Workers fed up with excessive 401(k) fees

If you've looked at your 401(k) statement lately, you've probably noticed that a portion of your monthly contributions go to fees. While no one would argue that fund managers need to be paid for their services, many are taking way more than they deserve. If you're sick of these Wall Street folks lining their fat pockets with your hard-earned income, you're not alone. 

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that employees of the hospital system Novant Health are suing the organization for allegedly overcharging their retirement accounts by millions of dollars. The plaintiffs also state in their court filing that the plan administrator, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co. collected excessive fees even as the plan grew and high fees were no longer necessary. 

According to the employees, the hospital chain could have negotiated a better deal or found another fund manager. The company did neither, presumably because it was receiving some sort of kickback from Great-West Life & Annuity. 

In a MarketWatch column, retirement expert Mitchell Tuchman said that the investment industry is closely following the case and will most likely fight any new regulations that come out of it.

"Reliably, the investment industry is dead set against any change that tampers with the high-fee, low-responsibility business model that grew up around those trillions of incoming retiree dollars," Tuchman wrote. "They argue that lower fees and transparency will deprive ordinary savers access to important investment advice."

Want some "important investment advice?" Consider getting out of your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan. With a self-directed individual retirement account (IRA), you can pick the retirement investments that will preserve your wealth and help you maintain your standard of living after you leave the workforce.