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I have a couple more questions I guess. What exactly is "Paychex marketed their 401k very heavily to its payroll clients last year?" Were they cutting deals? Like reduced service fees for using one of those three choices? If so, that puts me up against an instant reply that "we can't do that" and I'd have to sell it on the basis of costs to the employer.

I work for a small, privately owned company, and there are only 5 people currently working at my company, it wouldn't be hard to convince all of them that we would be better off with an indexed fund. That part I can do. The hard bit is to convince the company owner (in England) to do anything that would cost even the slightest bit more. (Good place to work, pay is good, job is fun, and only thing I've found to complain about is the 401k).

So, I'll assume for now I can convince at least one or two other people that we should have a low cost index fund available. Now I need some information about justifying the change.

We're obviously using the Salomon Smith Barney option.

What costs would the employer have to cough up to add the Merrill Lynch option in addition to the Salomon Smith Barney one?

What kind of costs would the employer have to pay to add an option outside the 3 main PayChex fund families?

I have heard that there is only 1 "window" of time a year that changes to our 401k plans can be made (like % contribution choices). Is that true, or am I just being told that so they don't have to screw around with it any time someone complains?

What would seem easiest (and maybe cheapest for the company?) would be to just switch from the Salomon Smith Barney option to the Merrill Lynch... BUT, I'm guessing if I just ask for that, I'll instantly become the least popular guy in the office, because everyone there will have to go through all the paperwork and choices of funds again (and I know they would not be very willing to do that).

It really sucks that employees have such limited choices for 401k's, especially when it seems that it's a primary retirement resource.
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