For many of us, these last few months of the year are a time to re-evaluate our financial plans, beneficiary designations, and enroll in corporate benefit programs such as medical and life insurance. For many, this is also when you can enroll in your company’s retirement plan or change your elections – whether it be the amount you are contributing or the funds you are invested in. And for many of you, this can be like shooting an arrow at a moving target. Hoping for the best, but not really sure where to aim.
As financial advisors we see three areas that tend to trip up people’s best intents:
- Not deferring as much as you can, or worse, not deferring enough to at least receive any company match. Remember, the company match is essentially free money to you. So, you should take full advantage of this benefit.
- Not understanding the funds you are investing in. A prime example of this is when you invest in multiple target date funds within the same plan, or put some money in a target date fund, and invest in other funds from different sectors. In both cases, you are usually creating redundancies which only results in higher transaction fees.
- Not taking your other investments into consideration. When you are holding assets in a retirement plan, you need to incorporate those funds into your overall asset allocation. This means if you are striving for an overall 60/40 asset allocation of equities to bonds, you can’t have your 401K in 100% equities and your other accounts at 60% equities. The math doesn’t work and could have a negative impact on reaching your goals.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Soundmark offers a service called ByAllAccounts (BAA). Through them, we receive a daily feed of your outside investments. When we have this information, we can more easily assess when and if changes to your investments need to occur. And, depending upon the level of authority given to us, we can place the trades on your behalf, further reducing a common pain point for investors.
Electing to use this feature does not have any impact on your plan itself since it remains with the third-party administrator, and is still subject to the plan’s rules and restrictions.
If you are interested in signing up, or would like to discuss this in greater detail, please contact your Soundmark team.
Therese Mille, BFA™is a Client Manager at Soundmark Wealth Management, LLC. She handles the day-to-day operations of the client relationship, ranging from financial transactions to compliance.