A 401(k) or any other qualified retirement savings plan is an extremely important part of overall financial planning for the long-term future. Participation in a qualified plan gives one a head-start on long-term financial security.
The qualified plan not only provides a mechanism for saving, it also allows the money in the account to compound tax-deferred (or in the case of a Roth plan, tax-exempt). That means the earlier a person begins to participate in making contributions, the greater chance he or she has in amassing a substantial retirement account that may ultimately provide future financial independence.
A high-quality advisory firm takes an active role in shaping clients' qualified plan portfolios, such as 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, 457s, etc. The advisor looks at a client's overall portfolio in a holistic fashion, addressing all accounts, including individual accounts, trust accounts, retirement accounts, etc. In some cases the retirement account/qualified plan represents the majority of a portfolio.
Only exceptional advisors will also offer assistance to employer sponsors of qualified plans. This is of particular importance right now, as the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service crack down on out-of-compliance sponsors of plans that are not up to snuff.