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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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September 5, 2002 - 11,413 subscribers
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Helping Employees Navigate the New Realities of 401(k) Savings
Excerpt: "Even during the stock market boom of the 1990s, employers were faced with the challenge of [how to increase] employee participation and savings rates in 401(k) plans. Now with lower stock market returns projected over the next several years, the task is even greater for employers to find new ways to stimulate employee participation and motivate their ongoing engagement with retirement planning." (Hewitt Associates)

Pension Revenue Assumptions Can Mislead Investors
Excerpt: "Phantom pension revenue is coming under fire as critics complain that pension accounting rules can mislead investors about the financial health of many companies. 'If stock options were the accounting issue of 2002, then there's a good chance that pension accounting will be the issue of 2003,' says David Blitzer, managing director at Standard & Poor's." (USA Today via Yahoo! News)

Pensions Straining Municipality Budgets in California
Excerpt: "Generous retirement plans for California public employees, approved during the 1990s stock boom, now threaten to burden state and local governments with huge new debts as the stock market declines. In 1999 and 2001, Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation-- backed by unions for police officers, firefighters and other public employees-- that allowed local governments to negotiate pension increases of up to 50%." (Los Angeles Times; free registration required)

Delayed Retirement Might Be Here To Stay
Excerpt: "Get used to working. Many of us-- especially those age 50-plus-- may be doing it longer than originally expected. A slumping stock market is just one of the reasons. Changes in Social Security laws, stingier corporate pensions, and other economic and social factors mean many Americans will wait longer to retire and may have less gold in their golden years, experts say. Especially hard hit: those closest to retirement ..." (Christian Science Monitor via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Oregon Legislators Contemplate Changes to Public Employees Retirement System
Excerpt: "The state's troubled pension system for government employees now is an issue in the Legislature's budget-balancing special session with a panel's approval of a bill to end the system by January 2004.... Officials estimate the pension system, which covers 294,000 retired and active employees, faces a potential deficit of $7 billion to $8.5 billion. The situation is due to a combination of declines in the pension fund's stock market holdings and guaranteed returns on employee accounts." (AP via

Roth IRAs: You Wanted to Know
Excerpt: "Should you convert? How do you do it? Are you eligible? Here's a tutorial. Not only is a Roth IRA a great way to save for retirement, but it's also a terrific estate-planning tool." (

Roth IRA Rules for 2002; To Convert or Not
Excerpt: "Roth IRAs may not be as exciting as the hot new real estate bubble or as tantalizing as trying to figure out whether the stock market has bottomed, but some of the best money moves available this year are in Roths.... With stock prices down, many people have less in their IRAs than they did a year ago.... This may make it worthwhile for some savers to convert traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs this year." (Forbes)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General
(These items appear in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)

SEC Publishes Final Rules for Reports and Trading by Officers, Directors and Principal Shareholders
Excerpt: "[A]cquisitions pursuant to Qualified Plans, Excess Benefit Plans, Stock Purchase Plans and the reinvestment of dividends or interest pursuant to broad-based dividend or interest reinvestment plans ... will remain exempt from Section 16(a) reporting. In contrast, transactions pursuant to non-qualified deferred compensation plans and other dividend or interest reinvestment plan transactions ... will be reportable on Form 4 within two business days after the date of execution." (Securities and Exchange Commission)

New CEO for International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans; Altobelli Retires After 14 Years
Press release. Excerpt: "The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans announced that Michael Wilson has been hired as the new chief executive officer. Wilson begins his post on September 9, following the retirement of current CEO John A. Altobelli.... During Altobelli's tenure, the Foundation has grown from a $9 million to a $24 million budget. The number of programs offered expanded from 35 in 1988 to over 100 today." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad

Retirement Plan Consultant - Portland, ME
for Invesmart, Inc in ME

Pension Education Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors in AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, LA, MA, ME, MS, NC, NH, NY, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT

Retirement Plan Administrator
for T. Charles & Associates, Inc. in CA

Account Executive/Client Services
for Diversified Investment Advisors in IL

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

A Serious Look at Next Strategies for Health Care Cost Containment
in GA on September 12, 2002
presented by The Segal Company

Opportunities & Challenges: Stock Options in Today's Economy
in CA on September 24, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in IL on October 9, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in MN on October 10, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in IA on October 22, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in MO on October 23, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in NE on October 24, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

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Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.