Average 401(k) Fees by Plan Size

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF® | Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on December 13, 2022

The fees for 401(k) plans vary by size, with plans overseeing more assets with more participants generally charging a lower overall percentage. Generally, between 0.05% and 10% of the total amount of assets goes towards fees. A significant proportion will go to the advisor of the plan.

Average Returns on 401(k) Plans

The average 401(k) plan returns between 5% and 8% based on market conditions. However, because the returns on a 401(k) plan are based on the success of the investment portfolio, you can see much higher or lower returns depending on the investments and the overall market.

What Is the Average Employer Match to 401(k) Plan?

The average employer match for a 401(k) plan is 4.7% of the employee's pay, as of 2019. However, there are many different matching systems used; some employers contribute $0.50 for every $1 an employee puts in. Others may use this $0.50 / $1 system only up to 6% of the employees salary.

Average 401(k) Plan Administration Fees

The administration fees charged by a 401(k) plan advisor vary widely. Some charge as little as 0.05% of the total assets, where others may charge 7% or more. Generally, the more assets being overseen and the more participants, the smaller the percentage taken as a fee.

403(b) Plan vs 401(k) FAQs

What is a 401(k) plan?

A 401(k) plan is a retirement plan offered by an employer designed to help employees save for retirement.

What Are Average 401(k) Fees by Plan Size?

Generally, between 0.05% and 10% of the total amount of assets goes towards fees. A significant proportion will go to the advisor of the plan.

What is the difference between a Roth 401(k) and traditional 401(k)?

With a Roth 401(k), taxes are paid as money is put into the retirement account. With a traditional 401(k), taxes are paid as money is taken out.

Are there other retirement savings plans other than a 401(k) plan?

Alternatives to 401(k) plans include traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, pension plans (if your employer offers one), and 403(b) retirement plans for employees of non-profit organizations.

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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