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Resources

Why You Need to Communicate with Employees

Businesses understand how vital it is for employees to understand retirement options and are increasingly including employee education in fiduciary risk management, whether it’s in the form of one-on-one counseling or educational seminars. Take a look at these reasons why you should communicate with and educate your employees. Gossip Can Be Dangerous If retirement opportunities are not properly explained, employees will likely ask each other instead. Someone could accidentally relay incorrect information and create the misconception that your savings…

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Are Your Participants Experiencing a Fee Imbalance?

Subsequent to the 2012 implementation of ERISA fee reporting regulations (ERISA 408(b)(2) & 404(a)(5)), the Department of Labor (DOL) began to consider the appropriateness of the allocation of plan fees among participants. This is a subject that generally had not been on the radar screen of many plan fiduciaries, but once identified, tends to generate considerable traction due to its obvious validity. Ironically, a plan sponsors’ diligent attention to obtaining the lowest accessible share class for new funds in…

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Debit or Credit? Pick a Card

Americans use debit cards more often than credit cards, but they tend to use credit cards for higher-dollar transactions. The average value of a debit-card transaction in 2018 was just $36, while credit-card transactions averaged $89.1 This usage reflects fundamental differences between the two types of cards. A debit card acts like a plastic check and draws directly from your checking account, whereas a credit-card transaction is a loan that remains interest-free only if you pay your monthly bill…

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Portfolio Performance: Choose Your Benchmarks Wisely

Dramatic market turbulence has been common in 2020, and you can’t help but hear about the frequent ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 index. The performance of these major indexes is widely reported and analyzed in detail by financial news outlets around the nation. Both the Down and the S&P 500 track the stocks of large domestic companies. But with about 500 stocks compared to the Dow’s 30, the S&P 500 comprises…

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Tapping Retirement Savings During a Financial Crisis

As the number of COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket in March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The legislation may make it easier for Americans to access money in their retirement plans, temporarily waiving the 10% early-withdrawal penalty and increasing the amount they could borrow. Understanding these new guidelines and the other rules for loans and early withdrawals may help you determine if they are appropriate options during a financial crisis. (Remember that…

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Foreign Tourists

More than 79 million foreign tourists visited the United States in 2019, adding $254 billion to the U.S. economy. Residents of Canada and Mexico accounted for almost half of the total, while the countries below were the top 10 sources of overseas visitors. Travel restrictions and lockdowns due to COVID-19 have severely disrupted the flow of foreign tourists in 2020. It’s too early to know the full extent of the damage to the tourism sector, but the effects may…

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How and When to Pay Plan Expenses with Plan Assets

Some retirement plan expenses can be paid for with plan assets – but many can’t. Which are the “reasonable and necessary” retirement plan expenses that can be paid out of plan assets? Generally, services required to maintain the plan’s compliance and administration can be paid from plan assets. Obvious examples include the annual nondiscrimination testing and preparation of the annual Form 5500. Another example is a plan amendment or restatement that is required because of a legislative change. Optional…

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Beware of the IRS & DOL: Four Red Flags They Seek on Form 5500

The Form 5500 is an ERISA requirement for retirement plans to report and disclose operating procedures. Advisors use this to confirm that plans are managed according to ERISA standards. The form also allows individuals access to information, protecting the rights and benefits of the plan participants and beneficiaries covered under the plan. Make sure you are compliant. Be aware of red flags that the IRS and DOL look for on Form 5500 filings: Not making participant deferral remittances “as…

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The ABC’s of Finance: Teaching Kids About Money

It’s never too soon to start teaching children about money. Whether they’re tagging along with you to the grocery store or watching you make purchases online, children quickly realize that we use money to buy the things we want. You can teach some simple lessons today that will give them a solid foundation for making a lifetime of sound financial decisions. Start with an Allowance An allowance is often a child’s first brush with financial independence and a good…

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Four Questions on the Roth Five-Year Rule

The Roth “five-year rule” typically refers to when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), or other work-based Roth account. The rule states that you must wait five years after making your first contribution, and the distribution must take place after age 59 1/2, when you become disabled, or when your beneficiaries inherit the assets after your death. Roth IRAs (but not workplace plans) also permit up to a $10,000 tax-free withdrawal of…

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