Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

EBSA Press Release: 401(k) Plan Participants Have New Source of Information on Fees [07/01/1998]

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

For more information call: (202) 219-8211

Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman today released A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees, a 19-page, educational booklet to help consumers understand the fees and expenses associated with 401(k)plan accounts.

"Over 25 million workers have invested more than $1 trillion in their 401(k) plans," said Herman. "We want those employees to have the tools that will help them make informed investment decisions."

"This booklet is meant as a primer for employees, to help them ask the right questions about 401(k) fees," Herman added. "It is the kind of consumer information that will help Americans save for a secure retirement."

The booklet answers commonly asked questions regarding plan fees and expenses, highlights the most common fees and encourages participants to:

  • make informed investment decisions
  • consider fees as one of several factors when making a decision
  • compare all services received with the total cost
  • realize that cheaper is not necessarily better

The release of A Look at 401(k) Fees follows the recent bi-partisan National Summit on Retirement Savings Education, held to raise awareness on the need for Americans to save more for a secure retirement. Herman led the Labor Department in co-sponsoring the event.

The educational booklet is the result of the department's decision to assess the industry-and employer-provided information available to employees with self-directed 401(k)s.

In November 1997, the Department's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) held a one-day hearing on 401(k) fee practices, inviting representatives from the pension plan sponsor, participant and 401(k) service provider communities to testify.

In addition, PWBA is making available on its Website the results of recent research on the subject. Study of 401(k) Plan Fees and Expenses examines current practices relating to what fees and expenses are paid by employers sponsoring 401(k) plans and/or employees participating in the plan.

A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees is available from PWBA's Publication Hotline at 1-800-998-7542 and on the agency's Website at

The Study of 401(k) Plans and Expenses is available only on the agency Website. 

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
July 1, 1998
Release Number