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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/7/17 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/7/17
April 10
00:03 2017

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 Story:
The #1 Retirement Saving Goal for People in Their 40s and the Most Useful Strategy to Get There,” (, April 4, 2017) Quite the opposite from being “over the hill,” those in their forties may find they’re still slogging up hill in terms of saving for retirement.

Compliance – When Bad Things Happen…:
Pensions may be a disaster waiting to happen, but why is everything focused on blowing up 401k plans? What’s the real reason behind this push? Who stands to benefit the most?
The reason underfunded pensions are a disaster waiting to happen,” (MarketWatch, April 3, 2017) The article spends most of the time (rightfully) explaining how overly aggressive actuarial assumptions doom public pensions, but then concludes hedge fund “management fees” are the problem. The real problem is that anything involving public monies is ripe for corruption. And that pension plans are nothing more than legal Ponzi Schemes.
Words of wisdom from Ted Benna,” (BenefitsPRO, April 4, 2017) There’s a whole cottage industry out to subvert the hugely successful discovery of Ted Benna. Actually, there are two “industries.” The first advocates the return of the pension plan, and Benna has some choice words for that little rose-colored boondoggle. The second represents those promoting state-run retirement plans for private workers. We’ll let the article speak for itself on that one.
EBRI Calls for Auto Plan Portability,” (PLANADVISER, April 5, 2017) We’re getting closer to 401k 2.0, we just need to work on cutting out the middle man.
Coalition Deploys to Defend Retirement Savings,” (PLANADVISER, April 5, 2017) They’re coming to take your retirement tax savings incentives away – Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! Hee! Hee! – to the “tax reform” farm, to offset tax cuts, to “balance” the budget! (Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! Hee! Hee!).

Fiduciary – Moving the Goal Posts Farther Back:
They say time heals all wounds. It also reveals wounds we didn’t know existed.
Fiduciary rule delayed by 60 days,” (On Wall Street, April 4, 2017) Who didn’t see this coming. And it may only be the beginning.
DOL releases its delay of fiduciary rule,” (BenefitsPRO, April 5, 2017) Here’s a more thorough article that came out the next day.
Fiduciary advocates strike back after rule delay,” (Financial Planning, April 5, 2017) While a nice visual, it is playing fast and loose with the facts. The clock could just as well be titled “Conflict-of-Interest Fees Not Eliminated by Obama’s Fiduciary Rule.”

Fees – Interest Rises in Focusing on Fees that Matter:
What does it feel like to be so early to the party that everyone arrives thinking you’re just part of the furniture when they arrive? It matters not. What matters is that your there, they’re there, and we’re all celebrating a good thing.
Kitces: Why the 12b-1 fee era must end,” (Financial Planning, April 3, 2017) Everything you wanted to know about12b-1 but have been too afraid to ask.
What you don’t know about 401k fees can cost you plenty,” (CNBC, April 6, 2017) Surprise. Surprise! Surprise!! A mainstream media article that actually focuses on fees that matter (12b-1 fees, commissions, and revenue sharing) rather than costs that don’t (mutual fund expense ratios).

Investments – Nice Duds, Emperor:
OK, anyone who gets this reference raise their hand.
This Flawed Advice Could Doom Your Retirement,” (Forbes, April 5, 2017) An excellent real-life example of the perils of passive investing.

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.
For 401k Financial Education Programs, Patience Pays,” (The 401(k) Specialist, March 28, 2017)
Higher education employees lack retirement confidence,” (Employee Benefit News, April 2, 2017)
Young Americans need additional workplace education on IRAs,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 3, 2017)
Jackson National Target of DC Plan Self-Dealing Suit,” (PLANADVISER, April 3, 2017)
Young Americans need additional workplace education on IRAs,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 3, 2017)
Addressing the Retirement Savings Struggles of Women,” (PLANADVISER, April 3, 2017)
Secure retirement still elusive for many employees,” (Employee Benefit News, April 3, 2017)
3 Critical Stakeholders in Every Successful 401k Plan,” (The 401(k) Specialist, April 3, 2017)
The 10 biggest 401k plan misconceptions,” (Employee Benefit News, April 3, 2017)
Court Finds Intel Alternative Investment Suit Time-Barred,” (PLANADVISER, April 3, 2017)
Retirement plan litigation top of mind for plan sponsors,” (Employee Benefit News, April 4, 2017)
Majority of Plan Auditors Handle Five or Fewer Audits,” (PLANADVISER, April 5, 2017)
‘Easy Wins’ for DC Plan Design,” (The 401(k) Specialist, April 6, 2017)
Why mending fractured retirement savings is key to financial wellness,” (Employee Benefit News, April 6, 2017)
American Airlines DC Plan Affiliated Funds Suit Moves Forward,” (PLANADVISER, April 6, 2017)

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.
Millennial Expectations of Retirement Greater than Older Generations,” (PLANADVISER, March 31, 2017)
Half of mature workers delaying or giving up on retirement,” (BenefitsPRO, March 31, 2017)
Is 70 the New 65?” (PLANADVISER, March 31, 2017)
How much the average young family has saved for retirement,” (CNBC, March 31, 2017)
My income is increasing. Should I convert my IRA to a Roth?” (MarketWatch, April 1, 2017)
Few Boomers Believe Savings Will Last Throughout Retirement,” (PLANADVISER, April 3, 2017)
10 retirement issues boomers face,” (BenefitsPRO, April 3, 2017)
Paying for college while saving for retirement,” (USA Today, April 3, 2017)
Here’s the retirement help investors say they need most — and how to give it to them,” (MarketWatch, April 3, 2017)
How Reverse Mortgages Can Fill the Retirement Income Gap,” (PLANADVISER, April 4, 2017)
What to do if you haven’t saved for retirement by age 50,” (CNN, April 4, 2017)
Americans can’t pass 6-question retirement quiz,” (BenefitsPRO, April 4, 2017)
Just How Financially Illiterate are Most Americans?” (The 401(k) Specialist, April 4, 2017)
Millennial money lessons: Retirement Saving 101,” (CNBC, April 5, 2017)
Solving the ‘my retirement or my kids’ education’ dilemma,” (BenefitsPRO, April 5, 2017)
Try mental accounting to make your retirement dreams come true,” (USA Today, April 5, 2017)
Retirement Planning: What to Do With Your 401k,” (Money, April 5, 2017)
Should you use your retirement savings to pay for kids’ college?” (MarketWatch, April 5, 2017)
Retirement age: Why 70 is the new 65,” (CBS News, April 5, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Ary Rosenbaum: 401k Plan Sponsors Need To Get Up And Focus On This |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The one thing you should never throw out as Plan Sponsors |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The problem with Morgan Stanley’s payment decision |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: You Can Lead A Plan Sponsor To Huge Retirement Savings, But…… | To Hell With Your 401k Hidden Fees |
Behavior Gap: Show Me The Plan |
Proskauer: DOL Fiduciary Rule Delayed, But At Least Parts Might Be Here to Stay |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Oracle’s 401k and what doesn’t look right |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The DOL Fiduciary Rule Is No Time To Celebrate |
Squared Away Blog: Retirees Don’t Touch Home Equity |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Q1 Starts Strong for Average 401k Balances |
NAPA Net: Putnam Partially Prevails in Proprietary Fund Suit |
Kiplinger: 5 Considerations For a Retirement Income Game Plan
Morningstar: A Moderate ETF Bucket Portfolio for Retirement |
NAPA Net: OMB Takes Some More Meetings on Fiduciary Regulation |
NAPA Net: You Can Take it With You |
NAPA Net: Time is on Intel’s Side in Custom TDF Suit |
NAPA Net: Are Advisors Making Things More Confusing? |
Kiplinger: Hidden Fees Show Investor Protections Can Backfire |
Morningstar: An Investing Road Map for Midcareer Accumulators |
NAPA Net: DOL Gives Industry Some ‘Waiting’ Room |
NAPA Net: Save Our Savings Coalition Launches |
NAPA Net: Can a 403(b) Plan Merge with a 401k Plan? |
NAPA Net: Jackson National Served With Proprietary Fund Suit |
Kiplinger: Death of a Spouse: The Quiet Retirement Risk |
NAPA Net: Better Be BIC-Ready |
NAPA Net: 401k Advisors: Don’t Be the Ugly House in the Neighborhood |
NAPA Net: ‘Ripoff’ Counter Counters Fiduciary Regulation Delay |
Kiplinger: 5 Time-Tested Tactics to Save for Retirement |
NAPA Net: World’s Largest Asset Manager Slapped With Proprietary Fund Suit |
NAPA Net: Americans Want More Holistic Advice |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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