Be the 1 in 10 Americans Who Do NOT Make This 401(k) Mistake

In my interview with Tony Robbins, we covered a lot of ground, but none more important than your ability to retire rich. In his latest book, Unshakeable, Tony Robbins threw out some staggering statistics that most of us have (unfortunately) fallen prey to at one point or another. He grabs your attention by saying, “[Most people] have no idea that they are victims of a financial industry that is surreptitiously but systematically overcharging them.” And then he backs up this claim with the following:

  1. The nonprofit organization AARP published a report in which it found that 71% of Americans believe they pay no fees at all to have a 401(k) plan. (Put another way, more than 7 out of 10 people in America today are completely unaware that they are even being charged a fee to participate in their 401(k) plan!)
  2. 92% admit that they have no idea how much they’re actually paying.

Think about this for just a minute. Can you imagine buying ANYTHING else where you have no idea how much you pay for it? Imagine walking into a car dealership, driving off with a new car and have the unknown cost of the car taken from your retirement account without your direct knowledge. Sure, the fees are, in fact, disclosed (or should I say buried) in a multi-page legal document that most people don’t take the time to read.

Honestly, do you know to the dollar how much you pay in annual fees to be part of your company’s 401(k) plan? If you do, then you’re already part of the elite 10% (or 1 in 10) who actually know what they pay. If you don’t know, don’t feel bad. You’re the reason so many financial institutions have profited handsomely even as you’ve struggled with your investments.

In Tony Robbins’ latest book, he drills down on the point that, “Excessive fees can destroy two-thirds of you nest egg.” He quotes Jack Bogle who breaks this down so crisply:

“Let’s assume the stock market gives a 7% return over 50 years,” he began. At that rate, because of the power of compounding, “each dollar goes up to 30 dollars.” But the average fund charges you about 2% per year in costs, which drops your average annual return to 5%. At that rate, “you get 10 dollars. So 10 dollars versus 30 dollars. You put 100% of the capital, you took 100% of the riks and you got 33% of the return!

Don’t Be the 9 in 10 Americans Who Have NO IDEA What Fees They Pay

Tony Robbins devotes 24 of his 200 pages in Unshakeable to getting to the bottom this point, because your 401(k) is the primary vehicle most people use to retire – and most people are getting screwed.

I was so upset when this topic was covered in Tony Robbins’ first book Money: Master the Game, that I went right to the source and interviewed Tom Zgainer, founder and CEO of America’s Best 401(k). If you want to know about The Hidden Fees In Your 401(k) And What To Do About Them, read this Inc article. From there, you will quickly discover how much you’re paying in fees and how to reduce them – dramatically.

In the meantime, I highly recommend that you pick up Tony Robbins next book, Unshakeable so that you can see what else has been preventing you from retiring rich.

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