Welcome to my Defined Benefit (DB) Blog!
How do you spell DB? I probably asked myself that same question early on in my career in the retirement services business.
With so much industry attention given to defined contribution plans, the topic of defined benefit often gets thought of like that old, stodgy uncle who smells kind of funny and is generally avoided at family gatherings.
The truth is, there are a lot of exciting things happening in the world of DB. I’ve been in the retirement industry for more than 20 years, providing service to the largest retirement plan clients at the Principal Financial Group®. Currently, I manage our defined benefit operations area, and I’m excited to bring my uniquely DB perspective to this blog.
Since 2003, special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman have examined rumors, myths, urban legends, and misconceptions for the Discovery Channel MythBusters show (one of my favorites is the Jaws special – Season 3 Episode 15). The crew uses scientific approaches to attempt to replicate the myths under review (often times stretching well beyond the initial myth in their efforts).
The myths end up with one of three labels following their testing:
(3) Busted (the most common outcome that often involves things being blown up) Read more
Maybe it’s just me, but people always seems to be clamoring for my opinion. For example, my receipt from the automotive repair place tempts me with a $5 coupon toward my next oil change if I call and complete a survey. Or I get calls on my home phone (so 2008, I know) pelting me with questions about my political views, or even more intrusive, my choice in paper products. It’s enough to drive me off the questionnaire cliff.
So you might think it’s strange that I want to talk to you about surveys, or even encourage you to complete one. But I have a good reason why. When you take the 403(b) plan survey from the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA), you’ll get much more out of it than a discounted oil change. Read more
We recently got a new kitten. Her name is T.C. (The Cat) and she is three months old. I may be biased, but she is pretty cute; she is also all kitten. It is like having a baby all over again (my kids are in high school and college, so it has been more than a couple of years since I have had to deal with this.)
This isn’t our first cat (my wife has continuously had a black cat since she was ten years old.) However, over time we forgot everything that we had to do to train a new pet. Fortunately for us, T.C. is a quick learner. Read more
A new report on 401(k) plan loans and withdrawals has spurred a number of articles in the media and, in some cases, significant misunderstanding. One article in particular in the Washington Post paints a distorted picture alleging that “widespread breaching” of 401(k) accounts is on the rise and is “undermining” retirement security.
Certain things in Iowa are predictable. I was reminded of this recently as the first major winter storm of the season was forecast. It was going to snow, most likely a lot. And, it was going to snow soon and often.
The television weather forecasters were positively giddy. They were like 5 year olds on Christmas morning. They couldn’t stop smiling while they made dire predictions about monumental snow falls and the ensuing delays and cancellations. The interns at the station were forced to stand on the side of the road as cars and trucks whizzed by spraying them with road residue as they reported on the storm’s impact. Programming was interrupted for the slightest weather related tidbit. Read more
Tax the rich! Raise their rates! Limit their deductions! That seems to be the populist mantra. It’s perpetuated in the press, and there’s some indication that the general public seems to support the idea. Now middle class workers with higher than average incomes seem to be caught up in discussions defining those that are “rich.”
As this applies to tax-exempt organizations, we’re talking about hospital administrators, educators, executive directors of local community and other charitable organizations – people who generally earn a better than average income, yet by no stretch of the imagination do their incomes compare to Warren Buffett’s. And when it comes to the impact on their employers’ retirement plans, shouldn’t the tax structure support retirement readiness for those who have dedicated their careers to giving back to their communities? Read more