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The Smartest 401(k) Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel Solin

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The Smartest 401(k) Book You'll Ever Read by Daniel SolinThe main point of Daniel Solin’s The Smartest 401(k) Book You’ll Ever Read is that your 401(k), or 403(b) or 457(b), and it’s employer match may not be a no-brainer investment because it could be filled with funds that fat on fees and poor on investment selections. His answer? It’s to model the Thrift Savings Plan, the retirement plan available to government employees that consists entirely of low-cost index funds (the expense ratio is around 0.03%), and use low cost index funds for your retirement options. Look inside your mutual fund options to find the ones that most closely model index funds and go with them.

I think The Smartest 401(k) Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel Solin does a very good job of opening your eyes to the fee-ladened landscape of retirement investing. He takes specific aim at 401(k) because those “captive audience” type programs are more deceitful than you can imagine. Many companies use plan administrators that offer 401(k) plans for free because they know they can make a killing on the back end with expensive fund choices. If they really had the employee’s interests in mind, then they’d simply offer cheap index funds. In fact, some companies actually pay kickbacks to company HR departments to use them. The plan administrators pay companies for the opportunity to offer their fee fattened funds! It’s pretty ridiculous.

Unfortunately, this means that if you mainly invest in low cost index funds, you won’t get much value out of the first few sections of the book (it could spur you to rollover your 401(k) when the time comes!). The book continues to talk about other retirement investments such as IRAs, both Traditional and Roth, and annuities.

One characteristic I like about the book is that the chapters are short. Many are under three or four pages long, which is exactly how long it should take to explain many of the fundamentals about investing. For example, Chapter 14 is called Simple Investing Is Smart Investing is about three pages long and explains why a simple allocation of basic mutual and index funds will be sufficient for most. Chapter 22 is called “Why Fifteen Is Your Magic Number” and uses three pages to explain why you need to save 15% of your income if you want to expect to have a successful retirement. That, coupled with a applicable quote (usually from some important successful investor such as John Bogle), makes this book an easy read. There aren’t large chapters to digest, there aren’t huge concepts to wrap your head around, this book makes everything nice and simple.

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2 Responses to “The Smartest 401(k) Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel Solin”

  1. nickle young says:

    Great! That’s a great tip! I wonder if hospital food is subsidized, contributing to the discount savings. But isn’t hospital food kind of like airplane food – sort of the bear essentials in the food department? I think The Smartest 401(k) Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel Solin does a very good job of opening your eyes to the fee-ladened landscape of retirement investing.

  2. geckoman says:

    Geez, this nonsense has got to stop. You could make index funds free of all costs and they still would of produced lousy returns the past 10 years. Listen, there’s times where indexing is fine and others where it’s horrible. A shotgun approach to investing is the worse mistake one can make now and in the foreseeable future. I know most are not equipped to go investing with a rifle but it’s too bad that the investment industry wants to keep you dumb and ignorant on investing. When are people going to wake up that we are no longer in a decade long bull market and instead in a decade long bear market that started in March 2000 and is not going to end for a while.


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