BUSINESS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What To Do When Your 401(k) Stinks

It's hard not to love 401(k) plans. Your contributions grow tax-deferred, which magnifies the compounding effect, and your employer (usually) chips in a chunk of free money. Nothing bad here, right?

But sometimes, your 401(k) isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Despite promising trends in recent years -- retirement plan sponsors creating a more balanced menu of choices, adding lifecycle and index funds, being more attentive to fund performance and fees -- some companies' plans just aren't all that great.

If your employer's plan is stocked with Morningstar one-star specials, full of funds larded up with high management fees (or worse, 12b-1 fees), or just isn't that well-stocked with options at all, call off that job search and take heart. There are ways to make almost any plan work for you -- if you take the right approach.

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