. 

Step 7: Check Fees and Expenses 

Review the fees associated with your 401(k) investments: 

  • High fees can eat into your returns, so look for low-cost investment options. 
  • Compare the expense ratios of your funds with similar funds. 

Step 8: Update Beneficiaries 

Ensure your beneficiary designations are up to date: 

  • Life events such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child may require changes to your beneficiaries. 

Step 9: Consult with a Financial Advisor 

Think about your retirement goals and whether your current plan will help you achieve them. You might want to consult a financial advisor to get a professional opinion. 

  • If you are unsure about any aspect of your 401(k), consult with a financial advisor. 
  • A professional can provide personalized advice tailored to your situation. 

Step 10: Set a Reminder for Your Next 401(k) Checkup 

Regular checkups are key to staying on track. Set a reminder to review your 401(k) at least once a year, or more frequently if needed. 

Performing a 401(k) account checkup doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your retirement savings are on the right path. Happy saving! 

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