How Does Your 401k Compare?

I have a 401k from a previous employer. With only a dozen mutual funds to choose from, it doesn’t have very many investment choices. I’ve done the best I can from these choices and have selected 8 of them, with 75% of my 401k invested in just 3 funds. And I’ve managed to eke out a very respectable 17.4% for the first 3 quarters of the year.

On the flip side, my 401k with my current employer has about 3 dozen options. However, there’s less diversification amongst them than with the previous employer! It lacks a REIT fund (not that I’d invest in it, since I’m heavily invested in Real estate on my own), a health care fund, and a technology fund.

Instead, some moron set it up with 4 bond funds, 2 small-cap broad market funds, 2 small-mid cap value funds, 2 small-mid cap blend funds, 4 mid-large cap equity funds, 4 mid-large cap value funds, 3 international funds, and so on.

So despite the wide selection of funds, they’re less diverse than the 401k with only 12 options. Instead of choosing the fund with the least management fees, the lazy (or maybe inept?) administrator just included 3 or 4 similar funds so the participant can make his own decisions.

And despite having so many options, I only managed to make 14.05% in the current 401k for the same time period, which is basically a reflection of the broad market indices minus the management fees.

Sometimes fewer, more well-thought out options are better!

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