Make the most of your company’s retirement plan

Retirement plans can be very similar, but they can also vary widely from one company to another. By asking the right 401k questions, you’ll be much better prepared to take advantage of your company’s retirement benefits to further your financial goals.

Here are some important questions to ask about 401k when starting a new job, so you can learn the ins and outs before you enroll in a retirement plan.

Figuring out the basics

  • What plans are offered, and what are their features?
  • When can you begin contributing?
  • Does the company match your contribution – and how much is the match?
  • Do contributions lower your taxable income – and is there a Roth option?
  • What is the maximum annual contribution?
  • How long does it take to be vested in the plan?

Managing your plan

  • What are your investment options?
  • Can you select your own investments?
  • How often can you change your investments to match your current needs?
  • Is there a catch-up provision for older workers to make larger contributions?
  • How can you obtain a schedule and explanation of the plan management fees?
  • Who are the fund managers, and how have they performed in the past?

Tracking and accessing your funds

  • Are statements, tools and planning resources available online?
  • Can you make emergency withdrawals during a financial hardship?
  • What are the conditions for borrowing from the account, if it’s allowed?
  • At what age do payouts start?
  • When do you have to start taking payouts?
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