What is a 401(k) plan and why should I be in one?
A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings account that allows you to invest a portion of your paycheck for the purpose of accumulating wealth to use when you retire.
The money you "defer" or "contribute" to your account is not subject to federal taxes and the earnings your money makes while in the account is not subject to federal income taxes until you make a withdrawal. By putting money into a 401(k), you pay fewer taxes! And unlike a traditional pension plan, the money you invest and save is YOURS and not cotinngent on retiring with a company.
The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Enroll today to make your retirement dreams a reality!
The process begins by enrolling in your company's retirement plan. Your HR representative will have a few forms for you to fill out some of which are listed below along with their definitions. In many cases you will need to work for a company for a set amount of time before you are eligible to enroll in their retirement plan.
These are the forms where you will need to take action:
- Deferral Election Form
- RETURN THIS FORM TO YOUR EMPLOYER — This form instructs your employer as to the amount of money you would like to defer into the plan. It is important to return it even if you choose not to defer.
- Investment Election Form
- RETURN THIS FORM TO YOUR EMPLOYER — This form notifies your employer to the way you'd like to invest your money into the plan.
- Beneficiary Designation Form
- RETURN THIS FORM TO YOUR EMPLOYER — This form is used to designate the beneficiaries of your account in the unfortunate case of your death.
- Rollover Election Form
- RETURN THIS FORM TO YOUR EMPLOYER IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ROLLOVER AN IRA OR PREVIOUS PLAN ACCOUNTS — This form is used to facilitate the movement of your account balance from a previous 401(k) plan or IRA into your new plan.
The following forms and notices will be provided for your information:
- Plan Outline
- The plan outline gives a general overview of the plan provisions.
- Summary Plan Description
- This is a summary of the plan's provisions.
- Safe Harbor Notice (if applicable)
- Some plans have a special contribution called a "Safe Harbor" contribution. If you are receiving this notice, it means that your employer may make a special contribution to your account. You will receive this notice annually if it applies.
- Automatic Contribution Arrangement (if applicable)
- Some plans say that if you don't choose your 401(k) contribution level, then the plan will choose a default contribution level for you (such as a deferral of 3%). This notice describes that arrangement and tells you how to make an affirmative election.
- Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) Notice
- If you are in a plan that allows you to direct your assets, but you never completed an election form, then your plan contributions are invested in the default fund. Often the fund will be a QDIA and if so, then the plan is required to notify you that you are invested in the QDIA. This notice is required annually if it applies.
- Participant Fee Disclosure
- Legislation has mandated that if you can direct your investments (i.e. pick mutual funds that you want to invest in) for your plan, then you must receive certain information about those investments every year. The fee disclosure includes any expenses that are paid by plan assets that would affect your account. You may receive more than one of these notices as there may be fees that affect your account from multiple parties.
- Investment Comparative Chart (if applicable)
- The comparative chart shows information about all of the investment choices in your plan to allow you to see what choices are right for you. You will receive this information at least once per year.
- Noble-Davis Website Guide (if applicable)
- The website guide will help you to navigate all of the features of the Noble-Davis participant website.