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Lots of good changes with 401K plans

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While the investments themselves may continue to be bumpy, the scandalous fees being charged should be improving for many Americans. The old model was typical of the Republican era, in that Wall Street could charge whatever they wanted, without question. Even worse, the fees were so muddled, few could understand them. The model can always use improvement but the new changes that are arriving soon are good news for consumers. Having clearly stated fees is a great place to start.

Companies are shaking up their 401(k) retirement plans, trimming lists of mutual fund offerings and shaving the fees workers pay as they prepare for new federal rules that will put more plan information in front of employees.

"This is dramatic. I have not seen anything like this in 25 years of working with plan sponsors," said David Wray, president of the PSCA, a 401(k) advocacy group made up primarily of employers.

His group recently reported that, in the last year, 63.8 percent of 401(k) plans changed their investment lineup; in contrast, fewer than 20 percent did so in 2009.

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