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How should an individual evaluate a potential employer’s 401K Plan?

Here's a tool that compares 401(k) plans by company

6. What about FEES associated with employer’s 401K plan? Usually, the employer will cover fees associated with administering its 401K plan. Each of the funds included in a 401K plan impose fees, (e.g., ‘expense ratio’) which you need to consider before investing in one of them. In my experience Employees were usually charged $50 per year for access to a ‘stock window’. In other words, it cost me $50 annually for the option to invest in S&P Index Fund or individual stocks rather than being limited to funds offered within the employer’s 401K plan. In my case, that $50 was usually well-spent.

That's highly dependent on the plan. In my 401(k) plan, one of my offerings is the Vanguard 500 Index, with a 0.01% expense ratio. If I were to buy it as an Admiral mutual fund (VFIAX), the expense ratio would be 0.04% If I were to buy it as an ETF (VOO) the expense ratio is 0.03% So my 401(k) gives me a better deal than you would get in your brokerage window. The difference in expense ratio isn't huge, but if that's the only thing I wanted to buy in my brokerage window, I certainly wouldn't want to pay $50 a year to pay a higher expense ratio. Not that it really mattered, because I'm not offered a brokerage window - and I haven't seen a lot of plans that do offer one. YMMV

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