If proposed legislation is passed it will mean two things: more opportunity and more participants!
The legislation under review is titled, Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act, and it aims to do just that: simplify rules surrounding existing retirement plans and make enhancements toward expanding who qualifies for retirement plans going forward. It aims to accomplish these lofty goals by expanding 401(k) and defined contribution plan eligibility, providing tax incentives to small businesses that start a plan and simplifying disclosures required from participants and government. All of these individual variables may or may not mean much to you, but together, they create two major impacts.
Hooray! After years of waiting, the IRS has issued Rev. Proc. 2013-22. This procedure provides a way for service providers to get pre-approved 403(b) plan documents for their clients’ use. Read more
If you’ve attended a Little League baseball game recently, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of watching a young batter watch a perfectly good strike go by and then take a wild swing at a pitch that hits the dirt before it hits the plate. You may find yourself saying under your breath, “Coulda hit that one, or shoulda let that one go by…..”
Maybe plan participants are watching the same type of opportunities go by with their retirement accounts. Read more
I would be the first to agree the U.S. retirement system is not perfect. More Americans need access to retirement plans and those who have plans, need to save more. There is no question improvements should be made. But that doesn’t mean we need to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Far too often, critics ignore the benefits of the current system. They instead point to losses during the financial crisis when equity values plunged; overlooking the fact that account values for the majority of those who have continued to contribute now exceed the highest balances prior to the market downturn.
Some critics argue the answer is to do away with defined contribution plans and go back to defined benefit pension plans—but that oversimplified and unrealistic answer ignores the fact that global competition puts great pressures on most employers today regardless of size. In this environment, defined benefit pension plans create financial obligations on employers that, for many, are just not sustainable. Read more
I have food allergies. Since I’ve gotten used to not having certain things in my diet, it’s more of an inconvenience than a problem. I can eat out, but I always have to give explicit instructions to the server. I used to work with a guy (who probably reads this blog) who called me “high maintenance.”
I was reminded of this during our recent national distribution conference. At dinner, I had the pleasure of sitting at the table of one of our field offices, with several people I had never met. After I had given instructions to the server, the woman sitting next to me brought up that “high maintenance” term again. Well, maybe I am.
This also calls to mind another area sometimes considered “high maintenance.” It’s a reason we hear occasionally from financial professionals as to why they don’t want to branch into the 403(b) plan space. 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.
I think it’s a safe bet to say we’ve all paid a lot more attention to retirement plan fees in the wake of the new DOL (Department of Labor) disclosure requirements. This is true for 401(k)/403(b) plans and beyond. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we can’t avoid the topic!
It’s likely no one pays more attention than the plan fiduciary. After all—it’s their job to work with the service provider and financial professional to make sure the fees paid by the plan are “reasonable.” But what exactly does “reasonable” mean? Read more