The estimated 72 million 401(k) participants have something to look forward to at the end of this month: On August 30, the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration participant fee disclosure rule, dubbed ERISA 404(a)(5), will go into effect.

At that point, participants will get a first-hand look at all of the fees charged directly against their investments (such as sales loads), annual operating expenses (with expense ratios), and an explanation of any fees or expenses for legal, accounting and record-keeping services. Also, participants will get breakdowns of any fees and expenses that may be charged to or deducted from their individual accounts based on the actions taken by that participant, such as taking out loans against their holdings.

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