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Schwab's Self-Directed 401(k) Accounts Lose 10% In Q4

FYI: (MFO Members how did you do ?)

Plan participants using a self-directed brokerage option in their 401(k)s had a brutal fourth quarter.

Retirement plan participants using self-directed brokerage accounts with Schwab lost on average more than 10 percent of their account balances during the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Charles Schwab’s SDBA Indicators Report. For the year, the average loss was about 6.3 percent.


  • What's the point here?

    Global equities (MSCI ACWI) were down nearly 13% in the fourth quarter and almost 9.5% for the year.
  • So were Schwab's results for "self-directed" significantly different than any other major brokerage? And since we're talking self-directed, what difference does the brokerage make in any case?
  • Got to agree here. Perhaps they could have said simply: 401(k)s became 361(k)s in Q4 and leave it at that?

    An important point that I think was virtually ignored is that 401(k) brokerage accounts are typically options within more traditional 401(k) plans of funds. Thus employees that use these brokerage accounts tend to be more aggressive investors - ones who believe they understand markets and can do better than with the choices already in their plans.

    Such investors would naturally tend to lose more when markets swoon. So what?

  • @msf: "361(k)s". Cute.:)
  • Thanks, but not original. At the time of the GFC (global financial crisis), people were referring to retirement accounts as 201(k)s.

    See, e.g. Scott Burns, They Don't Call Them 201(k)s for Nothing, April 24,2009.
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