Bear Markets, Bull Markets, Wall Street, Stock Market

Staying the Course in Times of Market Volatility

Turmoil on Wall Street OFTEN LEAVES markets in a state of crisis, as was reflected by the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s biggest point drop in history on September 29, 2008, a date that is etched into history as one of the largest market drops ever. As uncertainty, and the fear that follows, makes their way into the marketplace the results can lead to strong, quick … Continue reading Staying the Course in Times of Market Volatility

Stock Market, Stocks, Stock Portfolio

Four Tips to Follow in Turbulent Times

With the recent market volatility, it’s understandable for you to be concerned about your investments. Volatile markets can make you wonder if you’re on track to meet your retirement goals. Don’t be discouraged and most of all, don’t panic. Instead, be pro-active! Consider the following steps you should be taking in both up AND down markets: Review Your Portfolio. Know your investment mix and be … Continue reading Four Tips to Follow in Turbulent Times

Safe Harbor, Regulations

Improper Handling of Hardship Distributions May Result in Significant Problems

These days, many plans are experiencing an uptick in the number of participant requests for hardship distributions. Much of this increased activity may be attributed to our prolonged and tepid economic recovery. As these requests are considered, you want to be sure not to act to the detriment of your plan. Improper handling of hardship requests can ultimately result in plan disqualification. It is important … Continue reading Improper Handling of Hardship Distributions May Result in Significant Problems

Retirement Savings, President Barack Obama, 2016 Budget

2016 Budget Proposals Support Retirement Goals

On February 2, 2015, President Barack Obama released the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget of the U.S. Government that reflects a focus on raising overall government revenues. The prospective increase in revenue would create a range of new tax benefit programs, many of which would affect retirement savings for as many as 30 million Americans. According to the White House, as many as 78 million working … Continue reading 2016 Budget Proposals Support Retirement Goals

Social Security, Retirement Readiness

Timing is Everything

“35% of Americans over 65 rely completely on Social Security.” – U.S. Census Bureau (July 2014) Approximately 96 percent of American workers are covered by Social Security, and many more, including non-working spouses, are eligible for payments. In addition, around 40 percent of the average retiree’s income in the United States comes from Social Security. Thus, for most individuals, deciding when to take Social Security … Continue reading Timing is Everything

Plan Expenses, Plan Demographic, Plan Services, Participant Communication

Content & Frequency of Retirement Plan Committee Meetings

We often receive questions regarding the content and timing of retirement plan committee meetings. Most committees wonder, “How frequently should we meet?” For most, quarterly meetings are sufficient. Plans with minimal activity may be satisfied with one annual meeting, so long as meetings occur with adequate frequency to handle items critical to properly manage the plan. The purpose of retirement plan committees is to oversee … Continue reading Content & Frequency of Retirement Plan Committee Meetings

IRS, Audit

Are You Ready for an Audit?

Several events can trigger a DOL or IRS audit, such as employee complaints or self-reporting under the annual submission of the Form 5500. Often times an audit is a random event, which is why you should always be prepared. Listed below are several key items typically requested in an initial letter sent by the IRS or the DOL in connection with a retirement plan audit. … Continue reading Are You Ready for an Audit?

Glidepath, Target Date Funds

Are You on the Right Glidepath?

While the term “glidepath” may still be defined by Merriam-Webster as “the proper path of descent for an aircraft preparing to land,” those of us in the retirement planning world know it as the path that TDFs take to gradually reduce their equity exposure at and throughout retirement. While aircrafts may have a proper path of descent (as defined by the term), TDFs seem to … Continue reading Are You on the Right Glidepath?

Plan Eligibility

Understanding Plan Eligibility

Is your company’s eligibility attracting and retaining quality employees? Is it competitive with other companies? Eligibility is a waiting period and an age requirement for participants to meet in order to become eligible for a retirement plan. Some plans may also require an employee to work a certain number of hours to become eligible and there may be on-going requirements in order to receive company … Continue reading Understanding Plan Eligibility

Oil, Oil Prices, Oil Price Decline, U.S. Economy

Is the Oil Price Decline Beneficial to the U.S. Economy?

Since June, oil prices have fallen to a six-year low, down over 50% from when Brent crude hit a 2014 high of $115 a barrel. Prices began their swoon mid-year as global supply outstripped global demand. The demand side of the equation weakened as a result of the economic woes of Europe and Asia, increased fuel efficiency and a trend toward alternative fuel sources. On … Continue reading Is the Oil Price Decline Beneficial to the U.S. Economy?