Bank Watch

Report grades Charlotte on the quality of 401(k) benefits

Charlotte outperforms other N.C. communities in a grading of 401(k)s, a report released Thursday by SmartAsset shows.
Charlotte outperforms other N.C. communities in a grading of 401(k)s, a report released Thursday by SmartAsset shows. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Wondering where to go in North Carolina for the best 401(k) plans? The answer, according to a new report, is Charlotte.

The first-place ranking released by personal finance website SmartAsset is based on three criteria – employer contributions, investment performance and administrative fees. In a national ranking of more than 3,740 other U.S. communities, Charlotte came in at No. 29.

New York-based SmartAsset’s report shows the largest city in North Carolina owed its standing in the state largely to the performance of 401(k) investments. According to an analysis of annual earnings on investments as a percentage of average total assets, Charlotte posted an average return of 13.8 percent.

On other criteria, Charlotte did not perform as well as some other parts of the state.

The city posted an average employer contribution of 40.9 percent, lower than the figure in other communities, such as Pinehurst’s 61.4 percent and Goldsboro’s 54.2 percent. The state’s average was 39.7 percent.

Charlotte also recorded higher annual administrative fees than some other parts of the state.

In a measure of fees as a percentage of average total assets, Charlotte posted an average 0.2 percent. Some other communities in the state recorded an average of 0.1 percent.

Mills River ranked second overall in North Carolina for its 401(k) plans. Rounding out the top five were Pinehurst, Winston-Salem and Kinston.

It’s unclear were North Carolina stacked up compared with other states, because SmartAsset did not compile complete state rankings.

The nation’s top performer for 401(k) plans was Kenilworth, N.J.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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