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Which retirement advice is right for you?

If you’re thinking about using advice or an advisory service to help you invest in your retirement plan, you have lots to consider.

Where do people find investment advice for employer-sponsored plans? Some people use an independent, unaffiliated advice service. Some companies offer investment advice for plan participants as an employee benefit. Some 401(k) plan advisers – who have helped your employer to establish a retirement plan – also provide participant advice. Or you might have a financial adviser who handles other elements of your personal finances and also provides advice for your employer-sponsored plan investments.

So how do you decide which option fits you best? For the average investor who isn’t a financial industry expert, it’s difficult to know where to begin. We polled our adviser team for the top questions they suggest people ask as they evaluate options.

Advice Provider

(1) Do you feel comfortable talking with this/these adviser(s)?

(2) Does the advice come from a human, a computer or both?

(3) What research goes into the advice and/or recommendations you receive?

(4) What qualifications does the advice provider have? Educational background of adviser(s)? Industry designations, like Certified Financial Planner?

(5) Is there one adviser or a team? Is it easy to reach a human when you have questions about your retirement investments?

(6) Is the advice provider biased? Do they receive compensation from fund companies?


(7) If you’ve been told the advice will be free, is it really free? Are there any surprise fees?


(8) Does the advice provider monitor the economy, the market and your account – updating advice as conditions change?

(9) Does the advice provider have a newsletter, blog and/or other educational articles on a website that you can read to learn more about investing?

(10) Is the advice personalized? Has the advice provider considered both your investing time line and your risk tolerance?

(11) Is the advice provider willing to talk with you about your entire personal financial picture?

There aren’t correct answers to these questions. You might prefer one kind of adviser while someone else might prefer another. If you’d like to talk with someone about the questions and answers, our investment advisers are available at 877.627.8401.

The Smart401k Team

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About Smart401k

Smart401k is a web-based investment advisory service providing unbiased recommendations to help people invest in employer-sponsored retirement plans. Smart401k provides service to nearly 11,000 clients who collectively have more than $2 billion in assets. Plan participants receive personalized, fund-specific investment recommendations and the support of professional investment advisers available to discuss all investment questions. Based in Overland Park, KS, Smart401k is online at