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Tips when choosing your 401(k) investments

Saving for retirement is an essential component of financial planning. Adults can save for retirement in various ways, and one of the simplest, most popular ways to do so is to enroll in an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan.

Enrolling in a 401(k) plan can be a wise decision. According to a recent report from Fidelity Investments, the average 401(k) balance rose 8% in the first quarter of 2019. Investors seem to be taking notice of such returns, as Fidelity also noted that the average 401(k) employee contribution reached $2,370 in the first quarter of 2019, marking a 15% increase from the year prior.

When enrolling in a 401(k) plan, professionals may wonder how to choose their investments. There are a host of factors to consider when choosing 401(k) investments, and the following are some strategies that can help investors make decisions they’re comfortable with.

• Read the enrollment brochure. Brochures might not be the most exciting reads, but 401(k) brochures, which should be provided when employees enroll in a plan, typically include a detailed rundown of the investment options within a given plan. Investors who know how their 401(k) contributions are being allocated are in better position to address market fluctuations, giving them more control over their money.

• Involve a financial planner in your 401(k). Financial planners can be an invaluable resource that can help investors in myriad ways. Some investors may be surprised to learn that outside planners can even help them with their employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. A financial planner can then help you choose the funds from your plan that best align with your goals and your comfort levels in regard to risk.

• Monitor your investments. While investors need to recognize that markets fluctuate, they still need to keep an eye on how their 401(k) investments are performing. Keep an eye out for funds that consistently lose money or provide little to no return, as they’re likely not worthy of your investment dollars. Investors should not overreact and immediately move money around when typically strong funds take a dip, but they also should not accept poorly performing funds as part of the risk of investing. It’s a balancing act, and savvy investors know to keep their eyes peeled and to make changes when necessary.

Choosing 401(k) funds is a decision to take seriously, and one that can be made simpler by enlisting the help of a