The real reason why your 401(k) fees are falling

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Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.

Here’s the real reason why your 401(k) fees are falling
A report from Boston College's Center for Retirement Research found that many companies are reviewing fund offerings in their 401(k) plans and reducing fees due to a flurry of lawsuits that employers face, according to this article on CNBC. Indeed, mutual fund costs have fallen to 48 basis points in 2016 from 77 basis points in 2000 for plan participants, according to the article, citing data from Investment Company Institute. Most of the companies reviewing their offerings are those who sponsor large plans, as they are more capable of negotiating lower expenses. "One of the issues with small retirement plans is that the characteristics aren't chosen by the employers, but by the person selling the plan. Understanding fees isn't really the specialty of the small employer," says an expert.

Why families need a plan for caregiving
Clients are advised to work with their aging parents to prepare for unforeseen expenses, including caregiving costs, according to this Q&A article from Kiplinger. "As overwhelming as it can seem, try to talk about it with your parents,” writes the expert. "As people plan for the future, they typically think about retirement, education and an emergency fund, and they should also be deliberate about setting aside money to use if there's a care situation, even if it's a small amount each month."

An easier way to make qualified charitable distributions
Retirees who are 70 1/2 and older have the option of making a charitable donation directly from an IRA through a qualified charitable distribution, writes a certified financial planner on Morningstar. "This strategy has been popular among charitably inclined clients for quite some time because the amount of a QCD is not counted as taxable income...," writes the expert. "Clients can request a checkbook connected to their IRA account from the custodian" to make it easier for them to take a QCD.

Clients confused about these investing terms? They’re not alone
Findings from a recent Harris poll show that investing terms are complicated and confusing to 69% of investors aged 35 and below, according to this article on MarketWatch. The article identifies some of the common investing terms that clients should understand. For example, a traditional 401(k) and a traditional IRA are retirement accounts funded with pretax dollars, while a Roth IRA has no upfront tax deduction but provides tax-free distribution as well as tax-free growth on savings.

More than half of Americans surveyed plan to work past 65. But what if they can't?
A study by Northwestern Mutual has found that 55% of older workers intend to continue working past the age of 65, according to this article on personal finance website Motley Fool. However, data from Voya Financial show that 60% of workers end up retiring earlier than planned because of various reasons. Those who are forced to retire earlier are advised to assess their retirement assets, get medical coverage on time and delay Social Security retirement benefits if possible.

This article originally appeared in Financial Planning.
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401(k) fees Finance and investment-related court cases 401(k) Retirement income Social Security Social Security benefits Center for Retirement Research