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401(k)

401(k) plans are mainly employer sponsored plans; the employer can, as a benefit to the employee, optionally choose to "match" part or all of the employee's contribution by depositing additional amounts in the employee's 401(k) account or simply offer a profit sharing contribution to the plan. In participant-directed plans (the most common option), the employee can select from a number of investment options, usually an assortment of mutual funds that emphasize stocks, bonds, money market investments, or some mix of the above. Many companies' 401(k) plans also offer the option to purchase the company's stock. The employee can generally re-allocate money among these investment choices at any time. In the less common trustee-directed 401(k) plans, the employer appoints trustees who decide how the plan's assets will be invested. The title "401(k)" references 26 U.S.C. § 401(k), a section of the Internal Revenue Code.

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