One thing is for sure – we are shaped by our experiences. And when I look back over the past 14 years of my career in the retirement industry, I’ve had some amazing experiences working with many of our industry’s most influential advocates, hundreds of plan sponsors and committees, and thousands of plan participants.
I’ve been so blessed, to learn so much from so many, that I feel obligated to pass on what I learned from these experiences and the wisdom that was shared with me. My blog will focus on practice management and development, mostly for retirement plan advisors and financial professionals, but occasionally broad concepts on marketing, sales, and service.
I’ve been working with advisors and financial professionals for nearly my entire career, but here’s what you need to know about me:
We are often asked the following question from investment professionals and recordkeepers – “How do I demonstrate that my compensation is reasonable?” Understanding and demonstrating the “reasonableness” of your compensation has come to the forefront of what plan sponsors now expect in evaluating financial professionals and other plan service providers because of the onset of the Department of Labor’s fee disclosure regulation. And there can be little doubt that the fee disclosure regulation will continue to garner a lot of attention.
What seems to be lost in all of the publicity surrounding these new disclosure requirements is that the mandate that service provider fees be reasonable has been a condition to exemptive relief under DOL’s 408(b)(2) regulation since the enactment of ERISA. In other words, while it may now be the case now that provider compensation needs to be disclosed, it has always been the case that the amount paid needs to be reasonable.
All of this begs the question – how can I prove that the compensation I receive satisfies the “reasonableness” test? 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
With two daughters in college, I’ve come to appreciate that the three “R’s” continue into higher education. The traditional readin’, ‘rightin’, and ‘rithmatic, carry forward, but I’ve realized lately that a fourth “R” applies. Both my girls are in private colleges, and we’re starting to see an evolution with private higher ed in “R”etirement planning.
What is this evolution, and what do financial professionals need to know? 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
Health care during retirement – although it’s expected, we often underestimate the expense. Furthermore, as we age we’ll likely require more health care, the cost of which is continually on the rise. As of 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2010, a person age 65 and over can expect healthcare to be about 13% of their annual spending. Read more