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Ret plans - design

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Justices Seem Hesitant About Extending ERISA to Church-Affiliated Pension Plans
"By the end of the argument, several of the justices seemed to coalesce around a likely outcome, reflecting an unwillingness to extend ERISA to cover plans that have been treated as exempt by the [IRS] and other federal agencies for 30 years. As a textual matter, each party's position has an obvious weakness, and the justices explored those weaknesses when questioning the advocates." [Advocate Health v. Stapleton, Nos. 16-74, 16-86, 16-258 (consolidated cases argued Mar. 27, 2017)] (SCOTUSblog)
Traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA: No, the Roth Isn't No-Brainer
"A recent NerdWallet study concluded that most people are likely to come away with more money after taxes in retirement if they contribute the maximum $5,500 a year to a Roth IRA rather than putting that same amount into a traditional IRA. But before you start rushing to a Roth, you need to understand why even though Roths do come out ahead in many cases, they can also fall behind in many others." (Money)
Transcript of Supreme Court Oral Argument in Consolidated 'Church Plan' Appeals (PDF)
74 pages. From opening statement by counsel for petitioners: "Pension plans for religious non-profits have been exempt from ERISA for over 30 years, whether or not a church established the plan. And the contrary holding of the three courts below should be reversed for three reasons. First, the text does not require a church to establish benefit plans for someone else's employees. Second, the government's consistent view, over three decades, has generated enormous reliance interest and warrants deference. And third, affirmance would resurrect the precise problems that everyone understood the 1980 amendment would fix." [Advocate Health v. Stapleton, Nos. 16-74, 16-86, 16-258 (consolidated cases argued Mar. 27, 2017)] (Supreme Court of the United States)
The Top Three Retirement Plans for Small Businesses
"The 401(k) Plan offers the most flexibility (and high contribution limits) ... SEP IRAs are pretty easy to start and 100% funded by the employer.... The SIMPLE IRA is a solid, affordable option." (Butterfield Schechter LLP)
Hey Millennials, How Much of Your Pay Should You Be Saving?
"So, you are a Millennial who is employed but hasn't started to save yet. The 'experts' tell you that you need to start saving like yesterday and you need to save as much as possible. This post will walk you through how to use our Actuarial Budget Calculator for pre-retirees so that you (or your financial advisor) can develop a spending/savings budget that will help you accomplish your financial goals." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
American Health Care Act Fails; What's Next for Employers?
"In the near-term, there will be intense focus on HHS Secretary Price to provide regulatory relief to the maximum extent permitted under the ACA.... One major concern from an employer-side perspective is whether that regulatory effort will be sufficiently focused on issues facing employer-sponsored group health plans.... In the long-term, there are far more comprehensive repeal/replace alternatives that may form the basis of the next attempt at GOP health care reform down the road." (ABD Insurance & Financial Services)
What Role Should Your House Have in Retirement Planning?
"Including housing wealth -- and sometimes the debt that accompanies it -- during retirement planning can show clients a more realistic view of their retirement possibilities. At the very least, it can help them envision what their housing situation might look like and changes they need to make." (Journal of Accountancy)
Five Reasons Millennials Aren't Saving for Retirement
"They take jobs without retirement benefits.... They aren't eligible for the 401(k) plan.... They fail to sign up.... Parenthood and homeownership responsibilities ... Low salaries." (U.S. News & World Report)
How Skillful RMD Planning Can Sustain Retirement Portfolios
"[T]he mathematics of the RMD virtually guarantee that a portfolio cannot be liquidated within 45 years. The required minimum withdrawal may be inadequate to meet the needs of the retiree in the later years, but that is a different matter. On the other hand, the stipulated RMD may be more than the retiree needs to spend that year, so the excess above their needs can be reinvested into a taxable investment account -- or simply stuffed in a mattress!" (Financial Planning)
Three Things to Know About DC Plan Participants Under 30
"A majority identify as 'do it for me' investors.... In general, they expect their employers to take responsibility for helping them save and invest for retirement.... They are among the strongest proponents of the 'automatic 401(k).' " (J.P. Morgan Asset Management)
A New Measure of Financial Literacy: The Personal Finance Index (PDF)
26 pages. "U.S. adults are split 50/50 between those who could and those who could not answer over one-half of the P-Fin Index questions correctly.... Personal finance knowledge is lowest in the area of comprehending risk; on average, 39% of these questions were answered correctly.... While 10% of young adults (under age [45] have a relatively high level of financial literacy, 30% have a relatively low level." (TIAA Institute and Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC))
The Top Four Lies Told by 401(k) Providers
"[1] Your 401(k) plan is free ... [2] I can setup your 401(k) plan in 15 minutes ... [3] Index funds deliver only average returns ... [4] I will eliminate your fiduciary liability." (Employee Fiduciary)
Implementing Global Benefits Governance (PDF)
"Corporate governance of employee benefits is an increasingly important consideration for companies because the financial costs and risks of benefits have grown significantly and companies need to ensure sufficient value in sponsoring benefits programs. Auditors are also increasingly interested in corporate governance, and that includes benefits governance. Centralization of benefits governance has followed from all of this." (Groom Law Group)
Strategies to Make the Most of Your Retirement Assets
"In the future, if the government has to increase taxes one of the first doors they may knock will be these type of accounts.... One strategy to review if standard deductions go up is the benefit of converting a portion of your qualified retirement asset to a Roth IRA.... Another option to avoid paying higher taxes in the future is to position a portion of your qualified money into a QLAC.... If tax rates go down and standard deductions increase; delaying your Social Security benefit could prove to be a solid long-term tax play." (Slott Report)
Bank of America Prevails in 401(k) Asset Transfer Case
"Bank of America Corp. prevailed against employees who challenged a $3 billion transfer from the company's 401(k) plan to its cash balance defined benefit plan ... The employees failed to establish that BofA retained any profit as a result of the transfer, Judge Graham C. Mullen [held]." [Pender v. Bank of America Corp., No. 5-238 (W.D.N.C. Mar. 17, 2017)] (Bloomberg BNA)
Tax Reform Could Be 'Way Worse' for Retirement Industry Than DOL Fiduciary Rule
"Some of the items that could be on the table are a freezing or reduction of 401(k) contribution limits, a sort of double taxation on the retirement savings of individuals in higher tax brackets, and elimination of 403(b) and 457 plans, [said Brian Graff, Executive Director of the National Association of Plan Advisors] ... Mr. Graff also said the fiduciary rule ... poses a large risk in its current iteration to brokerage and advisory firms because of its provision allowing a private right of action for investors. This exposure to class-action litigation ... [is] 'a game-changer from a business standpoint.' " (InvestmentNews)
The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey: Many Workers Lack Retirement Confidence and Feel Stressed About Retirement Preparations (PDF)
32 pages. "Six out of 10 American workers feel very or somewhat confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, though just 18 percent feel very confident ... 3 in 10 workers report that preparing for retirement causes them to feel mentally or emotionally stressed.... Among all workers, about half say that retirement planning (53 percent), financial planning (49 percent), or health care planning (47 percent) programs would be helpful in increasing their productivity at work.... Seventy-nine percent of retirees report feeling either very or somewhat confident about having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years, including one-third of retirees who feel very confident (32 percent)." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])
DC Plan Executives Should Offer 'Enhanced Active Choice' to Build Trust
"Plan sponsors must increase trust among participants to improve participation and increase contribution rates because traditional strategies ... have limitations ... Using principles of behavioral psychology ... enhanced active choice seeks to create in participants a desire to avert a feeling of regret, which leads to a wish to exert greater control over their actions. In turn, this attitude leads to greater trust." (Pensions & Investments)
Western States Office & Professional Employees Pension Fund Seeks Cuts
"The fund's board has proposed a 29% decrease for all participants and beneficiaries, but no reduction below 110% of the PBGC guaranteed benefit for each affected participant. Under the plan, disability pensions are not reduced, and participants who are age 80 or older on Dec. 31, 2017, have no reduction.... The Western States Office & Professional Employees Pension Fund was first certified to be in critical status with the Treasury Department in 2009, and is projected to become insolvent in 2035 if no changes are made." (Chief Investment Officer [CIO])
Why You Shouldn't Stick With Your 401(k) Plan's Default Settings
"Sticking with a low default savings rate might cause you to miss out on part of the 401(k) match your employer offers.... [T]he more money you save up to the annual contribution limit, the bigger the dollar value of your tax break.... [C]heck out whether the target-date fund's underlying investments, the rate at which the fund grows more conservative and the fees charged suit your risk tolerance and investment needs." (U.S. News & World Report)
[Opinion] ERISA: DOL Can't Have It Both Ways
"On the one hand, on April 6 last year, [the DOL] adopted the fiduciary rule subjecting any investment recommendations ... pertaining to retirement-related accounts to fiduciary standards like those of [ERISA]. On the other hand, the department provided a safe harbor from coverage under ERISA to state- and city-sponsored automated payroll-deduction individual retirement accounts for private-sector employees ... which would reduce protections for participants in these plans.... The Labor Department's inconsistent approach is unacceptable." (Pensions & Investments)
Smallest Companies Have Highest-Performing 401(k) Plans
"Certified Public Accountants, as an industry, had the highest median plan score, while the Legal and Insurance industries had the second- and third-highest scores, respectively. The Educational Services industry was ranked last, followed by Accommodation and Food Services.... None of the 26 examined industries has a median participation rate of less than 86 percent.... 401(k) plans in the Financial Advice/Investment Activities industry have the second-lowest median rate of return." (Judy Diamond Associates)
Annuity Options in Public Pension Plans: The Curious Case of Social Security Leveling
"Social Security Leveling is an annuity option that allows participants to receive a level income before and after age 62. The retiree receives a larger pension benefit prior to age 62, but then the pension benefit is lowered at age 62 when the individual is expected to claim Social Security benefits. This option is not uncommon in public pension plans ... . [O]ne-third of all [North Carolina public sector] retirees selecting a single life annuity between 2009 and 2014 opted for Social Security Leveling.... [The authors] see higher rates of ex post 'regret' in the annuity choice among those choosing the level income option." (National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER])
State Retirement Savings Initiatives Can Enhance Retirement Security for Private Sector Workers and Offset the Cost of Medicaid (PDF)
"The result of the analysis showed a positive correlation between increased retirement savings, sufficient to remove a percentage of currently vulnerable households from the poverty rolls by the time they retire, and a reduction in Medicaid spending. [A table] shows estimated savings in Medicaid payments by states and the District of Columbia for the first 10 years after a retirement savings program is introduced. Over that period, 15 states would save more than $100 million each, with total projected savings if available in all states approaching $5 billion in the first 10 years." (Segal Consulting)
Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
"If the IRS just issued a determination letter to our client on a Cycle E submission ruling, stating that an affiliated service group does not exist, can we 'hang our hat on that' forever, provided the facts and circumstances never change?" (S. Derrin Watson, Esq. on BenefitsLink)
2017 AARP Retirement Security National Survey of Employed Adults Ages 18-64
"8 in 10 (80%) support state level public private partnerships designed to help employees save their money for retirement ... Among those who currently do not have access to a workplace savings plan, Eighty-six percent (86%) say it is likely they would participate if their employer offered such a plan.... Seventy-one percent (71%) are somewhat, not too, or not at all confident they will have the means to be able to retire someday." (AARP)
[Opinion] Will Collapsing U.S. Pensions Fuel Next Crisis?
"The major hurdle in adopting an enhanced Social Security where assets are managed at arms length from the government is the lack of proper pension governance.... This is the dire predicament of the US pension industry where one measure after another keeps placing a Band-Aid over a metastasized tumor, extending and hoping the problem will go away." (Pension Pulse)
[Guidance Overview] The 2017 Operational Compliance List
"For 2017, the Operational Compliance List includes ... [1] QNECs and QMACs in defined contribution plans ... [2] Extension of temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed defined benefit pension plans ... [3] Partial annuity distribution options for defined benefit pension plans ... [4] Cash balance/hybrid plans final regulations." (Findley Davies | BPS&M)
Retirement Plan Best Practices: Plan Design (PDF)
13 pages. "How you structure your plan can have tremendous impacts on participant outcomes. We'll examine the factors that you should consider as a fiduciary when making decisions about plan design, look at how other plans handle different options, and identify some best practices. The goal of this paper is to help you make the decisions that will lead your participants to retirement readiness." (Arnerich Massena)
Lack of Understanding Linked to Low IRA Ownership
"28 percent of Americans who don't own an individual retirement account (IRA) say they don't know enough about them to invest in one. Another 17 percent indicate that IRAs are too complicated ... People who do have IRAs listed three factors as the biggest help getting started: [1] personal support from a financial advisor (40 percent), [2] general educational information about IRAs (25 percent), and [3] a clear and simple process to open an IRA (10 percent)." (TIAA)
How Has the Shift to 401(k) Plans Affected Retirement Income?
"This analysis addresses how the transition from defined benefit to defined contribution plans affected retirement wealth and income during 1992-2010. The results show: [1] total retirement wealth from employer plans was roughly flat, and this wealth is now more skewed toward those with more education; [2] the income produced by each dollar of retirement wealth has declined, despite a tendency for workers to retire later; and [3] the amount of income relative to a worker's earnings has declined. The bottom line is that employer plans are providing less retirement income today than in the past." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
PBGC 2015 Data Book (PDF)
27 pages. This edition of the PBGC Data Book, updated for the PBGC's 2015 fiscal year, contains financial information about the PBGC and the single-employer and multiemployer pension plans for which it provides benefit guarantees, with charts comparing the data to prior years. PBGC is now releasing data in groups, as they become available. The first release includes data in the Summary Tables, Claims Tables and Multiemployer Graphical Supplement. A Multiemployer Supplement includes time series data on participants in plans by zone status (as defined by PPA '06) through 2014. (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
ESOPs: A Powerful Tool for Closely Held Banks
"For shareholders in a closely held bank, an ESOP can be used as a succession planning or liquidity vehicle. For the bank's employees, it can provide enhanced benefits useful in attracting, motivating and retaining employees. For the sponsoring bank or bank holding company, an ESOP can facilitate tax-efficient capital enhancement.... An ESOP is not an isolated, stand-alone vehicle. To be successful, it must be integrated into the bank's overall strategic plan." (Holland & Knight)
Survey Reveals Demand for Unbiased Human Investment Advice and Digital Tools as Americans Work to Get on Track
"[L]ess than two thirds (62 percent) of Americans feel confident they're saving enough to retire comfortably -- down from 64 percent a year ago and 72 percent in 2015 ... 39 percent of non-retired Americans believe they should contribute 15 percent or more of their income to retirement, yet only 13 percent are doing so (down two points from 2016) ... Among Americans who are investing, 83 percent see value in information aggregators, as well as retirement calculators (73 percent), technology to connect with advisors (71 percent), digital-human 'hybrid' solutions (69 percent) and robo-advisors (56 percent)." (Capital One)
Why Your Small Business Should Consider Implementing a Retirement Plan
"According to the Freelancers Union, a non-profit organization providing advocacy and health insurance to its members, there are an estimated 54 million independent workers. While millennials get credited for being the driving force of entrepreneurship, about half of new businesses are started by Baby Boomers. Regardless of their generation, 60 percent of independent contractors and small business owners report not saving enough for their retirement." (Butterfield Schechter LLP)
Comments Flood DOL on Fiduciary Rule Delay
"As of the close of business [on March 8], the DOL posted 285 comments on a request to delay the rule's April 10 applicability date by 60 days.... Comments are split fairly evenly between both sides of the fiduciary fence. Financial services firms, trade organizations and individual letter writers repeat many of the arguments made by both sides. Comments are being accepted [by the DOL] until March 17." [Editor's note: the count stands at 345 as of noon on March 10.] (
No Political Divide on Retirement Security
"76% of Americans are concerned about their ability to achieve a secure retirement ... More than three-fourths of Americans (77%) say the disappearance of pensions has made it harder to achieve the American Dream, and 71% of respondents say pensions do more to help workers achieve a secure retirement as compared to 401(k) plans. Nearly two-thirds (65%) say pensions are safer than 401(k) plans." (PLANSPONSOR)
Attract and Retain: How to Become an Employer of Choice with Benefits
"[B]enefits that address an employee's lifestyle are what give an employer the edge. These lifestyle benefits range from flexible work arrangements, telemedicine, parental leave and adoption benefits, or even some that are less commonly known, such as 'paw-ternity leave' for employees that need time to bond with their new fur babies. To be considered an employer of choice, getting the basics right is a must, and connecting your employees to benefits that address their work/life balance is a necessity." (Benefitfocus)
Removing the Legal Impediments to Offering Lifetime Annuities in Individual Account Plans (PDF)
112 pages. "This Article considers how changes in the laws and regulations governing pensions and annuities could help promote secure, lifetime income streams [from 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, called 'individual account plans' in ERISA]. More specifically, this Article explores how the laws governing annuities could be changed to make voluntary annuitization more attractive and how pension laws could be changed to incentivize plan sponsors to offer more lifetime income options and to encourage plan participants to select those options." (Prof. Jonathan Barry Forman, Univ. of Oklahoma College of Law, Via Connecticut Insurance Law Journal)
[Opinion] Why Planning Fees Should Be Payable from Retirement Accounts
"[If] the aim of tax policy is to facilitate better outcomes for consumers, it's worth acknowledging that the current framework unintentionally exhibits poor behavioral characteristics by limiting the ability of consumers to pay for long-term financial planning advice from accounts that are ear-marked for long-term goals (or forcing those financial planning fees to be bundled with [assets-under-management (AUM)] fees or product commissions that may not be practical or feasible in all situations)!" (Nerd's Eye View)
The State of State Teachers' Pension Plans
"Teachers' pension plans have always rewarded long-serving veterans at the expense of short-termers. But now, as more and more plans develop shortfalls, states have been imposing cost-cutting measures, and recent research shows that the newest hires are bearing the brunt of the changes, raising questions of fairness." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
[Opinion] Attention, South Carolina: Closing a Pension is Never a Good Idea
"South Carolina lawmakers unanimously voted to increase contributions to state pension plans -- a system that supports 1 out of every 9 South Carolinians ... However, ... a last-minute amendment added a stipulation that the plans be closed to new employees once full funding has been achieved.... South Carolina legislators need look no further than the states and cities that have closed their pension systems to learn of the costly ramifications that follow." (National Public Pension Coalition)
Using Income Data from IRS to Examine the Transition to Retirement
"[M]ost individuals do not experience a reduction in inflation-adjusted spendable income after claiming Social Security... Examining the five-year period from one year before individuals first receive Social Security retirement benefits to three years after, 81 percent of individuals had income, either directly or through a spouse, from employer retirement plans, annuities, or IRAs; and another 8 percent had a Form 1099-R (indicating a retirement account transaction, such as a rollover, that did not generate income), a Form 5498 (indicating IRA ownership), or both." (Peter J. Brady, Steven Bass, Jessica Holland, and Kevin Pierce, Via SSRN)
[Opinion] Congress Should Block States from Taking Over the Private-Worker Pension Business
"Advocates argue that the proposed new retirement systems will be less risky than current government-employee pensions, which are largely defined-benefit plans that guarantee workers a certain annual income upon retirement. But many of the most indebted state-worker pensions were also originally designed to be 'safe.' ... Over time, however, politicians changed the plan designs so that they could promise employees bigger retirement checks -- eroding the protections originally built into them. There's nothing preventing the same thing from happening with the new state-run retirement systems." (City Journal)
Most Employers Interested in Pension Risk Transfer
"8 in 10 employers with a traditional defined benefit pension plan are interested in pension risk transfer (PRT). Since 2014, there has been a significant shift in plan sponsors interest in PRT. Today, 4 in 10 plan sponsors are very interested in PRT, a 10 percentage-point increase from the results of a 2014 Institute study of DB plan sponsors." (LIMRA)
A Primer for Plan Sponsors: 457(b) and 457(f) Plans
"[1] What is a 457(b) plan? ... [2] What are the contribution limits for 457(b) plans? ... [3] What are the distribution rules for 457(b) plans? ... [4] What is a 457(f) plan? ... [5] What are the contribution limits for 457(f) plans? ... [6] What are the distribution rules for 457(f) plans? ... [7] Which employers can offer non-governmental 457(b) and 457(f) plans? ... [8] Why would an employer use a 457(b) or 457(f) plan?" (Strategic Benefit Services)
The Consequences of Overestimating Retirement Expenses
"The actuarial approach anticipates that many things will change each year, and the client and financial advisor will meet periodically (I recommend annually) to revisit and recalculate the plan to reflect those changes. Some financial advisors, however, doubt their clients will like the potential budget variability under the actuarial approach. But this variability can be managed using rainy day funds, transference of funds between spending buckets or by smoothing the actuarially calculated budget." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired, in Advisor Perspectives)
[Opinion] 40th Anniversary of ERISA: What Is the Context? (PDF)
"Many individuals, employers, businesses and institutions have forcefully challenged any number of changes in ERISA throughout its history.... Some assert government should not place additional restrictions on employers' plans.... But, if the employer wants any of the truly one-of-a-kind tax benefits for itself and its employees, then there are rules that are intended to advance policies that are laudable." (The ERISA Law Group)
[Guidance Overview] Using the New IRS Remedial Amendment Period Rules (PDF)
28 pages. "To properly consider the consequences of this effective elimination of the type of determination letter program ... it is important to understand when qualified retirement plans may be amended retroactively.... [If] an employer or other plan sponsor has unlimited ability to retroactively amend a plan, it becomes relatively unimportant whether the IRS will issue a determination letter saying the form of the plan appears consistent with the Tax Code requirements for qualified retirement plans." (Utz & Lattan, LLC)
How Much Do You Know When It Comes to Preparing for Retirement?
"Even if there is some debate among professionals around how much the average person needs to save, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents underestimated how much is needed.... [N]early half (47 percent) underestimated how big an impact relatively small savings can have over time.... Thirty-eight percent of Americans estimated they would only need to make their hard-earned savings last for about 12-17 years, which could leave some at risk of running out of money in retirement.... While 17 percent of respondents answered [correctly that housing would be the largest expense in retirement] (and 13 percent of those aged 55-65), a larger number of respondents (69 percent) thought health care would be the largest expense." (Fidelity)
[Guidance Overview] The DOL's Revised Regs Applicable to Disability Benefit Claims
"The easiest requirement to meet will be the inclusion of a statement as to when the limitations period will expire ... Writing decisions in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner also should not present too much difficulty.... Insurers and benefit plans will also need to instruct their claims personnel and any consultants they retain on how to address conflicting opinions and Social Security findings. It will no longer suffice to simply note disagreement or assert that Social Security utilizes different standards." (DeBofsky, Sherman & Casciari, PC)
California State Payroll Retirement Savings Plan Would Survive Withdrawal of DOL Regs
"A Secure Choice attorney ... told the board last week that the [DOL] regulation specifically says employees with no workplace retirement plan can be automatically enrolled in a state-mandated program that allows employees to opt out. But the regulation also says it's only the view of the Labor Department, not the only way to create an exemption, and the final determination of whether a program is exempt from federal pension law will be made by the courts.... [If] the regulation is repealed Secure Choice could return to the original plan to use the exemption provisions in the 1974 federal pension law, with some Labor guidance issued later." (Calpensions)
[Opinion] Year-End 401(k) Matching: A Good Thing?
"One of the benefits of regular contributions to a 401(k) plan is the ability to dollar cost average. The participants lose this benefit for the employer match.... Employees who are looking to change employers will be impacted as will employees who are being laid off by the company. If the annual match is perceived as less generous it might discourage some lower compensated workers from participating in the plan.... There are, however, some valid reasons why a plan sponsor might want to go the annual matching route[.]" (The Chicago Financial Planner)
Millennial Wealth Accumulation: A Plan Sponsor's Guide (PDF)
"Members of this generation are less likely to have a pension than previous generations ... The Millennials who are investing to save for retirement may structure their portfolio too conservatively to minimize loss, but this also curtails potential gains in the process.... Millennials have two specific things working in their favor with regard to saving in your sponsored retirement plan, a long time horizon and the magic of compound interest." (Ekon Benefits)
[Opinion] State IRA Plans Are Ready, If Congress Doesn't Interfere
"One could plausibly argue that these savings plans should be national in scope, and not relegated to the states. If that is the reasoning, the Senate would be better advised to enact legislation enabling a national automatic IRA program.... If it votes to override the rule using the strategy made possible by the Congressional Review Act, the state plans will be blocked and the Labor Department will be forbidden from considering new versions. Legislators can help Americans save for retirement by simply doing nothing." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
Working Longer May Benefit Your Health
"Researchers have long assumed that only well-educated and healthier people benefit from working after a certain age. Lately, however, scholars and retirees themselves have been exploring an intriguing question with implications for both potential workers and policy makers: Is a job a force for keeping older people mentally and physically healthy?" (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
Secure Choice Retirement Plans: What You Need to Know
"In mid-February, the House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines to repeal the Obama-era rules that said Secure Choice plans did not trigger ERISA regulations.... What would it mean if Congress repeals these rules? Its main effect may be to slow the momentum of states adopting these Secure Choice programs." (National Public Pension Coalition)
[Opinion] States Can Help Private Employees Without Depriving Them of the Protections of ERISA
"States falsely argue that they cannot provide benefit plans without an exemption from ERISA.... Washington and New Jersey have enacted Marketplace Retirement Savings programs. While different in details, the premise is that the state would work with employers to establish a program that connects eligible employers with qualifying plans.... Massachusetts has adopted another approach -- a prototype plan for nonprofit organizations with less than 20 employees. In this approach, participation by the organizations is voluntary." (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Thinking Beyond Retirement: Your Plan as a Destination
"[F]or sponsors looking to help employees save and spend retirement wealth within the plan, here are five plan design options for you to consider: [1] Remove age restrictions.... [2] Consider greater withdrawal flexibility.... [3] Allow for incoming rollovers.... [4] Offer investment options for retirees.... [5] Offer retirement advice and education." (Vanguard)
Retirement Plans Under ERISA: A 40-Plus Year Retrospective (PDF)
"Certainly, ERISA imposed significantly greater requirements on employers that sponsored any qualified retirement plan, particularly defined benefit plans.... In retrospect, we should have recognized that placing all of the risk on only one party is not sustainable.... The advent of requiring assumptions based on current conditions rather than long-term expectations introduced a counter-cyclical element in pension funding.... [C]hanges have been reactive rather than proactive. Congress responds to the current crisis rather than developing a long-term plan of attack." [Includes a descriptive historical list of legislation amending ERISA's qualified plan provisions.] (Bryan, Pendleton, Swats and McAllister, LLC)

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