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Our 401K is with New England Funds and many of our funds appear to be index funds with low operating expenses in the area of .60% to 1.2%.

Those are not low operating expenses. There are lots of index funds that have expense ratios less than 0.25%. Vanguard, the all time leader in index funds, has an expense ratio of 0.18% on its flagship fund VFINX.

I have been informed that there is a 4% sales commission that will be paid to our New England sales rep. It was described as a one time back load. I am a new fool, and that sounded like a bad thing to me. I would be grateful ir somebody would tell me if this back load is a normal thing, and whether there are other good plans out there that have lower fees and expenses.

<soapbox>
YUK! Back loads on a 401k? That's highway robbery. Tell your employer that you are outraged and furious. There is no excuse for loads ever, and doubly so in a 401k. Is your company's 401k admistrator a total Bozo, or is he getting some kind of kickback? I can't believe that a 401k admistrator can't find you a no-load fund. Start a job action. Get a pettition going at your workplace.

Do you have any no-load choices in the 401k? If so switch immediately.
</soapbox>

Phew! Sorry about that but loads make my blood boil, and incomptent financial "experts" (your 401k admistrator) are like gasoline on the fire!

Cheers,
GW
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