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Ret plans - design

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[Opinion] Secure Choice 2.0: States Blazing a Path to Retirement Security for All (PDF)
36 pages. "Secure Choice is a direct outgrowth of persistent and converging trends that are reshaping the retirement landscape -- trends that include the diminution of traditional defined-benefit pension plans and the failed promise, for many Americans, of the much-vaunted 401(k) plan. This paper revisits these and other forces that have given rise to a wave of state initiatives to help Americans retire with dignity. It examines what has happened since the earlier white paper was issued, takes stock of developments at the state level, and looks at the challenges ahead." (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems [NCPERS])
The Influence of DC Plan Design on Retirement Outcomes (PDF)
16 pages. "Using actual incomes, savings rates, account balances and asset allocations, DCIIA's project seeks to project how different groups of participants may fare in achieving the means to generate or finance an adequate retirement income.... [1] Automatic plan features work ... [2] The current system can do better, even without additional legislative or regulatory action ... [3] Limiting asset 'leakage' works.... [4] Today's older workers are especially vulnerable." (Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA])
2017 Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey Findings
"A shift is taking place among plan sponsors in their view point on driving participant decisions. Now, more say they focus on proactively placing participants on a solid saving and investing path (vs. having participants make their own choices).... Despite many positive trends identified in this year's survey, one measure remains unchanged from 2015 -- many plan sponsors are not aware of their fiduciary status." (J.P. Morgan Asset Management)
Switching from a SEP to a 401(k)
"While a SEP may be the perfect plan type for some situations, many employers who start with a SEP later realize that a 401(k) plan may actually help the owners better meet their objective of maximizing contributions to themselves at a lower contribution obligation for the employees.... A SEP may be terminated at any time and all funding can stop once the plan is terminated.... No notice has to be provided to the IRS about the SEP termination. Employees may take a distribution from the SEP or may roll their SEP account into the new 401(k) plan or into an IRA." (Retirement Management Services)
Father of the 401(k) Designs Cheaper Retirement Plan
"Employees covered by small-business retirement plans typically pay between 1.5 percent and 2.75 percent annually in fees -- many of which are hidden and hard to understand.... [Ted Benna] has drawn up three new retirement-savings models that he contends offer the same benefits as a traditional 401(k). One is best suited for married employees with less than $100,000 of adjusted gross income and single employees with less than $62,000 of adjusted gross income. Another avoids the payroll taxes applicable to employer contributions. The third model allows employees to sock away pretax contributions of up to $12,500 under age 50 and $15,500 over age 50, compared with only $5,500 and $6,500 for some other models." (The Gazette)
[Discussion]Change Non-SH Allocation Formula?
"401(k) Plan with no safe harbor provisions. Current NEC PS allocation is an integrated allocation. Participants employed at the end of the year have a 0 hours service requirement. Participants that are not employed at the end of the year have a 500 hours of service requirement. As of today no participant has terminated employment in 2017 with greater than 500 hours. Can the plan sponsor do an amendment now to change the allocation formula to individual classes?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)
[Opinion] What's an Appropriate Discount Rate for Personal Financial Planning?
"[W]hile historical asset class returns give us a sense of what we might expect in the future from various asset mixes, there are no guarantees that these historical returns will continue in the future, and higher expected investment returns generally do not come without additional risk.... [C]onsideration of this additional investment risk is an important part of the 'appropriate discount rate' determination that should not be ignored. Mr. Kitces' advice is potentially inconsistent with the basic financial economic principle that the value of a future stream of payments should be determined by finding a portfolio of assets that matches the benefit stream in amount, timing and probability of payment." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Major Behavioral Determinant of 401(k) Saving Success
"54 percent of participants with a written plan increased their 401k contributions in the past year, compared with only 33 percent of those without a written plan. Fully half of those with a written plan have rebalanced their 401k portfolio, while only 24 percent of those without a plan did." (401K Specialist)
Employee Benefits in the United States: March 2017
"Retirement and medical care benefits were available to 70 percent of civilian workers in March 2017 ... Ninety-four percent of union workers had access to employer-sponsored retirement and medical care benefits. For nonunion workers, 66 percent had access to retirement benefits and 67 percent to medical care benefits.... For civilian workers, the shares employers paid of medical care premium costs were 80 percent for single coverage and 68 percent for family coverage.... Employers assumed 87 percent of the premium for single coverage for union workers and 79 percent for nonunion workers." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS])
Phased Retirement Programs, Although Uncommon, Provide Flexibility for Workers and Employers
"In this report, GAO examines [1] recent trends in the labor force participation of older workers, [2] the extent to which employers have adopted phased retirement programs and what type of employers offer them, and [3] what challenges and benefits, if any, exist in designing and operating phased retirement programs." [GAO-17-536, published and released July 20, 2017] (U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO])
Workplace Retirement Savings and State Plan Mandates: Employer and Employee Perspectives (2017)
"In theory, many workers support the notion of government-mandated retirement savings, but their confidence in the ability of governmental entities to administer such programs is lower than in any other listed entity. Many employers say that they would be very likely to discontinue their Defined Contribution plan in favor of a government solution, but just as many say that they would not be very likely to do so.... Workers value many aspects of DC plans that will likely not be part of state-mandated solutions." (LIMRA)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Updates the Pre-Approved Plan Document Program
"The most significant change outlined in [Rev. Proc. 2017-41] is the restructuring of the M&P and VS programs into a single Opinion Letter program with two types of plan documents: Standardized and Nonstandardized. This change eliminates the distinctions between M&P and VS plans and expands the Nonstandardized Plan program to allow for greater flexibility in plan features and options (in effect, Nonstandardized plans will fill the role traditionally filled by VS documents)." (FIS Relius)
Newborns Would Save $2.2 Million for Retirement with This Idea
"Any adult would be permitted to make tax-deductible contributions to any child's account, whether family, friend or stranger. Each minor would be able to receive a maximum $1,000 yearly, but contributors could spread a greater amount across multiple accounts. [The] idea also calls for the Child IRA converting to a traditional one at age 19, subject to current law. This means that additional contributions -- 2017's limit is $5,500 for people under age 50 -- would lead to even higher account balances in retirement." (CNBC)
Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
"Which employers can sponsor a 'church plan,' and which employees can such a plan cover?" (S. Derrin Watson, on BenefitsLink)
Discount Rates for Social Security or Pension Decisions
"[T]he fact that the proper discount rate is the investor's expected rate of return, means that the 'right' discount rate will vary from one person to the next, based on their investment approach and risk tolerance. For those who are more inclined towards aggressive investments, a higher discount rate may be used, while those who are conservative will use a lower discount rate of interest ... [I]nvestors must still be cautious to pick a discount rate that is actually realistic to the portfolio in the first place -- otherwise, an unrealistically high discount rate will lead to decisions that turn out to be less-than-optimal after the fact, when the money-in-hand doesn't actually produce the expected results!" (Nerd's Eye View)
The 401(k) Match Is Back, and It's Getting Bigger
"Company matches in 401(k)s are on track to hit 4.7 percent of employee salaries this year, up from 3.9 percent in 2015 and way up compared to 3 percent in 2009[.]" (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)
[Opinion] American Benefits Council Letter to Senate Finance Committee: Successful Employer-Sponsored Benefits System Depends on Smart, Forward-Thinking Tax Policy
"[T]he tax incentives for health and retirement plans are typically scored as the largest income tax expenditures in the federal budget ... [T]he tax 'expenditure' for employer-provided health plans -- attributable to the exclusion of employer contributions from individuals' income and payroll tax -- is a relative bargain compared to the enormous federal expenditures on the Medicare and Medicaid programs, even though employer plans offer far superior coverage.... Second, the tax 'expenditure' for employer-provided retirement plans is not actually an expenditure at all -- it is a tax deferral." (American Benefits Council)
Oregon State-Run Retirement Plan Requires Employer Action Beginning November 15, 2017
"Following completion of the initial pilot program, OregonSaves is scheduled to roll out in phases, starting with the largest employers. The first mandatory registration deadline is November 15, 2017 and applies to organizations with 100 or more employees in Oregon ... In July, these employers should expect to receive general information about the program from the state. In October, the state plans to send instructions on how to either register with the program or certify exemption. Payroll deductions for these employers will begin in January 2018. (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)
The Small Business Retirement Savings Challenge (PDF)
"91% of small employers without a plan would be at least somewhat more likely to start a plan if the cap on the current tax credit for starting a plan were increased to $5,000 ... and adjusted to cover all initial costs.... 86% of small employers with a plan would be at least somewhat more likely to offer automatic enrollment if they were eligible for a $500 credit for doing so[.]" (LPL Financial)
[Discussion] Unreduced Early Retirement Provision Causes a Prohibited Forfeiture?
"Suppose a plan allows for an unreduced early retirement benefit at age 55. Normal Retirement Date is age 65. The plan was frozen a couple of years ago. A participating employee (whose benefit is not high enough to run into the section 415 limit) has turned 55. The plan does not allow for in-service distributions. If he waits until age 65 to retire, it seems there has been some benefit left on the table -- so has an impermissible forfeiture of benefits occurred? Is the plan required to offered in-service distributions at 55? Does it make a difference if a participant is no longer employed?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)
Shifts in Benefit Allocations Among U.S. Employers
"What changes have employers made to their benefit programs to adjust to these economic realities, and how well do these changes align with employee preferences and needs? This analysis examines trends in employer costs for benefit plans since 2001 by examining a proprietary database of retirement and health care programs at over 500 employers with at least 200 employees. The analysis also addresses employees' concerns, expectations and desires around benefits, and suggests solutions that can help employers deliver benefits more closely aligned to their employees' priorities." (Willis Towers Watson)
21st Century 401(k) Plan Design
"[The plan's] LifeStage funds are for all purposes Enhanced Balanced Portfolios that are similar to Target Risk Funds (TRF) in that they offer a single, balanced solution for one to diversify their retirement account investments and tailor it specifically to their desired risk level.... [T]he participant could make a decision if they understood what their stomach for risk was without worrying about the additional complexities of glide paths or the significant variations that can exist between funds with the same target dates ... [T]he 4 core options bordered on the purposefully ordinary so that anyone from any background could easily understand and feel comfortable knowing what they were choosing." (Fiduciary News)
Benefits of Offering Longevity Annuities in DC Plans
"When participants can select their own optimal annuitization rates, welfare increases by 5% to 20% of average retirement plan accruals as of age 66 compared to not having access to LIAs. If plan sponsors defaulted participants into an LIA using 10% of their retirement age plan assets, this would only slightly reduce the participants well-being in retirement compared to the optimum, the researchers found." (planadviser)
State-Run IRAs May Not Be the Best Solution for Low-Income Earners (PDF)
21 pages. "[The] designers of state-run auto-IRA plans fail to consider three questions: Do the poor need to save more for retirement? Will state-run auto-IRA plans increase net household savings? And, after accounting for interactions with means-tested government transfer programs, will state-run auto-IRA plans make the poor better off? The answer to all three questions may be 'no.' " (American Enterprise Institute)
The Pernicious Impact of Unreported Deaths on Old Age Mortality Estimates
"[E]ven small rates of failure to match respondents can lead to substantial bias in the measurement of mortality rates at older ages. This type of measurement error is consequential for three strands in the demographic literature: [1] the deceleration in mortality rates at old ages, [2] the black-white mortality crossover, and [3] the relatively low rate of old age mortality among Hispanics." (National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER])
[Opinion] Michigan Weakens the Retirement Security of Public School Employees
"How have Michigan state employees fared under the defined contribution-only plan? Very poorly. Earlier this year, the Michigan Office of Retirement Services reported that the median account balance for state employees is only $37,000. For workers who are age 60 or above and have worked for the state for at least 15 years, it is actually worse: only $36,000. This is hardly enough to retire with dignity as it would barely cover a year's worth of expenses in retirement." (National Public Pension Coalition)
[Discussion] 401(k) Plans for Household Employees
"Can a household employer establish a 401(k) plan on behalf of the household employees & be exempt from the 4972 10% excise tax on nondeductible contributions if the plan restricts contributions to only elective deferrals?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)
[Opinion] The 'Pension Crisis' Is a Myth, Part One
"The so-called pension crisis is a myth promoted by people who are either hostile to public employees, have a financial interest in moving from pensions to 401(k)s, or both. All of the evidence indicates that the claims of these doomsayers are untrue and most of their predictions have been proven wrong. The real pension crisis in the United States is the lack of pensions by most working people.... The move away from pensions to 401(k)s has made this worse, not better." (National Public Pension Coalition)
Traditional Pensions Are Here to Stay
"Nearly one-third of private-sector workers participating in retirement plans are in pension plans. Although there's been a shift to 401(k)-type retirement savings plans, pension plans remain popular because of the security they provide to workers and retirees." (Pension Rights Center)
An Alternative to Voluntary Retirement Programs
"If a voluntary severance plan is properly drafted and distributed in accordance with ERISA, an employer should be able not only to exclude from consideration certain groups, positions etc., but also to reserve the absolute right to say 'No' to any particular employee in a non-excluded position who applies for an exit package if the employer's concludes that the employee's departure is not in the employer's best interests." (Duane Morris LLP, via Lexology)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Makes Major Changes to Qualified Pre-Approved Plan Program
"Nonstandardized plans may be customized, within IRS limits, without becoming individually designed plans.... The program now includes nonelecting church plans. A nonstandardized plan may allow hardship distributions of elective deferrals for non-safe harbor reasons. The IRS will no longer review and approve a plan's trust or custodial agreement and will require that the trust agreement or custodial account agreement be in a document separate from the plan." (Ascensus)
How ETFs Might Help Retirees Better Manage Distributions
"Although many legal boundaries stand in the way, instead of receiving a cash lump sum, retirees could instead receive a balanced portfolio of ETFs allocated based on a specific risk profile. With the onset of digital advice from independent platforms as well as from traditional brokerage firms and wealth managers, the barriers to integrating an ETF portfolio into a beneficiary's new or existing account are falling." (Pensions & Investments)
Nine Ways to Retire on Social Security Alone
"Delay Social Security ... Do a Social Security do-over ... Maximize Social Security survivor benefits ... Eliminate debt ... Move to a less expensive locale ... Don't forget taxes ... Buddy up ... Take advantage of benefit programs ... Utilize freebies." (AARP)
Employment-Based Health Insurance Deemed Most Important Benefit
"Nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. workers are either extremely or very satisfied with the benefits package offered by their employer.... Approximately one-half (49 percent) are extremely or very confident that their employer will continue to offer a similar benefits package three years from now.... Eighty-seven percent (87 percent) report that employment-based health insurance is extremely or very important, followed by a retirement savings plan (77 percent) and dental/vision (72 percent)." (DataPath)
The Current State of State Retirement Plan Initiatives
"Three states -- Oregon, California and Illinois -- have made considerable progress in designing mandatory auto-IRA programs. The CRA/voiding of DOL's regulation presents two substantive problems for these states: First, if the auto-IRA program is determined to be an ERISA plan, then it (and the employers covered by it and, even, conceivably the state itself) will be subject to, e.g., ERISA reporting and fiduciary rules. Second, the program may be subject to a preemption challenge ... These states also have a formal problem -- the laws authorizing these programs generally require that the mandatory auto-IRA not be subject to ERISA." (October Three Consulting)
[Discussion] Aggregation Issues for Governmental 403(b) Plan Sponsor with Subsidiary That Sponsors 401(k) Plan
"Employer sponsors a governmental 403(b) plan, and recently bought a company (i.e., it's now in a parent-subsidiary relationship) in the process of establishing a 401(k) safe harbor plan. For testing purposes, will the 403(b) plan become subject to 410(b) and 411 testing? Any other testing issues or coverage issues that need to be addressed?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)
Retirement Calculators: Three Good Options
"Calculators aren't capable of providing a bullet-proof analysis of the complex factors and future unknowns that will determine whether someone has done the planning and saving required to ensure a financially secure retirement. With that caveat, Squared Away found three calculators ... that do a good job. They met our criteria of being reliable, free, and easy to use. Many other calculators were quickly eliminated, because they were indecipherable or created issues on the first try." (Squared Away Blog, by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
A Primer: Why Financial Wellness? (PDF)
12 pages. "Today, financial wellness programs are increasingly viewed as a critical component of a competitive employer benefits offering ... Nonetheless, some employers continue to struggle with the issue of the programs' cost relative to their effectiveness.... [This paper will] suggest a working definition of financial wellness, survey the nascent body of research surrounding these programs, and highlight some demographic groups where financial wellness programs may be most likely to add significant value." (Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA])
Roth 401(k) Contributions May Be Better Than Traditional Pre-Tax 401(k)
"Assume one participant makes 10% traditional pre-tax contributions and another makes 10% Roth 401k contributions for their entire careers. Also, assume that they invest in the same funds and have the same earnings experience. Let's say they both end up with $1 million at retirement. The Roth 401k plan participant truly has $1 million, however, the traditional 401k plan participant has $1 million minus state and federal taxes. A huge difference." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
Employer Barriers to and Motivations for Offering Retirement Benefits (PDF)
20 pages. "Just over half of the small and midsize businesses surveyed offer a retirement plan; many are more likely to offer paid time off and health plans than retirement benefits.... The likelihood of adding a plan grows fastest in a firm's first few years or as it approaches 75 employees.... Relatively few employers use features known to boost participation and savings in retirement plans; just 32 percent use automatic enrollment, while only 14 percent use automatic escalation of contributions." (The Pew Charitable Trusts)
Brown University Sued Over Alleged Breach of Fiduciary Duty in 403(b) Plans
"The university 'consistently selected and retained investment options for the plans that historically and consistently underperformed their benchmarks and charged excessive management fees,' said the lawsuit filed ... by four participants. They are seeking class-action status.... Among their criticisms of plan management, the participants argued the plans have too many investment options." (Pensions & Investments)
[Opinion] Why We Need Guaranteed Retirement Income
"Thanks to unionized manufacturing jobs, 61 percent of near-retirees in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were covered by a retirement plan at work during Reagan's first term. The share of covered workers collapsed by 10 percentage points to 51 percent during Obama's second term ... In the rest of the U.S., the share declined by 7 percentage points, from 53 percent to 46 percent." (Teresa Ghilarducci,, via 401K Specialist)
The 'Gig Economy' Leaves Some Working Americans Financially Vulnerable
11 pages. "The most talked about benefit of of working part-time is flexibility ... Part-time work also allows people to try a few different jobs before deciding what career they want to pursue full-time ... The downside is that most part-time jobs in the U.S. come with no insurance or retirement savings benefits: Only 32% of part-timers say they receive such benefits compared to 87% of full-time workers." (Guardian)
Non-ERISA 403(b) Plans Must Walk Fine Line to Avoid Losing ERISA Exemption
"Sometimes discretion inadvertently or unknowingly finds itself in the plan such as an employer determining eligibility, processing hardship distributions and loans, and determining whether a domestic relations order is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. That also includes hiring a Third Party Administrator like our firm. That means, of course, the 403(b) plan could be subject to ERISA's Title I requirements with all the time and expense to make the DOL's required corrections[.]" (The Retirement Plan Blog)
Working Past 70: Americans Can't Seem to Retire
"[B]aby boomers are increasingly ignoring the traditional retirement age of 65. Last quarter, 32 percent of Americans 65 to 69 were employed. Even past age 70, a growing number of seniors are declining to, or unable to, retire. Last quarter, 19 percent of 70- to 74-year-olds were working, up from 11 percent in 1994." (Bloomberg)
Americans Trust in Their 401(k) Plans
"Ninety percent of DC-owning households agree that their DC plan account helps them think about the long term, not just their current needs ... 91 percent agree that payroll deduction makes it easier to save; and 44 percent agree that they probably wouldn't save for retirement if they didn't have their DC plan at work. These results highlight the important role that employers play in promoting retirement saving." (Investment Company Institute [ICI])
What's Underpinning UPS's Shift from Pension Plans to the 401(k) Savings Plan?
"In January 2023, UPS will move the approximately 78,000 non-union employee pension plan participants to its UPS 401(k) savings plan. The move is expected to reduce future contributions to the pension plan after 2023. While reducing future contributions is positive, part of the underlying impetus for this is likely associated with the changing shipping environment." (Seeking Alpha; free registration may be required)
Retirement Plans Are Leaking Money. Here's Why Employers Should Care
"If their retirement accounts are dwindling, older employees may not be able to retire when they want to. How problematic that is depends on the employer and its workforce management philosophy.... [If] an employer wants workers to stay until normal retirement age, pass along their knowledge and skills, and then leave so younger workers can move up, early withdrawals become more problematic." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
Here's How Much You Should Have Saved for Retirement at Every Age
"By the time you reach your 30s, you should try to have the equivalent of your annual salary saved for retirement.... By age 40 ... you should have around three times your annual salary saved.... By age 50, you should have about six times your annual salary saved.... By age 60, you should have about eight times your annual salary saved." (Motley Fool)
IRS Overhauls Opinion Letter Process for Pre-Approved Plans, Combines Prototype and Volume Submitter Programs
"The overhaul of the pre-approved plan program is not surprising given the IRS's significant reduction of the determination letter program for individually designed plans ... Comments are specifically requested regarding the possibility of allowing adopting employers to continue to maintain certain 'legacy' benefit formulas (such as frozen or continuing benefit formulas for certain participants due to a merger or acquisition) when adopting a pre-approved plan." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
The Importance of Retirement Investing Over Saving for Older Employees
"Let's say I am a mid-to-late career employee who has a $1 million account balance.... If my $1 million has a modest annual return rate of 5%, I will earn $50,000 on it in the coming year. That greatly exceeds the maximum annual amount of $24,000 (presuming I am over age 50) that I can save in my 401(k)/403(b). In addition, due to the time-value of money, that $24,000 maximum contribution has less time to compound, and becomes an even smaller portion of my $1 million+ account balance in future years. At this point, therefore, how I invest becomes far more critical than how much I save." (Cammack Retirement Group)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Form 14581-E: Retirement Plan Coverage Compliance Self-Assessment for State and Local Government Entities (PDF)
"The self-assessment tools are designed to help public employers identify areas that indicate potential compliance issues. They are intended to be completed by those responsible for withholding and paying employment taxes and filing required information returns. Each topic contains brief information on the law with links to IRS publications and other authoritative resources that provide more information." [June 2017] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Hospitals' Supreme Court Victory Leaves Unresolved Questions for Church Plan Sponsors
"The Supreme Court did not address two important additional questions related to the church plan analysis. These questions will almost certainly be litigated by future plaintiffs against church-related organizations that establish and maintain church plans. The Court also did not decide the case on constitutional grounds, leaving open the opportunity for plaintiffs' counsel to continue to make the argument that the church plan exemption from ERISA is itself unconstitutional under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause." [Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, No. 16-74 (U.S. June 3, 2017)] (Ice Miller LLP)
[Opinion] Raising the Cap on 401(k)s Won't Solve Retirement Crisis
"Certainly, some people would contribute more to their 401(k)s or IRAs if they were able, but the evidence suggests that the people who would do that are those with incomes above $100,000 per year. Very few people with incomes below that level are contributing the maximum amount at the current levels. It seems very unlikely that they would suddenly increase their contributions above the current levels just because they would be able to." (National Public Pension Coalition)
Nobody Knew Couples Budgeting Could be So Complicated
"[If] a couple's Income from Other Sources (such as Social Security benefits, pension benefits, or life annuities) is expected to decrease or cease upon the death of one of the individuals, the left-hand side of the Basic Actuarial Equation (the assets) can be overstated ... [and]the right-hand side of the equation (spending liabilities) may be understated.... [T]wo possible approaches ... [are] a simple approximate approach and a more complicated (but more accurate) actuarial approach." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Pension Watchdog Sues San Rafael
"A Marin man is suing San Rafael over public pension 'enhancements' he says were approved illegally and have put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in future benefits.... [His] comments and lawsuit specifically call into question the city's response to a 2015-16 Marin County Civil Grand Jury report that criticized the pension enhancements approved by San Rafael, as well as those by Southern Marin Fire District, Novato and Marin County. The grand jury report ... suggested Marin public agencies may have violated statutes for transparency in approving pension enhancements." (Marin Independent Journal)
Retirement, College, and Health Savings Activity Expanding in the U.S.
"Employees under age 25 represent just nine percent of savers on Ascensus' platform. But ... the average 401(k) account balances of savers ages 25-34 nearly double that of their under 25 cohorts.... HSA owners under age 25 and ages 25-34 represented 20% of all HSAs on the Ascensus platform in 2016.... In 2016, 37 percent of HSA market growth was attributed to high deductible health plans offered by employers. Additionally, 46% of all dollars contributed to an HSA came from an employer." (Ascensus)
Pathways to Retirement through Self-Employment
"Late-career transitions to self-employment are associated with a larger drop in income than similar mid-career transitions. Data from the Health and Retirement Study suggest that hours worked also fall upon switching to self-employment. These results suggest that self-employment at older ages may serve as a 'bridge job,' allowing workers to gradually reduce hours and earnings along the pathway to retirement." (National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER])
Safe Harbor 401(k) Establishment Deadline Fast Approaching
"It is critical that the accounts are open -- and remember that it takes 4 to 6 weeks to get this done because enrollment meetings must be scheduled and participants must be able to defer income by the first payroll in October. You can't just adopt the document by the October 1 deadline and do all the account details later -- it all must be done by this decisive October 1st deadline." (QBI)
General Mills to Freeze U.S. Pension Plans at the End of 2027
"Effective Jan. 1, 2028, active employees in the U.S. pension plans, which had a combined $5.925 billion in assets as of May 31, the end of General Mills' fiscal year, will not accrue additional benefits ... General Mills has a 401(k) plan, the General Mills 401(k) Savings Plan, with $3.26 billion in assets as of Dec.31, 2015[.]" (Pensions & Investments)

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