Smart401k Blog

  • 3 Investing Expenses Worth the Splurge

    Wasting money is easy. Case in point: a start-up company called Washboard launched this summer with a simple enough service aimed at consumers without a washer and dryer at home.
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  • 3 Stages of Saving and Spending in Retirement

    Although you have probably calculated the value of your nest egg in terms of annual retirement income, what you will be spending immediately after leaving the working world will likely be very different as you move further into retirement.
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  • 3 Harmful Mistakes You Can Make When Saving for Retirement

    Retirement planning takes discipline and hard work. Even the best-laid plans can fall by the wayside, and even the most dedicated retirement savers make a few mistakes.
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  • Fear and Your 401(k)*

    My name is Kevin, and I have a fear of snakes. Even though I know most of them are harmless, I cannot fight the urge to head the other direction as quickly as I can. I’ve always been somewhat embarrassed by my excessive fear, but it turns out this is fairly common. Studies suggest that this fear has been conditioned in humans because of the danger snakes posed for our ancestors. And besides, the manly-man Indiana Jones was also terribly afraid of snakes.
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  • It's Never Too Late to Start Saving for Retirement

    Since the day I started working in the financial industry, there has been one question that seems to come up more than the rest. I hear it from family, friends, friends of friends and even complete strangers. The question is this: “I haven’t done anything to start saving for retirement, is it too late?” Whether the person asking is 30 or 50, the answer is always the same – NO!!! And if you haven’t already started, it’s more important than ever to get started now.
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  • Helpful New Retirement Planning Tools

    For the majority of Americans, who do not work within the financial industry, a lot of investment jargon can sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons (wa wa wa wa wa wa wa) – it just sounds like blather. Even if you understand the investment-speak, there are so many other obstacles to understanding your investments, like knowing your investor type, establishing your investor goals, ...
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  • Why Bother to Invest if I Never Plan to Retire?

    A few weeks ago I received a call from a new Smart401k member. This individual was upset about how much money they lost during the bear market of 2008 and early 2009. They were worried that they would never have enough saved for retirement and would have to, as this individual put it, “work until the day I die.”
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  • The $5.5 Billion Mistake

    Recently The Motley Fool published an article I wrote about the biggest mistakes I see people make with their retirement investments. Take a few minutes to read the article and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your comments and know if you have any additional mistakes you think we should tackle.
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  • Planning Your Ultimate Vacation: Retirement

    This is the time of year people plan a summer vacation, and I am reminded of a statistic I’ve heard a few times over the years: many Americans spend more time planning their vacation each year than they do planning for retirement.
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  • Fund Review: Heartland Select Value (HRSVX)

    I would like to discuss a fund I’ve been following for a few months. A client originally asked about the Heartland Select Value Fund (HRSVX), so I did some research about this option. This is an overview of what I found.
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  • Understanding Mutual Fund Share Classes in Retirement Planning

    Let’s say you were on the TV show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and the million dollar question was, “Which of these funds would have the highest upfront expenses?
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  • Common 401(k) Pitfalls - Company Stock

    In my last Common Pitfalls article, I discussed some common diversification pitfalls to avoid. For this article I thought I would go over one more diversification pitfall, investing in company stock.
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  • ETFs vs. Index Funds in your 401(k)

    As an adviser at Smart401k, I get to evaluate and provide advice on a lot of 401(k)s. Mutual funds and company stock are typically the only type of offerings in an employer plan; however, there have been some of late that have included exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as core holdings. For those who have a brokerage option through their 401(k), you also have the ability to select ETFs.
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  • Smart401k's Newest Retirement Planning Tool: Retirement Guidance

    Did you know that 43% of workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement; and, only 16% are confident that they will be able to save enough for retirement? I was alarmed when I saw these statistics in the 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (See the full survey here). While the poor economy and the rise in unemployment have helped to contribute to these numbers, the survey really drove home that fact that many people just aren’t doing enough to plan for their retirement.
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  • How Much Do I Need To Save for Retirement?

    You're stashing away money in your 401k account every month. You may even be contributing to a separate IRA account. Yet the question still nags at you: Am I saving enough for retirement? If you're asking that, don't worry, you're not alone. In fact, that is the most common question that we get here at Smart401k.
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  • Short Selling... Bad or Good? You Decide

    Lately, short selling has been a hot topic for investors and the media. As with most hot topics, there are two opposing views. Some industry experts want to point the blame for a significant portion of the market woes we experienced in 2008 and 2009 on short sellers, while others say short sellers play an important role on stabilizing the market.
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  • Why Your 401(k) Changed its Funds

    Changes occur in 401(k) plans more than you might think. When a change happens it is supposed to reflect the best interest of the participants in the plan. There are several different types of changes that can be made, including: new share classes, elimination or addition of funds or switching to institutional funds. If a change is planned, your employer will send you a notification well in advance with the information you'll need to know regarding both what the change is and when it will occur. Below, you'll find a brief description of the changes mentioned above.
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  • Should You Put Your 401k Investing on Autopilot?

    Whether you travel regularly for business or just take the occasional vacation, chances are you’ve had reason to travel by airplane. If you’re anything like me, flying goes something like this: You find your seat, shove your carry-on wherever it will fit and begin the painful process of trying to get comfortable. Whether napping, listening to music (aka blocking out your neighbor), or skimming the in-flight magazine, few give a second thought to the fact that they are zipping through the sky 30,000 feet above the ground in a giant metal tube. No matter how you look at it, that is both incredible and frightening. We put our lives in the hands of pilots who, often relying on an autopilot system, get us safely to our destination.
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  • Retirement Planning Myths Busted

    This post is part of Smart401k CEO Scott Hollsopple’s contribution to the U.S. News & World Report Smarter Investor blog series. Original post date June 11, 2013 Out on the golf course, I've overheard some of the game’s greatest myths.
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  • 7 Twitter Users Every 401(k) Investor Should Follow

    I know what you’re thinking. Why should I spend my time reading tweets about what people ate for dinner or their opinion on current news-making events? It’s a justifiable question to ask, but Twitter, like many things is what you make of it. Following the right people or entities on Twitter can transform the site from a time waster into a powerful news aggregator that can educate and inform of the important news, statistics and information on 401k investing and retirement planning.
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