I recently spent a whole day in Salt Lake City discussing operational nuances and considerations with ERISA 403(b) plans that have more than one service provider. As this is the case with a large number of 403(b) plans, even those with a single current provider due to service provider contracts that require individual releases to transfer. Some always remain with a former provider.
I love the mountains, and the view from the conference room was awesome. I think kids today overuse that word, but to me, the mountains are truly awesome, and I was thrilled to be able to look out the window during our discussion. One item that took my attention away from the picturesque vista was a discussion around beneficiary designations. These could be truly problematic when there are multiple service providers involved. This is true for any plan with multiple providers, and not just ERISA plans. Read more
Stop waiting on interest rates to manage DB risk and volatility!
What if a plan sponsor could take steps to help minimize costs and control volatility in their defined benefit (DB) plan regardless of the interest rate?
A recent paper published by Principal Financial Group® says it can be possible. (PDF: 694 KB)
It’s a common belief that interest rates have nowhere to go but up. And because bond investments typically go down in value when interest rates go up, plan sponsors may be avoiding investments in bonds in favor of other options. As the duration – that is, the length of the maturity of the bond – extends longer, the larger the decline in the bond investment will likely be if interest rates increase. So plan sponsors that invest in bonds have generally been sticking to shorter duration bond investments.
If a plan sponsor feels interest rates will go up, should they avoid bonds – and in particular longer duration investments? According to this article, that is not necessarily the case. Read more
Change is difficult. And I’m not talking about the shirt I changed this morning because my wife said the buttons were holding on for dear life. No, I mean the kind of change that reinvents the very foundation we have grown accustomed to for so many years. The foundation that maybe we helped create and have used to thrive under for the better part of our careers.
We know it’s necessary. It’s the right thing to do.
Many believe we’re nearing a crossroads in the retirement services industry. Participants simply aren’t saving enough. And despite the bells and whistles each service provider is coming up with to support employee education, the reality is that if left to their own device, individuals are not making the necessary decisions to control their own retirement destiny. Read more
The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 in Plymouth, MA. More than two-hundred years later (1863), President Abraham Lincoln created the national holiday that we now celebrate. For most of us, this is a joyous time to get together with family and friends to reflect on our blessings.
But, no one ever asked the turkey how he felt about the festivities. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are eaten in the U.S. at Thanksgiving. The lesson for us: even in a celebration, there may be some that don’t share our enthusiasm.
If you haven’t already heard the news, taxes went up this year! For some, they went up a lot. The tax increases are from a combination of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) and provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which became effective in 2013.
While both of these tax laws have had their share of time in the limelight, I have found that many business owners and key employees are not fully aware of the impact of the changes, let alone taking action on what the changes mean.
The Health-Wealth Connection – Understanding the power of a physically and fiscally fit workforce
I was at an industry meeting recently speaking to a group of employers, retirement plan record keepers, and financial advisors about the state of retirement readiness in America as we move from old America (working for one employer and defined benefit pension plans) to the new America (multiple jobs and defined contribution plans).
The central theme of the talk was that while Americans are not saving enough, viable solutions to get more Americans on track are becoming increasingly clear. We just need to move faster. Read more