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Across My Desk: Alternative Investments

Ever feel left in the dark when it comes to understanding alternative investments?

Well, according to one study, you're not alone.

Plan Sponsor, an online retirement-focused news service, wrote about a recent study from the Spectrem Group that showed most 401(k) participants don't know what the latest investment options are or how they might fit into their overall retirement savings accounts.

Here are some of the findings of that Spectrem study:

  • Seven in 10 participants were unable to identify lifestyle funds.

  • Seventy-seven percent were unfamiliar with lifecycle/target fund data.

  • Sixty-seven percent said that ETFs were still a mystery to them.

  • Forty percent were clueless about real estate funds.

"These individuals continue to put most of their 401(k) money into well-trodden investment classes, most likely because they are not well-enough informed about the new options and how they might benefit their overall portfolios, " said Catherine McBreen, Managing Director of Spectrem Group, in a news release.

The answer to this problem, of course, is more education. If you're in the fog about your retirement investment options, talk with your employer's human resources department and demand your company provide more investment information and education. You can tell them I sent you.

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