<p style="margin-bottom: 7.5pt; line-height: normal; background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;">Theonly way you could join your company's 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or 457(b) plan was to put pen to paper and sign yourself up by filling out the appropriate<br>

forms. Now, though, in an effort to help participants increase their retirement

savings, some employers have begun enrolling their employees automatically. With automatic enrollment, you don't fill out a form to opt into your company's
retirement plan; you only fill out a form to opt out of it.

At first glance

Automatic
enrollment sounds like a no-brainer--without doing anything, you're

on your way to saving for retirement. But don't just assume that the investment

decisions your employer has made on your behalf are right for you. Instead,
take

charge of your own retirement savings right now by following these four steps.

Step 1: Get the facts

If
you work for a company that offers

automatic enrollment, your employer will typically enroll you once you meet the

retirement plan's eligibility requirements, and will begin to direct a certain

percentage of your paycheck (your contribution rate) into the investment fund

the company has chosen as its default.

Don't
make the mistake of thinking you

have to stick with the default elections your employer has chosen for you. Once

you've been automatically enrolled, you can increase (or decrease) your

contribution rate, move money from one investment option to another, or even

opt out of the plan altogether. You may even have the right in some cases to

request a refund of amounts automatically withheld from your pay.

Your
employer is required to send you

information about the plan provisions and your investment options, along with

specific instructions on how to opt out if you choose not to participate in the

plan. Read the documents you receive (including your plan statements), and ask

questions about anything you don't understand before making any investment

decisions.

Step 2: Consider your contribution rate

Like
many people, you may be tempted to

stick with the contribution rate your employer has chosen for you. But this

contribution rate (typically 3 percent) may be less than you need to contribute

to target your retirement savings goal. Find out, too, if your company offers

matching funds (employers who offer matching funds to traditionally-enrolled

plan participants must offer the same match to automatically-enrolled

participants). If so, try to contribute at least enough to receive the full

match. (401(k) plans with qualified automatic contribution arrangements (QACAs)

are required to make a contribution on your behalf.)

Step 3: Review your investment options

When
you're automatically enrolled,

your contributions are invested in the plan's default investment option

(typically a fund that includes a balanced mix of investments). But investing

in the default option may not be the best choice for you. Depending on how much

you need to save for retirement, how far away you are from retirement, and your

tolerance for risk, you may want to redirect some of your contributions into

more aggressive options that, although more volatile, offer greater potential

for long-term growth.

Note: Before investing in any mutual fund,
carefully consider its investment objectives, risks, fees, and expenses, which
can be found in the prospectus available from the fund. Read the prospectus
carefully before investing. There is no guarantee that any

investment strategy will be successful; all investing involves risk, including

the possible loss of principal. Investments seeking to achieve higher returns

also involve a higher degree of risk.

Step 4: Check up on your plan at least once a
year

Even
if you've decided to stick with

your company's default options for now, review your investment options at least

once a year, keeping in mind the following questions:

·        
·Are
you saving enough?

·        
·Can
you afford to contribute more?

·        
·Are
the investments you've chosen still appropriate for your age

and risk tolerance?

·        
·Do
you need to redirect all or some of your contributions to

better target your retirement savings goal?

As
you make decisions, think about your

overall retirement plan, including where your retirement money will come (e.g.,

Social Security, 401(k) plan, pension plan), the major expenses you might have

(e.g., housing, medical care), and the lifestyle you hope to lead (e.g.,

traveling frequently, owning a second home).

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