You recently graduated from college, and your job search led you to S&S Air. Since you fled the company�s business was headed skyward, you accepted the job offer. As you are finishing your employment paperwork, Chris Guthrie, who works in the finance department, stops by to inform you about the company�s 401 (k) Plan.
A 401(K) is a type of retirement plan offered by many companies. A 401(k) is tax deferred, which means that any deposits you make into that plan are deducted from your current income, so no current taxes are paid on the money. For example, assume your salary will be $30,000 per year. If you contribute $1,500 to the 401(k) plan, you will pay taxes on $28,500 in income taxes. No taxes will be due on any capital gains or plan income while you are invested in the plan, but you will pay taxes when you withdraw the money at retirement. You can contribute up to 15 percent of your salary to the plan. As is common, S&S Air also has a five percent match program. This means that the company will match your contribution dollar-for-dollar up to five percent of your salary, but you must contribute to get the match.
The 401(k) plan has several options for investments, most of which are mutual funds. As you know, a mutual fund is a portfolio of assets. When you purchase shares in a mutual fund, you are actually purchasing partial ownership of the fund's assets, similar to purchasing stock in a company. The return of the fund is the weighted average of the return of assets owned by the fund, minus any expenses. The largest expense is typically the management fee, paid to the fund manager. The management fee is compensation for the manager, who makes all of the investment decisions for the fund. S&S Air uses Arias Financial Services as its 4012(k) plan administrator.
Chris Guthrie then explains that the retirement investment options offered by the company are as follows:
1. Company Stock. One option is stock in S&S Air. The company is currently privately held. The price you would pay for the stock is based on an annual appraisal, less a 20 percent discount. When you interviewed with the owners, Mark Sexton and Todd Story, the informed you that the company stock was expected to be publicly sold in three to five years. If you needed to sell the stock before it became publicly traded, the company would buy it back at the then-current appraised value.
2. Arias S&P 500 Index Fund. This mutual fund tracks the S&P 500. Stock in the fund are weighted exactly the same as they are in the S&P 500, minus expenses. With an index fund, the manager is not required to research stock and make investment decisions, so fund expenses are usually low. The Arias S&P 500 Index Fund charges expenses of 0.20 percent of assets per year.
3. Arias Small-Cap Fund. This fund primarily invests in small capitalization stocks. As such, the returns of the fund are more volatile. The fund can also invest 10 percent of its assets in companies based outside the United States. This fund charges 1.70 percent of assets in expenses per year.