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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/1/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/1/16
January 04
00:02 2016

Welcome to 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 Ten Most Popular 2015 Articles for the 401k Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary,” (, December 29, 2015) Don’t be surprised if this collective wisdom confirms certain instincts you have always possessed, drives a stake in the heart of a myth you’ve long embraced, and opens your mind to an idea you’ve never thought to consider.

Compliance – Truth Revealed When No One is Watching:
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the loneliest week for publishers. No one is paying attention. No one is reading. It’s almost as if no one cares. That’s too bad when some really good content comes out.
Are state-run retirement plans a good deal for private-sector workers?” (InvestmentNews, December 28, 2015) The short answer is that it’s not good for the industry and even worse for workers.
The ‘retirement crisis’ that isn’t,” (The Washington Post, December 29, 2015) Interesting read, especially given the above.

Fiduciary – Much Ado About Nothing… Yet:
That says it all, but if you want a longer explanation, read the comment below.
How DOL Fiduciary Will Change the Industry, and Careers,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 28, 2015) Much is always written before the finalization of any regulation, but it can be nothing more than mere speculation. We try to avoid posting these pieces for that reason, but we thought you might want to get a flavor for what’s being talked about, if only you can identify it as hyperbole once the actual regulation is put forth.

Fees – Example of No One Listening:
Everybody talks about fees, but no one ever does anything about it.
401k plan costs trending downward,” (Benefit News, December 31, 2015) This article is more than about fees. Also, the part about fees doesn’t give a breakdown by service provider, so it’s a little hard to properly analyze.

Investments – Silly Season Silly Talk:
For the investing world, the end of the year often brings talk of both what could have been and what could still yet be. It’s silly talk for a silly season.
Bitcoin comeback makes retirement portfolio look good again,” (MarketWatch, December 29, 2015) Huh?
401k plan participants have good understanding of how TDFs work,” (Benefit News, December 30, 2015) Um, they say it, but the evidence presented is rather thin.

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.
Wealthier plan participants, retirees need drawdown assistance,” (BenefitsPro, December 28, 2015)
Even Millionaires Want To Save More For Retirement,” (Private Wealth, December 29, 2015)
Retirees See Economy Glass As Half Empty,” (Financial Advisor, December 29, 2015)
New Need-to-Know Liability Concerns for Retirement Advice,” (Employee Benefit News, December 29, 2015)
The clues 2015 reveals about things to come in 2016,” (BenefitsPro, December 30, 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.
How to Protect Inherited Retirement Assets,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 22, 2015)
How a high-deductible health plan can boost your retirement savings,” (MarketWatch, December 23, 2015)
Social Security Q&A: How Sure Are We of the File and Suspend Deadline?” (Forbes, December 23, 2015)
Don’t let these unexpected costs derail your retirement: Plan ahead instead,” (USA Today, December 23, 2015)
Women Cannot Rely On Parents For Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, December 24, 2015)
Will you be able to work into your 70s?” (MarketWatch, December 26, 2015)
Saving for retirement tips for singles,” (USA Today, December 26, 2015)
Yes, You Can Save for Retirement and Pay Your Student Loans,” (Forbes, December 27, 2015)
Social Security file and suspend strategy still works for some folks,” (USA Today, December 28, 2015)
10 ways to increase your Social Security payments,” (US News, December 28, 2015)
What’s the best way to donate to charity from your IRA?” (MarketWatch, December 29, 2015)
Protect Your Future Self From Financial Abuse,” (Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2015)
Should we convert to a Roth IRA? Look at big picture on taxes,” (USA Today, December 29, 2015)
Retirees Are Unimpressed With the Economic Recovery,” (Money, December 29, 2015)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Scholarly Financial Professional: Dear Friends and Colleagues … My Market Predictions for 2016 |
Chicago Financial Planner: My Top 10 Most Read Posts of 2015 |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Employee Benefits-IRS Reminds Taxpayers That They Can Boost Their Retirement Savings With The New myRA |
Behavior Gap: Buy What You Love: A Smart Financial Decision |
Pension Risk Matters: Chief Retirement Officer and a Seat at the Table |
fi360: Fiduciary Talk 11: The SEC and Swing Pricing |
Behavior Gap: Letting Go of Financial Peer Pressure |
Fiduciary Matters Blog: 3rd Circuit Grants Victory to Participants Challenging Church Plan Status |
Scholarly Financial Professional: “Who Moved My Cheese?” – The Future of Financial Advice – Part 1 |
Scholarly Financial Professional: “Who Moved My Cheese?” – The Future of Financial Advice – Part 2: Fiduciary Foundations |
Scholarly Financial Professional: “Who Moved My Cheese?” – The Future of Financial Advice – Part 3 (Professional and Other Fees Matter) |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
The Motley Fool: Here’s How Retirement Saving Changed in 2015 |
Kiplinger: Set Up a Solo 401k With Low Fees |
NAPA Net: What’s Keeping Plan Sponsors Awake at Night? |
NAPA Net: Advisors Need to Quantify Their Value |
NAPA Net: Growth in Engagement, Annuities, QLACs |
NAPA Net: Could More Data Be Less Reliable? |
Morningstar: 9 Ways to Save More and Spend Less in 2016 |
NAPA Net: A Tipping Point for Custom TDFs? |
NAPA Net: Things to Know for the Year(s) Ahead |
NAPA Net: Another Provider Charged in Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: New Jersey Moves Forward With State-Run Retirement Program |
The Motley Fool: What Is a QLAC, and Why Might You Want One? |
NASDAQ: 3 Benefits of a Thrift Savings Plan |
NAPA Net: Where Are Proprietary Funds More Likely to be Found? |
NAPA Net: A Turning Point for Robo Advisors? |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Obtaining Plan Documents |
NAPA Net: A Decisionmaking Framework Your Clients Can Use Every Day |
Morningstar: Cost Estimates of DOL Fiduciary Rule Way Off |
NAPA Net: Are Plan Sponsors Ready To Put Their Fund Menus on a Diet? |
NAPA Net: Smaller Plans Catching Up With TDFs |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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