Read your 401(k) statements. It’s the key tool in keeping your investments on track.

If you’re like most people, you may glance at your 401(k) statement before tossing it aside. Maybe you don’t even look at those statements. That’s a mistake. Your statements provide a valuable snapshot of your 401(k) account and how it is performing. Reading your statements is the first step in making changes to your investments over time, so you have more money when you retire. Most plan providers allow you to view and manage your 401(k) account online.

The federal government requires your employer to provide you with a 401(k) account statement at least once a quarter.

The statement should include: your starting balance, ending balance, contributions from your salary and from the employer match, and any withdrawals taken.

It should also clearly state all the fees and costs you are paying. If you have an employer match, it may show your vesting.

Your statement should also list the mutual funds you are invested in, the number of shares of each, and the value of each, so that you can track each fund’s performance. New rules require employers to provide annual statements showing investment returns over one, five and ten years and to include a benchmark fund, so you can see how your investments are doing against the competition. *

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