Self-direction of investments is a common feature of 401(k) plans, but it is not working as well as it could. Employees frequently fail to diversify their investments or rebalance their portfolios over time. One concern is that workers often invest too large a share of their 401(k) savings in their employer’s stock, which can prove especially costly: if the employer falls on hard times, workers stand to lose not only their jobs but also their retirement savings. But even when the plan sponsor does not collapse, poor investment choices impose unnecessary risk on workers, threaten the level and security of retirement income, and reduce the public policy benefits from 401(k) tax preferences.
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