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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/8/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/8/16
January 11
00:03 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:
401k Plan Sponsors Shift from Investment Focus to Emphasizing Retirement Readiness,” (, January 5, 2015) Is the industry up to the task of leading the charge towards retirement readiness?

Compliance – The Definition of Insanity:
“Keep trying the same thing, insisting it will work even though it has proven never to work.”
Overhaul retirement system, say economist and private equity head,” (BenefitsPro, January 7, 2016) From the usual “death to the 401k” crowd.

Fiduciary – Are You Really Trying?:
Or do you just think you’re really trying? It’s not hard to do the right thing, you just have to want to do it.
Proprietary mutual funds account for big chunk of largest 401k plans,” (BenefitsPro, January 5, 2016) R’uh, R’oh… If this involves a plan you’re involved with, you better double check your pulse.
A motto for fiduciaries: ‘Don’t Confuse Effort with Results’,” (BenefitsPro, January 6, 2016) What can be done when clients measure effort by a standard that doesn’t equate with results?

Fees – They’re Coming:
Look, 12b-1 fees have always been wrong. Just because someone had some smart and influential lobbyists decades ago doesn’t make them right.
Costs dropping for investment managing, recordkeeping,” (Benefit News, January 6, 2016) This article is really referring to fiduciary consulting, not investment management.
SEC Warns Advisors to Pay Closer Attention to 12b-1, Distribution Fees,” (ThinkAdvisor, January 8, 2016) Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Investments – Annuity Season:
As in “Rabbit Season” and “Duck Season,” but not as in “Baseball Season” or “Football Season.”
Annuities in retirement: a true guarantee?” (MarketWatch, January 4, 2016) Always look before you leap.
3 tips on purchasing your annuity,” (MarketWatch, January 4, 2016) More caveat emptor stuff.
Protect your nest egg from stock drops in ‘retirement red zone’,” (USA Today, January 6, 2016) Tips from the usual expert suspects.

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.
Trustees at $2 Billion 401k Charged With Self-Dealing, Excessive Fees,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 31, 2015)
When it Makes Sense to Reverse an IRA Conversion,” (Employee Benefit News, January 4, 2016)
The Huge 401k Hit You Can Avoid,” (Forbes, January 4, 2016)
Microsoft boosts employer match in its 401k plan,” (Benefit News, January 4, 2016)
An easy plan for retirement-planning procrastinators,” (MarketWatch, January 4, 2016)
5 resolutions 401k plan sponsors should make in 2016,” (Employee Benefit News, January 5, 2016)
New 401k suit targets Vanguard fund fees,” (InvestmentNews, January 5, 2016)
State of the union: retirement edition,” (Employee Benefit News, January 5, 2016)
Understanding the retiree benefit of HSAs,” (Benefit News, January 6, 2016)
Retirement readiness improves, but most Americans’ savings still fall short,” (InvestmentNews, January 7, 2016)
Over half of workers won’t be able to cover retirement expenses,” (BenefitsPro, January 7, 2016)

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.
3 unusual retirement resolutions for boomers,” (CBS News, December 31, 2015)
How much money you’ll need for health care costs in retirement,” (CNN, December 30, 2015)
Should I raid my 401k to pay off the mortgage?” (Yahoo, December 30, 2015)
10 Resolutions For Your Retirement,” (Forbes, December 30, 2015)
Is a reverse mortgage right for you?” (MarketWatch, December 30, 2015)
Retirees: 3 Tips To Unscramble Your Retirement Nest Egg, (Forbes, December 31, 2015)
Save Social Security for later, when you need it most, (CNBC, January 1, 2016)
Social Security options for single seniors,” (USA Today, January 4, 2016)
Young Money: Solutions for Millennial Financial Worries,” (Bloomberg Business, January 4, 2016)
Saving for retirement: Tips for all ages,” (Yahoo, January 4, 1016)
Here’s How to Make Your Retirement Nest Egg Last Longer,” (Bloomberg Business, January 5, 2016)
How To Buy Low And Sell High In Your 401k,” (Forbes, January 6, 2016)
Warren Buffett’s 15-Minute Retirement Plan,” (Time, January 6, 2016)
Advisors Prepare Millennials For Parents’ Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, January 7, 2016)
The 10 worst money moves for 2016,” (MarketWatch, January 9, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Behavior Gap: Understand the Risk of Simplification Cycling |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: Top Ten List Of Things From 2015 That Are Somehow Related To ERISA And My Practice |
Squared Away Blog: Few Put Finances First When Retiring |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Part 7: VAs: Due Diligence; Breakpoint Discounts (“Who Moved My Cheese?” Series) |
Nerd’s Eye View: How Continuing To Work, Even in Retirement, Can Increase Social Security Benefits |
Behavior Gap: What’s Your Cost Per Unit of Fun? |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: What the Disqualification of an ESOP Illustrates About ESOPs In General |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: IRS Issues Revenue Procedure To Update Its Procedures For Issuing Determination Letters |
Nerd’s Eye View: Monte Carlo Analysis And Black Swans Explained |
RetirementRevised: Fiduciary rule and the case of JPMorgan Chase |
The Chicago Financial Planner: 4 Things To Do When The Stock Market Drops |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
The Motley Fool: 3 Frightening Retirement Findings You Never Saw Coming |
The Motley Fool: 3 Essential Money Lessons for Retirees |
NAPA Net: How Did the Average 401(k) Close Out 2015? |
NAPA Net: What Drew You to Work With Retirement Plans? |
NAPA Net: Year-End Tax, Spending Bills Have Retirement Implications |
NAPA Net: Health, Not Wealth, Tops Resolutions Lists |
NAPA Net: The Not-So-New Math of Teresa Ghilarducci’s ‘New’ GRA Proposal |
NAPA Net: Study Sets Structure for State-Run Retirement Program in Connecticut |
NAPA Net: Morningstar Upgraded Ratings of 3 Funds, Downgraded 10 in December |
The Motley Fool: What Does 2016 Hold for Social Security? |
NAPA Net: Schlichter Firm Launches Another Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: The Costs of Complex 401k Fund Menus |
NAPA Net: 401k Litigation: What’s in Store for 2016? |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: PBGC Premium Increases |
Kiplinger: 8 Things Boomers Must Know About RMDs From IRAs |
NAPA Net: Top Workplace Trends for 2016 |
NAPA Net: Killer’s Retirement Accounts Subject to Civil Judgement |
NAPA Net: Barstein: Nothing is Hard |
NAPA Net: How Did Pension Funding Fare in 2015? |
NAPA Net: Bob Doll Sees a Glimmer of Hope Along a Rocky Path for 2016 |
NAPA Net: Reader Poll: How Did You Come to Work With Retirement Plans? |
NAPA Net: Reish: The Year of the Fiduciary… Rule |
The Motley Fool: The Best Retirement Plans – for You |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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