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Greetings Lance, and welcome.

<<I have finally started a retirement account at work. I assumed it to be a 401(k) plan since it sounds like it (i.e. contribute 1% - 16%, employer match up to 6% etc). In the employee handbook it states " a 'qualified plan' under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and the Department of Labor regulations. The plan is also intended to constitute a plan described in Section 404(c) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations Section 2550.440c-1. As such, the fiduciaries of the plan may be relieved for any losses that are the direct and necessary result of investment instructions given by participants or their beneficiaries.

Is 404(c) different from 401(k) or is that section only describing the fiduciary relief part? I've looked all over for 404(c) here at the Fool and can't find anything.>>

You have stumbled on some technical language used to describe the limits on fiduciary responsibilities of plan sponsors for participant directed accounts. It's just trying to say that in this cash/deferred arrangement plan that the choices are yours, so any loss you incur in those choices are not the responsibility of plan officers provided they have given you the necessary information about the investment options available to you. It sounds like you have a 401k plan, but ask your HR folks if you're concerned.

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