Critics contend the 401(k) retirement plan system has become too fee-heavy and may no longer be the ticket for workers not fortunate enough to be offered the best plans or good employer matches.

But Renée Pastor believes it is still the best retirement savings vehicle, given what is available. She acknowledges that hidden fees are an issue, but that investors should weigh that against the net-net result 401(k)s can provide.

Pastor, founder and wealth manager at the Pastor Financial Group in New Orleans, specializes in helping individuals manage their employer-based 401(k) account. She said people need and want help in managing their account, and that is borne out in surveys from companies like Charles Schwab showing participants want personalized advice.

“If you work for XYZ company, you don’t have a choice as an employee as to what 401(k) plan your employer picks, nor do you have a choice of which investment options they give you,” Pastor said. As a result, she added, the burden falls on the employee to select from those investment options. And because many participants do not have the time or savvy to choose investments, they could hurt themselves financially.

Pastor pointed out that surveys have found that many people—particularly women—do not know how much they need for retirement. That highlights why plan participants want advice on how to invest their retirement savings.

Pastor said she has been in the financial advice industry for 30 years and has followed the 401(k) advice movement for 15 years. She said she decided to go independent in order to expand the management side of her 401(k) business because larger brokerage firms limit the ability of their advisors to work in this area.

“It was just maddening to me,” she said.

“We have seen over the years what’s going on and what the developments are,” she noted. “People need and want advice. They don’t like being burdened having to make these decisions.”

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