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401(k) Tuneup

To maximize your savings, try these tactics.

Now you can lift the veil on how much you really pay in 401(k) fees. Analytics firm BrightScope has launched a new, free tool, the Personal 401(k) Fee Report. Assuming that your company's 401(k) plan is among the more than 30,000 in the firm's database, you can get a customized estimate of how much your plan is costing you. (And if your plan isn't listed, you can ask BrightScope to add it.)

Enter your annual 401(k) contribution and the funds you own and the tool will calculate how much you are paying in fees and how they stack up against those of a typical plan. It will also project the impact the fees will have on your nest egg at retirement based on your current age -- precisely the type of disclosure that some policymakers in Washington want all 401(k)s to offer.

If your plan is pricey, lobby your employer for a better plan with lower fees. And don't overlook these four additional ways to maximize your savings.

Get the whole match. Thanks to the revival in the economy, 80% of companies that reduced or eliminated their 401(k) match during the recession plan to restore it this year, reports Hewitt Associates, a human-resources consulting firm. If you're not saving enough to capture the match, consider upping your contribution. Otherwise, you'll leave free money on the table.


Make saving automatic. Signing up for an automatic-escalation feature allows you to boost your contributions by 1% or 2% of your salary each year without even thinking about it.

Rebalance. While you're at it, request automatic rebalancing, which is typically done quarterly. That will authorize your plan administrator to sell some of your winners and buy some underperforming funds as a way to cash in your profits and bring your investments back in line with your desired asset allocation.

Stay on target. Finally, try out Fidelity Investments' "My Plan Snapshot” quiz ( to see whether your retirement savings are on target. For guidance on investing your savings, click "create a plan" at the end of the quiz.