Steps to Follow when Investing in Funds in a 401(k) Plan
- Do your research. Focus on the long-term track record of the fund and use the numerous services available that rate the funds. You may not be able to find your 401(k) fund(s) listed in the more popular rating services. If so, determine the 401(k) fund's objective (growth, aggressive growth, equity-income, etc.), and compare the fund's performance to the average three-, five-, and ten-year performance of other funds in that category.
- Request a prospectus for the various funds from your company. The prospectus provides you with information regarding the fund's objectives, fees, composition, and allowable investments. Don't use the prospectus to assess performance of the fund—use an independent rating service.
- Decide on which fund to choose based on your risk tolerance, your investment goals, and your investment time horizon. Basically, you need to know how much fluctuation in your portfolio you are comfortable with.
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