Investors who relied on professional help in the form of target-date funds, managed accounts and advice earned nearly three percentage points more than those that did not, according to an analysis of eight large defined contribution plans between 2006 and 2010 by Aon Hewitt and Financial Engines. The plans covered 400,000 participants with $25 billion in assets.

The study found that in those five years, worked who received some form of professional experienced higher returns averaging 2.92 percentage points, net of fees, than those individuals who managed their 401(k) on their own. According to Aon Hewitt and Financial Engines’ projections, a 45-year-old participant who invests $10,000 and receives professional help will have a portfolio valued at $71,400 at age 65, compared to $42,100 for someone who doesn’t get any help.

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