Both the expense ratio of the mutual funds and the administrative fees
charged by your 401k plan administrator are a drain on your investment.
However, the expense ratio is not visible in the transactions reported
by the 401k administrator (or for that matter on the mutual fund's
site either (for non-401k sites)). The share price of a mutual fund
is net of the expense ratio. So, you never see this drain as a visible
expense on your statement
from the mutual fund or 401k administrator. However, you should be concerned with
these fees because many 401k plans offer mutual funds with high expense ratios, and
even with index funds, many 401k plans offer index funds whose expense ratios are
considerably higher than industry leaders such as V.... and S.... (names deleted)
Administrative fees, on the other hand, are amounts explicitly deducted from
your 401k account. If you don't see these explicitly, you
might be in your first year of employment and the (commonly annual)
administrative fee deduction has not occurred as yet.
might have a generous employer who has set up a plan with the proviso that
all the administrative costs will be paid by the employer and the
participants will not be charged any fees
might have a large employer (or very small employer) whose HR department
(or spouse) runs the 401k plan in-house
instead of farming out the job to companies that offer 401k plan administration
might have a 401k plan where a fee is charged at the time of the purchase of shares
in the mutual fund. You contributed $500 this month, say. Did you check if the
purchase price of the shares as shown on the 401k plan statement matches the
purchase price of the shares as listed on the fund's own web site?
might have a 401k plan that is deducting an amount from the dividends and capital
gains being paid out by the mutual fund. Do the numbers reported on your 401k
statement match the numbers reported by the mutual fund itself? For example,
if mutual fund XNIIFV reported a dividend of 10 cents per share (you can get
this information from the mutual fund web site), does this match what the
401k plan statement shows?