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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/19/17 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/19/17
May 22
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:
Exclusive Interview with Duane Thompson: Expect the Fiduciary Rule to Go Live on June 9th,” (, May 16, 2017) “As for as the pre-release discussion of the Trump tax plan, I would just ignore it. It’s short on details, which raises too many questions.”

Compliance – What’s the Real Motive of State-Run Plans?:
California says it doesn’t care if there’s no ERISA exemption, it’s moving forward with its much criticized state-run retirement plan for private employees initiative. While concerns grow, a chorus of retirement doomsday sayers also grows, warning of the impossibility of fundamentally changing Social Security. Meanwhile, a committee hearing on MEPs – the true “next generation” of retirement policy – goes virtually unnoticed.
What those state-run plans aren’t telling you,” (BenefitsPRO, May 16, 2017) Now playing at a state-run retirement plan for private employees near you: “Who’s the Fiduciary?”
Another way the rich get richer: Study shows a widening gap in life expectancy between rich and poor,” (Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2017) FYI, this is the argument de jour for left-leaning retirement policy makers.
Why raising Social Security’s ‘full retirement age’ is a bad idea,” (MarketWatch, May 19, 2017) Oh, wait, maybe this is the argument de jour. Apparently, raising the age discriminates against the less educated. Why does this sound so much like the game of Life?

Fiduciary – Will They or Won’t They?:
…only their B/D knows for sure. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter. We have crossed the fiduciary Rubicon, and there’s no going back to the way things used to be.
Merrill Lynch Signals More Flexibility in Fiduciary Rule Response,” (PLANADVISER, May 12, 2017) Does this signal a move towards a more lenient Fiduciary Rule?
Former Vanguard CEO Brennan ‘Bullish’ on DOL Fiduciary Rule,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 16, 2017) Because, with or without the actual Fiduciary Rule, the world of “fiduciary” has changed forever.
For DOL, killing fiduciary rule easier said than done,” (BenefitsPRO, May 16, 2017) According to the article, this assumes it’ll be easy to shop around for a sympathetic judge.
Even if Trump repeals the fiduciary rule, DOL has reshaped the industry,” (Financial Planning, May 16, 2017) This has been said repeatedly. The question is what will the competing sides do next.
Fiduciary Rule Debate Impacts State-Run Plans for Private Sector,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2017) Well, now it does.

Fees – A Funny Thing About That…:
Do you realize the impact of working day lunch fees will cost you three years of living expenses in retirement – and that’s before you add in the lost opportunity cost of failing to invest that money? Does this mean you should stop eating lunch?
The stunning impact of fund fees on a retirement portfolio,” (On Wall Street, May 18, 2017)

Investments – Ah, the Good Old Days…:
Times were when investment advisers focused exclusively on investment objectives, portfolio management, and discovering undervalued stocks. Now, thanks to dual registration, it’s all about budgeting, personal finances, and this mysterious phrase “asset allocation.”  Would could we return to that simpler world. You knew who you then. Girls were girls and men were men. (Could, could we use a man like Herbert Hoover again). Those, certainly, were the days.
Kitces: The 4 pillars of retirement portfolio management,” (Financial Planning, May 15, 2017) Here’s an old school article. Just like Eddie Shore.
Is Now The Time For Active Management?” (Wealth Management, May 15, 2017) Well, everything goes in cycles, and there is a well-documented active/passive cycle, so, yeah, it makes sense.
Can My Retirement Savings Withstand A Bear Market?” (Forbes, May 18, 2017) Or is this not the right question to begin with? The answer lies in “buckets.” Think “buckets” and you’re bear market worries melt away.

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.
Plaintiffs and TIAA Reach Settlement in ERISA Challenge,” (PLANADVISER, May 12, 2017)
Participants Can Move Forward With Excessive Fee Claims Against Emory,” (PLANADVISER, May 12, 2017)
Participants Investing in HSAs Not Cutting Back on 401k Plans,” (PLANADVISER, May 12, 2017)
Retirement savings rates climb to record levels,” (Employee Benefit News, May 12, 2017)
Fidelity Finds Participants Saving at Record Levels,” (PLANADVISER, May 12, 2017)
Workers Are Killing It With Their 401ks – On Autopilot,” (Financial Advisor, May 15, 2017)
Duke Wins Some, Loses Some in 403(b) Excessive Fee Case,” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2017)
6 actions employers can take to boost retirement savings,” (BenefitsPRO, May 15, 2017)
Why retirement plans need a hands-on approach,” (Employee Benefit News, May 16, 2017)
Judge Weighs ‘Bizarre’ Contract Dispute Between Delta Retirees, Insurer,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 16, 2017)
Trust Company Suspends Services for New ESOPs Following Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2017)
Why retirement plans need a hands-on approach,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, May 17, 2017)
ERISA Class Action Targets Principal Over Crediting Rate,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2017)
Beating Conventional Wisdom Using Roth IRAs,” (Financial Advisor, May 18, 2017)
Employees look to employers for financial stability,” (Employee Benefit News, May 18, 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.
Mother’s Day should prioritize Mom’s retirement,” (BenefitsPRO, May 12, 2017)
Health savings account contributions can boost your retirement,” (CNBC, May 12, 2017)
Why Many Millennials’ Retirement Savings Will Be More Than Twice Baby Boomers’,” (Investor’s Business Daily, May 15, 2017)
One-Third of Americans Stopped Retirement Savings at Least Once,” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2017)
You’re killing it with your 401k—on autopilot,” (BenefitsPRO, May 15, 2017)
Retirement savings rates climb to record levels,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, May 15, 2017)
The One Retirement Number You Need To Know,” (Forbes, May 15, 2017)
Rich Retirees Are Hoarding Cash Out Of Fear,” (Financial Advisor, May 16, 2017)
Millennials aren’t listening to advice about retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, May 16, 2017)
Are Older Americans Being Too Cautious With Saving and Spending?” (PLANADVISER, May 16, 2017)
3 money mistakes that can ruin your finances fast,” (CBS News, May 16, 2017)
How People 50+ Will Live In The Near And Distant Future,” (Forbes, May 16, 2017)
The Inoculation Of Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, May 17, 2017)
401k plans and Home Equity Make Up Most Retirement Savings,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2017)
Tick Tock: Introducing The Retirement Savings ‘Cash-Out Clock’,” (The 401k Specialist, May 17, 2017)
How To Reap Free Retirement Cash,” (Forbes, May 17, 2017)
Retirement: When’s the Right Time to Move?” (Money, May 17, 2017)
In Retirement Planning, Old ‘Rules’ Can Lead To Failure,” (Financial Advisor, May 18, 2017)
Many Participants in the Dark About Retirement Readiness,” (PLANADVISER, May 18, 2017)
Student loans vs. retirement savings makes for tough choice,” (BenefitsPRO, May 18, 2017)
Six Tips To Increase Retirement Readiness,” (Financial Advisor, May 18, 2017)
Here’s the new retirement goal: Love your job and keep it,” (CNBC, May 18, 2017)
Americans Worried About Retirement but Half Not Saving,” (PLANADVISER, May 18, 2017)
Money Milestones: This is how your finances should look in your late 20s,” (MarketWatch, May 19, 2017)
How can I save for retirement if I don’t have a 401k?” (CNN, May 18, 2017)
This may be the biggest financial mistake millennials are making,” (MarketWatch, May 19, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Ary Rosenbaum: Small 401k Plans Have Bigger Problems Than Larger Plans |
Fi360 Fiduciary Talk 48: Health Savings Accounts in the Fiduciary Process |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm: What Phyllis Borzi got wrong |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm: Make sure everyone is on board with the change |
Pension Risk Matters: CLE Webinar About ERISA and Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds |
Squared Away Blog: Women Get a Bigger Social Security Bump |
RetirementRevised: One problem with delayed Social Security claims: Risk of higher Medicare Part B premiums |
Ary Rosenbaum: Simple Advice to Retirement Plan Sponsors |
Behavior Gap: Don’t Wait for Creativity Strike – Strike Creativity |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Morningstar: What We Know for Sure About In-Retirement Withdrawal Rates |
The Motley Fool: What Is My IRA RMD? |
Kiplinger: One Way Retirees Could Pay 0% in Capital Gains Taxes |
NAPA Net: Mixed Messages in 2nd University Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: Knowing How to Satisfy the Best Interest Standard |
NAPA Net: HSA, 401k Savers Outpace 401k Alone |
Kiplinger: The Emotional Side of Retirement Planning |
The Motley Fool: This Mistake Could Cost You $344,000 in Retirement Income |
NAPA Net: 3 Questions for Assessing a TDF’s Fixed Income Allocation |
NAPA Net: Must Managed Accounts Change to Survive and Thrive? |
NAPA Net: Rollover Rationale: Consolidation, Convenience |
The Motley Fool: Your Guide to Saving for Retirement if You Started Late |
NAPA Net: Senate Dems Look to Restore ERISA Exemption for State-Run Plans |
NAPA Net: Principal Must Deal With Class Action Challenging Excessive Fees |
NAPA Net: 5 Ways to Fix the Saver’s Credit |
The Motley Fool: 3 Dumb 401k Moves |
NAPA Net: Trump Closes ERISA Safe Harbor for State-Run Programs |
NAPA Net: Security Beyond Social Security |
NAPA Net: Ready for a New Wave of Fiduciary Litigation? |
Kiplinger: Alternative Investments Can Help Combat Slow Growth |
The Motley Fool: The Retirement Talk Every Couple Should Have |
NAPA Net: Open MEPs, Fiduciary Delay Dominate Hearing |
NAPA Net: Cali Says it Doesn’t Need Safe Harbor for State-Run Auto IRA Program |
The Motley Fool: 3 Things to Know If You’re Planning to Work in Your 70s |
Kiplinger: Seed a Roth IRA for Your Grandkids |
Kiplinger: Creating a Retirement Plan: Ideas to Get Started |

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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