Top rated Empower Retirement competitors in 2019. List of brokerage companies alternatives offering low priced investing services.

Empower Retirement's Top Competition



Empower Retirement Investing Overview

If you make retirement contributions to an employer-sponsored 401K plan, you may have heard of Empower Retirement. Empower is a popular 401K plan administrator that claims to be the second largest in the world with more than 39,000 plans and more than 9 million participants. Even if your employer uses a different administrator, you may be interested in reading this overview as Empower also allows you to move your IRA over to their platform.

Who is Empower?

As we mentioned, Empower is one of the largest retirement plan administrators in the world in terms of number of employer-sponsored plans and participants. One of the nice things about Empower is that retirement plans is their entire business, and so they can focus 100% of their resources and efforts on understanding this market and the specific needs of those saving for retirement. Their goal is to make retirement planning easier to understand and more customized to the individual.

Getting Started

Empower offers more than 130 mutual funds for investors to choose from when building their retirement portfolio. Depending on the specific guidelines and agreement Empower made with your employer, the number and selection of funds you can choose from will likely be less. Empower makes it easy to compare historical performance of different funds side by side on a chart, but digging into more of the details, such as expense ratios, distribution yields, and exposures will require you to take a look at the funds’ prospectuses, which they make available through your account.

Empower’s Advisory Services

If you aren’t at all familiar with investing and asset allocation, Empower offers three different tiers of advisory/guidance services that you can subscribe to. The most personal level of service, called Managed Accounts costs 0.65%/year, with a decreasing fee once your balance exceeds $100,000, and involves an Empower agent getting to know your personal financial situation and goals and then building and managing your portfolio for you. At the other end of the spectrum, the Guidance tier is free and consists of a one-time asset allocation recommendation for your portfolio.

Rebalancing and Dollar-Cost Averaging

Two nice features that come free with your Empower account are the ability to setup automatic periodic rebalancing for your account (quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) and a dollar-cost averaging plan. With dollar-cost averaging you can specify the frequency and dollar amount ($100 minimum) of automatic purchases of the funds you’re invested in over a set period of time. This allows you to scale into your positions and minimizes the risk of buying a large position near a market high.

Retirement Tools

Empower’s account platform is fairly basic and so they don’t offer too much in the way of advanced features and investment planning, but they do offer basic retirement calculators that answer questions like “How much should I expect to have in retirement at my current savings rate?”.

Empower Retirement Competitors Summary

In reviewing Empower’s account platform, there wasn’t anything about it that really stood out when compared to its competitors, but neither was there anything that really made it compare unfavorably. Empower offers most of the basic features and investment choices that you would find with any 401K administrator. As employees we generally don’t get to choose which 401K administrator our company partners with, which makes comparing your mutual fund options (especially the fees) all the more important.