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Hey Joel! Answers From a Former Practicing ERISA Attorney, Fiduciary Review

Do you have a question for an ERISA attorney burning in your heart? This forum features answers to some of the most common plan sponsor questions from all over the country, written by a former practicing ERISA attorney. Should I distribute the Fiduciary Investment Review to plan participants? – Generous in Georgia Dear Generous in Georgia, I appreciate your desire to provide detailed information to your plan participants, but hold your horses. While there is nothing legally preventing the…

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Have You Conducted a Fee Equalization/Levelization?

Fees in defined contribution (DC) plans can be complicated. Historically, fees have not been fully and simply disclosed, but the industry is changing towards greater and more understandable disclosure. Simply put, there are two basic types of fees: administrative and investment-related. The investment-related fees are deducted from earnings on participant accounts and will vary from one investment to the next. These fees are paid to the firms that are making decisions about how the various funds are invested in…

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What is gross domestic product, and why is it important to investors?

GDP, or gross domestic product, measures the value of goods and services produced by a nation’s economy less the value of goods and services used in production. In essence, GDP is a broad measure of the nation’s overall economic activity and serves as a gauge of the country’s economic health. Countries with the largest GDP are the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. GDP generally provides economic information on a quarterly basis and is calculated for…

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What is the employment situation report important to investors?

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the Employment Situation Summary report based on information from the prior month. The data for the report is derived primarily from two sources: a survey of approximately 60,000 households, or about 110,000 individuals (household survey), and an establishment survey of over 651,000 worksites. Results from each survey provide information about the labor sector, including the: Total number of employed and unemployed people Unemployment rate (the percentage of the labor force that…

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Marriage and Money: Taking a Team Approach to Retirement

Now that it’s fairly common for families to have two wage earners, many husbands and wives are accumulating assets in separate employer-sponsored retirement accounts. In 2018, the maximum employee contribution to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan is $18,500 ($24,500 for those age 50 and older), and employers often match contributions up to a set percentage of salary. But even when most of a married couple’s retirement assets reside in different accounts, it’s still possible to craft a unified retirement…

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Investing to Save Time Boosts Happiness Returns

The more money you make, the more valuable you perceive your time to be — and the more time-strapped you may feel, according to University of British Columbia psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn.1 So wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you use some of your hard-earned money to buy yourself more time — for example, by paying someone to clean your house or mow your lawn — you might achieve a greater level of happiness? Indeed, that was the…

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Mid-Year Planning: Tax Changes to Factor In

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December of last year, fundamentally changes the federal tax landscape for both individuals and businesses. Many of the provisions in the legislation are permanent, others (including most of the tax cuts that apply to individuals) expire at the end of 2025. Here are some of the  significant changes you should factor in to any mid-year tax planning. You should also consider reviewing your situation with a tax professional. New lower marginal…

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