The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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September 7, 2000
Senate Finance Committee Unanimously Approves Pension Reform Bill; Full Senate to Consider Soon
Excerpt: "The legislation ... would raise annual contribution limits to 401(k) plans from $10,500 to $15,000 and to IRAs from $2,000 to $5,000. So-called 'catch-up' provisions would allow people age 50 and older to contribute up to $7,500 a year to an IRA. A new 401(k) would be created in which, like the popular Roth IRA named for the Delaware senator, people would contribute after-tax dollars but withdraw them tax-free for retirement." (Associated Press)
News Analysis -- Pension Reform: Making a Bad Situation Worse?
Excerpt: "That the pension system has been doing a bad job, and doing it so very expensively, has been known for years, but not generally acknowledged because most of the people doing any thinking about the system were insiders -- people who worked for plan sponsors and consultants and who themselves were members of the comfortable class that has pensions." (Lee A. Sheppard, published on TaxBase by Tax Analysts)
Taking Comp Time Instead Of OT Can Cost You Heavily
Excerpt: "But for many -- if not most -- wage slaves, it's probably wiser and more practical to take the money and run. Taking comp time and forgoing overtime cash not only can hinder you from achieving near-term goals like paying off your credit cards, but it's also a decision that can crimp your pension, your 401(k) and your Social Security benefits." (SiliconValley.com)
Employers Can Create Do-It-Yourself 401(k) Plans Online--Carefully
Excerpt: "The good news for employers is that the cost of setting up and administering a plan is not the barrier it once was, especially if you use the Internet as a resource. The bad news is that there remain so many punctilios in pension law that you might need the services of a professional pension consultant anyway." (Los Angeles Times)
Estimated Revenue Effects of the Chairman's Mark of Retirement Security and Savings Act (PDF)
(Joint Committee on Taxation)
Why Self-Directed Accounts are Like SUVs
Excerpt: "A recent article in this space by Morningstar's financial planning columnist, Sue Stevens, presented some opinions about self-directed brokerage accounts (aka SDA) in 401(k) plans that do not conform to the experience of this observer. I agree with most of what Sue says in her on-line support for individual investors, but it seems that we have a very different view of the issue at hand." (401kWire.com)
Pension Revolt Catches Fire
Excerpt: "A grass-roots movement is gathering steam as employees and retirees of some of the nation's largest corporations band together to fight an erosion of pension benefits. Using the Internet to orchestrate their campaign, the activists charge that changes in pension plans are threatening retirement savings and securitY for millions of Americans." (American Association of Retired Persons)
Changes to the Canada Pension Plan Affecting Same-Sex and Common-Law Partners
Excerpt: "As a result of the changes: Same-sex common-law partners will have the same benefits and obligations as opposite-sex common-law partners. Proving you are in a common-law relationship will be done differently than it is now. The programs called Spouse's Allowance and Widowed Spouse's Allowance will now be called the Allowance and the Allowance for the Survivor." (Human Resources Development Canada)
Your Guide To Understanding IRA Fees
Is Your Retirement Planning in the Ballpark?
Excerpt: "In 10 minutes or less -- it depends on how fast you can type or do simple math -- you can find out how much you need to save for retirement. Admittedly, it will be just an estimate. A very rough estimate. But at least you won't have to wade through interminable questionnaires that probe into every intimate detail of your financial life." (Ft. Lauderdale [FL] Sun-Sentinel)
Social Security Chief Mulls Personal Retirement Accounts Proposal
Excerpt: "The nation's top Social Security administrator has 'serious reservations' about creating individual savings accounts using portions of payroll tax revenues, an idea favored by Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush." (New York Times; free registration required)
(Following also appears in Welfare Plans Edition)
6th Circuit OKs District Judge's Use of Advisory Jury on ERISA 510 Issue
(Cincinnati Enquirer, originally published February 16, 2000)
Wealth Through The Workplace Act: Super Stock Options
Excerpt: "During the past three months Congress has put forth employee benefit legislation that potentially will increase participant deferrals as part of a strategy to improve coverage. Complimentary legislation entitled, 'Wealth Through the Workplace Act,' or 'Super Stock Option' currently being considered by Congress (HR 3462) may be the catalyst necessary to awaken legislators to the state of employee benefits in the New Economy." (OptionWealth.com)
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