You have big dreams for your children. Maybe they will grow to be an astronaut or a doctor—their potential has no limit. Have you considered how they will get there? Have you started to save for your children’s future education? According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual cost for undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board were estimated to be $16,188 … Continue reading Saving for College
Our research shows that the vast majority of plan sponsors recognize that automatic enrollment has been effective in improving plan success and simplifying internal plan administration. Could automatic enrollment’s success be improved upon? When automatic enrollment first began gaining popularity, about 20 years ago, its typical design served a number of purposes. It improved plan enrollment and made for more efficient administration (no more “herding … Continue reading Improving Automatic Enrollment
The number of notices and disclosures required to retirement plan participants has increased while methods to access information changed drastically. Many people receive their news and information on electronic devices through apps and social media. What remains the same is the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) guidance about permissible methods to provide notices electronically. There is a disconnect between how people are accustomed to receiving information … Continue reading Do You Send Participant Notices via Email? Should you?
A number of financial services companies have been the targets of lawsuits over alleged fiduciary breaches in their own 401(k) plans where the plan offers only the sponsor’s proprietary investment products. This is a longstanding and common industry practice. Such suits are now pending against over a dozen firms. The latest suit is against BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager with over $5 trillion in … Continue reading BlackRock is the Latest Financial Services Firm Accused of Fiduciary Breaches in Management of its 401(k) Plan
A lawsuit filed against Principal Financial concerning its traditional stable value product alleges that Principal serves as a plan fiduciary with respect to this product and violated its fiduciary duties by charging excessive fees. This case appears to have legs as it was recently certified as a class action on behalf of 41,000 investors. Stable value products are unique to retirement plans. Principal’s product is … Continue reading Principal’s Stable Value Product Called Out in Lawsuit – Rozo v. Principal Life
Because of a recent information letter issued by the DOL, it is unlikely many plan sponsors will adopt a lifetime income option as the default investment in their 401(k) plans. This letter, issued to TIAA, makes it clear lifetime income options cannot serve as a QDIA in 401(k) plans. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in offering 401(k) plan participants a lifetime income … Continue reading DOL Throws Stumbling Block In Way of Lifetime Income Options Serving as Default Investment Option
Illinois’ ongoing budget crisis highlights the challenges presented by the chronic underfunding of state pension systems nationwide. Illinois’ $250 billion in unfunded pension liabilities is a major contributor to its budget crisis.¹ Illinois now has $15 billion in unpaid bills² and is on the verge of becoming the first state with a junk bond rating. There is some discussion of suspending the Illinois state lottery … Continue reading State Retirement Plans – A Ticking Time Bomb
The ongoing saga of the DOL’s fiduciary rule is now in its eighth year. The rule was first proposed in 2010 and promptly withdrawn amidst much controversy. The rule was re-proposed in 2015 and became final last year. Despite expectations that the Trump administration might scrap the Rule entirely, it has survived thus far. The essence of the Fiduciary Rule is that any person making … Continue reading House of Representatives Enters the Fiduciary Fray
If debt is a leading contributor to your overall stress, you are not alone. The national mean for household credit card debt is $16,000. The average total household debt, including mortgages, is $132,500.¹ That volume of debt can be a real burden on your wallet, relationships and ability to achieve other important goals like saving for retirement. Millions of people attempt to juggle these goals … Continue reading Are You Reducing Your Debt?
Adhering to prudent standards includes auditing quarterly statements from the recordkeeper. However, there is no explicit requirement for plan fiduciaries to do so. With regard to plan assets, fiduciaries have the explicit duty to ensure that: employee deferrals are contributed in a timely manner; the plan does not engage in prohibited transactions; and plan assets are used exclusively to pay plan benefits and defray reasonable plan … Continue reading Auditing Recordkeeper Statements—A Fiduciary Duty?