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Exclusive Video Interview: Ted Benna One-on-One

September 19
00:36 2017

In 1980, Ted Benna discovered the retirement equivalent of penicillin. While working one weekend for a retirement plan client seeking to convert a cash bonus plan into a qualified plan, Benna came up with the idea of adding an employer matching contribution. He looked hard, but he couldn’t find anything in the IRS code that prohibited this. Yes, it wasn’t clear the IRS allowed it (that was something the Reagan administration would clarify later), but the seeds of the 401k were planted. Today, the 401k plan represents the retirement back-bone for millions of people.

But not everyone. In this exclusive one-on-one video interview, Chief Contributing Editor Chris Carosa, interviews the man who many call “The Father of the 401k.” Carosa, a former AM disc jockey and sportsbroadcaster, brings his full interview skills to the set as he seamlessly shifts from cheery morning talk show host to serious NPR mode while allowing Benna to be Benna. Benna, for his part, expertly explains why small businesses – where most employees work – face nearly insurmountable obstacles when it comes to establishing a 401k, America’s preferred retirement savings vehicle. He then shows how to re-frame existing retirement plan vehicles – which he collectively calls “Benna401ks” – in a way that small business owners and employees will find more appealing. Although Benna’s models are variations of standard IRAs (with a special twist), Benna speaks of them as if they are “401k” plans. As retirement plan professionals know, there’s a reason for reframing IRAs this way, and Benna shows how it can be done.

The following interview will be available for free to registered members of through September 30, 2017. After that, only Preferred Members (click here to upgrade your membership to Preferred) will be able to view it. You can read the full transcript here in the free section of


About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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