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My First Quarter 401(k) Results Are In

This article was written by in Investing. 13 comments.


Here is a case study in why you shouldn’t fret over the details in an account that’s designed to keep funds invested for the long term. I would probably stay saner if I wait three decades before looking at my 401(k) account again.

I received my retirement account statement in the mail today. This is one of the last of my accounts for which there’s no electronic-only option for statement delivery.

Despite investing about $3,500 throughout the first quarter, the account’s balance is down almost $1,000 since December 31. That’s a loss of $4,400 if realized.

All in all, my performance for the first quarter was a sad -9.2%. That reflects my allocation of 33% large cap stock, 17% mid cap stock, 2% small cap stock (likely the most expensive of the fund offerings), 26% international stock, 10% commercial real estate (REIT fund), and 12% company stock. Company stock performed the worst over the quarter, with a drop of 15.5% (annualized).

I divested significantly out of company stock when it was very close to its high last year, so the decline didn’t hurt me as much as it would have otherwise. I still have probably too much invested in the company, since I also have stock purchase plan from the last two quarters. Of course, my income relies on my company as well.

How was your first quarter performance? Better than mine, I hope. I’d be better off if I file or even shred these statements, never to be seen again.

Published or updated April 9, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar punkcoder

Just checked mine on the Fidelity web site, -7% for the year.

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avatar Curt

I moved to bonds last October for safety … holding at 2%. But the dropping value of the dollar puts me at -2%.

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avatar Frankie

Mine is down 8.9% for the year.
The stock price of my company has been declining the moment I owned the first share, now it’s below the 15% discount price of where I bought. Sigh… My income depends on my company as well.

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avatar PT

I’m all in Schwab Mng Ret. Trust 2040 Cl III.

My cumulative personal rate-of-return during this Q1 period: -3.1%. So, I’m not as bad off.

The good thing is, if you take it month by month, the ror is trending upward. We’re headed for higher ground soon, I think.

And yes, you’re right….it’s best just not to look at it. :)

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avatar mapgirl

What if you were up 37% for the previous 3 years? Would that make you feel any better? *winky*

I’ll live witha Q1 loss since I’m still up over the duration of the investment. At least in one of my 401k rollover accounts…

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avatar M.E.L.

My husband’s TIAA-CREF 401K lost $17,000 this quarter and $6000 was lost the previous quarter. We are scared to death, as he will be 60 in June and I am two years behind him. We need time on our side now and have no time to wait while our savings dwindle away right when we need them. We still have three kids in college so cannot save otherwise. Two will graduate this May, though. It is horrible, and I don’t HAVE thirty years to hide my head in the sand. I need it to get better NOW because kids’ college took all our other savings. I feel like it’s almost October 1929.

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