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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 10/30/15

FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 10/30/15
November 02
00:03 2015

Welcome to FiduciaryNews Trending Topics. Each Monday, we’ll give you a quick synopsis of the major news events and trends impacting ERISA plan sponsors, 401k fiduciaries and those in the business of supporting these fine folks. If you smile when you read these entertaining snippets, well, that’s the idea. If you think we’re missing something important, then please let us know. But, note this well, we avoid press releases masquerading as news stories (even though they might be reported by journalists) as well as mass media pabulum that merely mouths investment myths and mistakes. “When everybody’s a fiduciary…  no one is.”

FiduciaryNews Lead:
The Best and the Worst of 401k Plan Design Elements,” (, October 27, 2015) If you’re a plan sponsor, it’s time to review how your plan measures up against these design elements. If you’re looking to become a plan sponsor for a new plan, consider whether or not you should include these design elements.

Compliance – Fixing a Mess by Messing Up the Fix:
Leave it to the government to look at a problem and make it worse.
DOL to issue proposal to help states avoid ERISA,” (Benefit News, October 26, 2015) While the Senate dilly-dallies on approving MEP legislation, the DOL (and the administration) is taking things into its own hands.
How 401ks and IRAs will (and won’t) change in 2016,” (Yahoo Finance, October 26, 2015) Here’s a scorecard if you’re looking for one.
401k vs. Pension: Which Is Better?” (ThinkAdvisor, October 27, 2015) Well, let’s get an opinion from “experts” and have three of them be tied to the pension business. They say what you’d predict they’d say.
Budget Deal Could Cost Clients $50,000 In Social Security Benefits,” (Financial Advisor, October 28, 2015) It doesn’t “cost” anyone anything. It only closes a 15 year-old loophole that has allowed married couples to take advantage of Social Security by gaming the system. The only bad news is Congress is diverting the “saved” money from the retirement portion of Social Security to the disability portion, making things worse for retirees overall.
Congress Planning to Close Social Security Loopholes,” (OnWallStreet, October 28, 2015) With the prevalence of dual income couples, look for more changes in Social Security rules that were designed in an era of single-earning households.

Fiduciary – Speaking of Messes…:
Looks like we’re right on schedule when it comes to a uniform fiduciary standard.
NAPFA leader claims ‘moral high ground’ in fiduciary fight,” (InvestmentNews, October 26, 2015) This one’s worth it just for the reader comments after the article.
DOL’s Fiduciary Rule Will Be Eased For Commissions, Says Association Head,” (Financial Advisor, October 28, 2015) In which case, it’s not really “fiduciary,” is it?
Conflict Question Stalks ‘Proprietary’ Products,” (Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2015) Whoa! Did the WSJ just call out Schwab and Vanguard on conflicts-of-interest? More significantly, they just revealed why the DOL’s so-called robo-advisor solution may not be the solution they think it is and may only be compounding the conflict-of-interest problem.

Fees – Sound of Crickets:
Wait ‘til Trump weighs in.

Investments – Some Basics for the Base:
Reverse Mortgages for Retired Clients: Does the Strategy Fit?” (ThinkAdvisor, October 23, 2015) As the article explains: Tread carefully.
How to ladder bonds,” (MarketWatch, October 23, 2015) This is how your huddled masses are being taught to yearn free from income worries. Take note.
Why Ken Fisher Hates Annuities,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 26, 2015) An industry veteran spilling the secrets and telling it like it is.
Cash-Heavy Americans Are Hurting Their Retirement: BlackRock,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 26, 2015) When have we seen this before?
Invest for Retirement With Market Volatility in Mind,” (Yahoo, October 27, 2015) As usual, it’s all about blocking and tackling.
Your 401k’s Comeback Underscores the Risks of Fed’s Easy-Money Policy,” (Bloomberg Business, October 28, 2015) You have been warned.

Major Plan Sponsor Moves and News:
What are other plan sponsors and fiduciaries doing with their plans? And how are participants responding? The latest in legal proceedings involving plan sponsors and fiduciaries.
Saving for Retirement: The Rewards of Starting Young,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 23, 2015)
Average Americans May Never Retire, But That’s Okay,” (Forbes, October 24, 2015)
Which Account Is Best for Retirement Savings?” (Time, October 26, 2016)
7 characteristics of a successful 401k,” (Employee Benefit News, October 27, 2015)
Class of 2015 can’t retire till they’re 75,” (BenefitsPro, October 27, 2015)
401k plan sponsors can pay it forward by embracing roll-ins,” (Employee Benefit News, October 28, 2015)
3 best practices for remitting employee contributions to a 401k plan,” (Employee Benefit News, October 28, 2105)
Has your 401k plan grown stale?” (BenefitsPro, October 28, 2015)
Another facet of inequality in the U.S.: Retirement,” (CBS News, October 28, 2015)
Making 401k enrollment and escalation automatic,” (MarketWatch,, October 28, 2015)

Trends and Truths for Retirement Savers:
If you’re a retirement plan fiduciary – whether a plan sponsor or a financial professional, don’t you think it’s a good idea to keep up on the topics retirement savers are most interested in? That’s what the media tries to do. Here’s what they think is on the mind of the people saving for retirement.
Near-retirees don’t have enough saved for retirement,” (CNBC, October 22, 2015)
A yawning gap in baby boomers’ retirement savings,” (CBS News, October 22, 2015)
9 Ways to Find Temporary Work in Retirement,” (US News, October 22, 2015)
Social Security Q&A: Is It Really True that I Can’t Suspend Now?” (Forbes, October 22, 2015)
​“4 reasons to keep working as long as possible,” (CBS News, October 23, 2015)
Can their retirement savings cover them and their special needs son?” (The Washington Post, October 23, 2015)
A positive attitude leads to a longer retirement,” (MarketWatch, October 26, 2015)
With These Two Moves, You Can Retire Well No Matter What the Market Does,” (Time, October 28, 2015)
5 retirement myths busted,” (BenefitsPro, October 28, 2015)
Coping without a COLA to sweeten Social Security,” (CBS News, October 28, 2015)
4 Retirement Risks That Can Be Reduced,” (US News, October 30, 2015)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Behavior Gap: Investing In Yourself At a Big Company |
Scholarly Financial Planner: A Call to Action re: The DOL Conflict of Interest Rule |
The Trust Advisor: The Best Tips for Selecting a 401k Provider |
Pension Risk Matters: Public Pension Fund Litigation Database |
Squared Away Blog: Health Insurance Costs Squeeze 401ks? |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Tenth Circuit Rules That Retiree Cannot Convert His Pension Benefit To Disability Benefit |
Behavior Gap: Invite the Impostor Syndrome in for Tea |
Nerd’s Eye View: Congress Ends File-And-Suspend & Restricted Application Strategies |
RetirementRevised: CEO pensions are larger than yours – much larger |
Squared Away Blog: Fewer Boomers Get Social Security at 62 |
fi360: Ditch the Comfort Zone |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: Nothing’s Ever Simple in the World of ERISA: Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan |
Pension Risk Matters: Investment Monitoring, Post Supreme Court Decision |
Behavior Gap: Don’t Wait to Be Inspired |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: IRS Says That Most Retirees Need to Take Required Retirement Plan Distributions by Dec. 31 |
The Retirement Plan Blog: Sorry, MacGyverisms can’t solve 403b problems, but there are ways to fix them |
The Chicago Financial Planner: What I’m Reading – Aaron Rodgers vs. Peyton Manning Edition |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: What’s the Most Impactful Retirement Savings Innovation? |
NAPA Net: Conservative Coalition Calls for Defunding Fiduciary Proposal |
NAPA Net: With Fiduciary Rule, DOL Pursues Conflicts of Interest in the Rollover Process |
Kiplinger: The Biggest Oversight in Most Americans’ Retirement Planning |
NAPA Net: ETFs Making a New 401k Play? |
NAPA Net: 15 Retirement Plan Points to Ponder |
NAPA Net: Rx Expenses Driving Post-Retirement Costs Higher |
NAPA Net: Most Uncovered Californians Like Auto-Enroll, But Opt-Outs Could be High |
Morningstar: When Social Security Benefits and Medicare Premiums Collide |
NAPA Net: House Votes to Hold Up DOL’s Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: AIG’s Michel: Record Keepers Not Sharing Data May Be Left Out |
NAPA Net: Frustration with SEC in House Oversight Hearing |
NAPA Net: Women Save More, Need More, But Have Less |
NAPA Net: Government’s Role in 401k Plans Takes Stage at GOP Debate |
NAPA Net: Senate Hearing Highlights Small Biz MEP Opportunities |
NAPA Net: Handling Cash Flow, Debt Key to Retirement Readiness |
NAPA Net: HSA Investment Assets Adding Up |
Morningstar: The Best Inflation Hedges for Retirees |
Kiplinger: Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2016 |
NAPA Net: Survey Rebuffs 5 Myths About Retirement |
NAPA Net: Impactful Innovations of Tomorrow Should ‘Do it for me, Make it Fun, and Make it Easy to Access’ |
NAPA Net: Advisor RFPs not Just for Mega Plans |
ASPPA: 7 Tips Retirees Wished They Knew When They Were 24 |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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