Wish You Could Talk With A Professional About Your 401k Options?

The truth is there is nothing to prevent you from discussing your 401k investment options with a professional. There is no regulatory authority that says you may not. There is not law that says you may not. And there is nothing in your 401k plan that says you may not.

The one question that may be foremost on your mind is: How do I pay for this service? Now here it becomes interesting. You can pay for this service yourself from your taxable account: in other words, money not in a retirement savings account. Why would you want to do that? Well, any such fees you pay should be deductible on your tax return in the year you paid them. Check with your tax accountant. In addition, if you pay directly from your 401k with tax-free dollars, these funds will not be available to grow tax-free in the account.

Yes, you may pay for professional investment advice directly from your 401k account ~ in theory. I do not believe you will find anything in your plan that specifically prohibits it. You may be surprised to find that your plan, revised as a result of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, actually has a process in place to facilitate payment of these fees. This makes sense from the standpoint that you have been paying fees out of this account all along. Surprised? It is true. If you have money invested in any mutual fund or target date fund in your account you have paid the asset managers’ fees directly out of the fund. It is just not transparent – in other words; you were never sent an invoice. They just calculated their fee and deducted it.

That being said, without a specific provision in your plan for the payment of advisory fees directly from your plan assets, it is likely that your company and the Plan Provider will mightily resist allowing you to do so. This, on one level, is understandable. Their immediate concern is that you not be associating with an unscrupulous character. Their second concern is that if you and your advisor blow up the account, you may be tempted to drag them into court with the claim that they should never have let you do what you did.

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