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Resources / Education

Hey Joel! – Answers from a recovering former practicing ERISA attorney

Welcome to Hey Joel! This forum answers plan sponsor questions from all over the country by our in-house former practicing ERISA attorney. Hey Joel, What’s the appropriate number of members and positions for a retirement plan committee? ~ Plannin’ in Pennsylvania Dear Plannin’, There is no specific guidance on the appropriate number of committee members. It’s important to have committee members who can contribute to the topics to be focused on. When there is one committee, as opposed to…

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How Many Investment Options Should You Offer?

Many plan sponsors struggle with deciding how many investment options to offer in their retirement plans. While people generally like to have lots of options when making other decisions, having too many plan options can potentially lead to poor investment decisions by plan participants. In addition, increasing plan options can also increase plan costs, as well as the administrative paperwork associated with the plan. In a study on retirement plan options, researchers concluded that it is possible to present…

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Four Ways to Increase Employee Retirement Contributions

As a retirement plan sponsor, you want your employees to save the most they can in order to reach their maximum retirement potential. A significant amount of research says that you can improve both employee participation and their saving rates. Here are four ways you can help your employees start building a confident retirement: 1. Boost employee participation with automatic enrollment. Choosing to automatically enroll all new employees in your retirement plan can dramatically improve your participation rates. According…

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Hey Joel! – Answers from a recovering former practicing ERISA attorney

Welcome to Hey Joel! This forum answers plan sponsor questions from all over the country by our in-house former practicing ERISA attorney. Hey Joel, Should we consider life insurance in our retirement plan? ~ Beefin’ up my plan in Buffalo   Dear Beefin’, I’m not a fan of having this type of “investment” within a retirement plan. I often explain my position by asking a client what the purpose of their retirement plan is. Most will answer that it…

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Loss Aversion and Fighting Fear

Loss aversion sounds like a good thing — trying to avoid losing. What could be wrong with that? Unfortunately, if taken too far, it can actually be a threat to retirement plan participants’ long-term financial health. Loss aversion is the tendency to prefer avoiding potential losses over acquiring equal gains. We dislike losing $20 more than we like getting $20. Yet, this common bias can come with a heavy cost. Excessive risk avoidance can hurt participants when, for example,…

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Ten Reasons to Roll Over Into Your Plan Versus an IRA

Michael Viljak, Manager, Advisor Development Do you have employees in a prior employer’s retirement plan? Should they transfer these assets to a personal IRA or into your employer-sponsored retirement plan? Review the pros and cons of an individual retirement account (IRA) versus consolidating into the current retirement plan with your employees to help them make this decision. 1. Performance results may differ substantially. As an institutional buyer, a retirement (401(k), 403(b), 457, etc.) plan may be eligible for lower…

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How do I replace my Social Security card?

Chances are, you probably have your Social Security number memorized, so you may not have had to use your card in awhile. However, there are times when you may be required to show your actual card, such as when you start a new job or need to access certain government services. Fortunately, replacing a lost or stolen card is a relatively easy process. In order to obtain a new card, you need to prove your citizenship or lawful noncitizen…

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Do I need to get a REAL ID when I renew my license?

If you need to renew your driver’s license, you may want to get a REAL ID. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacts the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government set minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Beginning October 1, 2020, residents of every state and territory will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license/identification card, or another acceptable form of identification (such as a passport), to access federal facilities, enter…

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How Does Your Employer’s Retirement Plan Compare?

    Each year, the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) surveys employers to gauge trends in retirement plan features and participation. Results are used by employers and plan participants to benchmark their plans against overall averages. How does your plan compare to the most recent survey results, released at the end of 2018?1 Participation and savings rates Plan participation (that is, the percentage of participants contributing to the plan) was on the rise, increasing from 77% in 2010…

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Rules on Opening a 529 Plan Account for College

Year over year, participation in 529 plans continues to rise.1 Anyone can open an account, lifetime contribution limits are typically over $300,000, and there are tax benefits if the funds are used for college. Here are some common questions on opening an account. Can I open an account in any state’s 529 plan or am I limited to my own state’s plan? Answer: It depends on the type of 529 plan you have: college savings plan or prepaid tuition…

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