A difference of 1% in fees could reduce an investor’s balance at retirement by as much as 28%, according to the Department of Labor.

That’s the case for a 401(k) participant who has 35 years until retirement and a current account balance of $25,000, the Department of Labor's data indicated . Assuming investment returns average 7% for those 35 years, this employee’s account balance will grow to $227,000 at retirement, without further contributions, if fees and expenses are 0.5% per year, but only to $163,000 if those fees and expenses are 1.5%.

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