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Foreword - Pg. xi

xi Foreword Some years ago, I used to give investment seminars for readers of Worth magazine, where I was a senior editor. I'd always conclude by telling people not to overlook probably the best investment vehicle most of them would ever see: their 401(k) plan. Contributions are tax-deductible, their in- vestments compound tax-deferred, and in most cases, they can buy equities, historically the best- performing long-term investment. And best of all, most 401(k) plans offer matching contributions, which means your employer will match a percentage of what you contribute with its own money. Folks, that's free money. It doesn't get any better than that. I'm still very high on 401(k)s. But the changing environment over the past few years presents today's investors with a double-edged sword: a myriad of investment choices. Growth funds, value funds, small-cap funds, blue chip funds, high-yield bond funds ... the list of 401(k) investment options goes on and on and on. What's more, many plans offer mutual funds from brand-name fund families, from Alliance Capital to Vanguard, and all the Fidelities, Scudders, and T. Rowe Prices in between. And what about the company stock, guaranteed investment contracts, or variable annuities that many plans offer? On one hand, of course, more investment choices provide a great benefit to investors. They can tailor their portfolios to meet their specific needs for growth, risk, and time horizons within the tax- advantaged 401(k) package. And there's usually lots of room for investing preferences. But those increased choices also mean increased complexity in understanding the various invest- ment options; choosing the right mutual funds, stocks, or annuities; and creating the right investment portfolio. Most of us would rather concentrate on what we do for a living, spend time with our family, and enjoy our leisure time than learn about retirement investing. But at the same time most of us realize that to reach our goals, we need to know something about 401(k)s. How's an average employee who doesn't have the time or energy to become a market guru supposed to sort through all decisions that go into building a retirement portfolio? Enter The Complete Idiot's Guide to 401(k) Plans , Second Edition. Here Wayne Bogosian and Dee Lee tell you what you need to know--and what you need to do--to get the most out of your retirement dollars. Not only do they deliver the basics about what a 401(k) really is, but they also offer answers to questions, such as how divorce affects a 401(k), how to arrange retirement plan rollovers, how to borrow out of your 401(k), and address the most common mistakes retirement investors make. It's an impressive collection of information and advice written in an easily understood style--even people who don't want to spend a lot of time learning arcane and esoteric financial concepts will quickly catch on and be pleasantly surprised. Answering your questions is what The Complete Idiot's Guide to 401(k) Plans , Second Edition, is all about. It doesn't give you a lot of information you don't want or don't need to know, but it does give you everything you need to make intelligent choices about your 401(k). Every plan should come with a copy. Robert Clark, editor-in-chief, Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine