Investment Methodology

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Our investment methodology is designed to create a recommendation that matches your Investor Profile and helps you to prepare for retirement. We believe the investment recommendation should maximize the results you could receive, while minimizing the risks you have to take. 


We don't attempt to choose all of the best-performing investments from your plan each quarter because past performance is no indication of future results. The consequences of unexpected market fluctuations can be dire for people using that kind of retirement investing strategy. Instead, we thoroughly review your options and recommend funds that will fit your investing needs, advocating a long-term investment approach.


We create your recommendation based on your answers to the Investor Profile questionnaire, which is designed to determine how you feel about investing now and how your feelings might change as market conditions change. The answers to the questionnaire provide us with the time you have left to save, your ability to handle market turns and your investment goals. 

Smart401k's Investment Methodology

Using Modern Portfolio Theory, we develop a diversified portfolio using the investment options available in your retirement plan. We strive to reduce the amount of risk you need to take to achieve returns. We evaluate the investment options along the Efficient Frontier, an element of Modern Portfolio Theory used to determine which investment types have the highest expected return for a specified level of investment risk. 

Our evaluation process factors a fund manager's track record, consistency of performance across time periods, risk factors, expenses and fund style. We thoroughly research the investment options presented to your and offer our recommendation for a diversified portfolio.*


We advocate for retirement investors to rebalance their account periodically throughout the year and we include this action in our regular communication with Smart401k members. Making this a regular part of your retirement strategy helps to keep your risk in line with your goals. 

Unbiased Advice

Our recommendations are built in the best interest of our clients. Period. We do not accept any compensation from fund companies to use their products. Our flat fee-only approach allows us to recommend the best fund options available to you to meet your needs. 

The result is your investment recommendation, which is a combination of Smart401k's analysis, your Investor Profile questionnaire responses and the funds your employer made available to you in your retirement plan.

Long-term Strategy

Managing your retirement account is an ongoing event. You can't get into shape after one visit to the gym. Your car isn't set for life after one oil change. We encourage ongoing maintenance and a long-term view of your retirement strategy. Our goal is to help you create a strong strategy for reaching your retirement goals. Through planning and regular maintenance, retirement confidence is within your reach.

*References to Modern Portfolio Theory and Efficient Frontier concepts should not be construed as any guarantee of efficiency in expected returns as compared to portfolio risk. Smart401k applies a variety of criteria in choosing for each asset class, including historical returns, fee ratios, management tenure and several other criteria, the application of which may cause a recommended portfolio to be theoretically less efficient than it may have been had other fund recommendations been made. Additionally, Smart401k's ability to match funds to asset classes for any given plan is limited, potentially significantly, due to limitations in the number and/or types of funds offered in that plan.