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6 retirement plan traps

Government-controlled plans - Government-controlled plans are connected to the stock market, leaving you susceptible to a significant market loss that can take a long time to recover from.


Compounded fees - Average fees levied by retirement plans mean that if you grow your money 7% over 35 years, 28% will be devoured by fees. These fees must be payed whether your account does well or if it tanks.


Ever-changing rules - Employers and the government can change the rules of your retirement plan. For example, IBM changed the rules from giving employees their 401(k) match with each paycheck to on the last day of the year. Therefore, hundreds of thousands of employees lose an entire year's growth on the match money.


Who's in charge? - According to a SmartMoney survey, an estimated 90% of the country's 401(k) plans are watched over by people with "no special qualifications and no investing expertise or experience."


The government - The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has been weighing whether it will take a role in helping Americans manage the money they've put into retirement savings.


A tax time bomb - Money you save in a tax-deferred account will be taxed eventually, and you'll often end up paying higher taxes on a larger amount. Also, required minimum distributions after age 70 1/2 can push retirees into a higher Social Security tax rate, eating away at retirement income and raising Medicare premiums.

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