The nature of the site makes it easy to ask localized questions. We have decided that questions that are localized in time are harmful, as searchers and visitors to the site might get bad information.

What Should We Do About Temporally Localized Lists?

So, should we close these, or change them?

As an experiment, I took a localized question and added to it. Are 401(k) fees based on contribution amounts or total account balance? What's reasonable?

The poster can get a specific answer, but for the question to be well answered, there should be some discussion of methodology.

How say you?

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I think consensus has been reached, no? –  C. Ross Nov 2 '12 at 17:14
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In my opinion a localized question can be made generic only if the OP agrees, to an extent an assumption can be made and the question edit to make it more generic, but one should't try to salvage a question and totally make it generic so that it remains open, its best to close these and start a new question ...

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I think the question Are 401(k) fees based on contribution amounts or total account balance? What's reasonable? actually is a two-part question, the first of which asks how 401k fees are assessed and the second asks whether the fees charged to the OP's account are reasonable. In my opinion, neither of these two questions is a localized question. Since there were no votes to close from the readership, and the question(s) had received an answer from the person with the highest reputation on money.SE, consideration of the question as a candidate for closing on the grounds that it is too localized is somewhat premature. Note that if this question is to be closed as temporally local, then any question on taxes or IRAs etc should be closed as well since the answer would be in terms of tax law or IRA rules as they are for that year, and thus not of any use to readers a few years down the road.

I also think that the edits have added a whole slew of additional questions most of which are unanswerable. For example, there is no market for 401k plans and no competition. An employee is restricted to contributing to a 401k plan of the employer. If the 401k plan is not to the employee's liking for some reason (high fees, poor investment choices, whatever), the options are to not contribute at all, or to find a job with another employer. 401k plans do not list their fees on public web sites but provide this information on web sites restricted to the participants. Many major firms run several different 401k plans for different employers with different fee structures for each, and so any information on, say Vanguard's, public site, is at best generic information. Thus, the demand in the edited question for links to specific web sites is unlikely to be met. Similarly, I believe that it is a requirement of US tax law that each 401k plan report annually to each participant on the performance of the participant's account as well as the performance of each investment vehicle (mutual fund), and the fees and fee structure. I do not know whether the second and third items have to be reported to the IRS, but there is, to the best of my knowledge, no public disclosure of the second and third items.

In short, I think the original question was fine while the edited version might be worth considering for closure as unanswerable!

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The question of being reasonable was what I was thinking is too localized in time. Now that I read your point about laws changing, I am swayed by your opinion. I asked if there is a market based on the new rules, but it is complex –  MrChrister Oct 29 '12 at 2:01
    
Also, to Dilip and everybody, being a mod is not the same as being an expert, and I very much respect everybody here. Change my edits. Roll me back. Right and right and I am not the type to take criticism badly. –  MrChrister Oct 29 '12 at 2:03
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