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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/5/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/5/18
January 08
00:03 2018

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:
How Can Fiduciaries Use New Tax Cuts to Nudge 401k and IRA Retirement Savers?” (, January 3, 2018) There’s a chance for savers to increase the odds they’ll retire in comfort thanks to the 2017 tax law. Here’s how, but the window of opportunity will close fast.

Compliance – A Scenic View:
Is the glass half empty or half full? It all depends on your perspective. And perspective is something you can train yourself to be disciplined about. Here a take that definitely doesn’t reflect a “Barbara Streisand” perspective.
Did the new tax cut just make everyone rich? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, January 3, 2017) But only if employees make the right decision.

Fiduciary – Crossing the Streams:
Try to imagine all things fiduciary stopping instantly and every adviser playing by the same set of rules. It’s not exactly cats and dogs living together, but some may claim that.
SEC Offers Guidance on DOL Fiduciary Rule Compliance,” (PLANADVISER, December 30, 2017) Well, isn’t that special. Not sure how the SEC can interpret DOL rules on behalf of mutual funds. We’ll see.

Fees – Still Partying Like it’s 1999:
But not for long.

Investments – The Rise of the Anti-Indexers:
This isn’t about being contrarian. This is about being contrary to the contrarians. And it just might make sense.
Even academics are attacking index funds now,” (MarketWatch, January 3, 2018) The first academic research study that showed that index funds aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be appeared in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning. The article doesn’t mention this.
Retirement savers should ignore market forecasts,” (CBS News, January 3, 2018) This is why your only benchmark should be your own Goal-Oriented Target and not some arbitrary index.
Advisers Need to Find Balance With Investors’ Risk Aversion,” (PLANADVISER, January 4, 2018) Again, it’s only your real-life Goal-Oriented Target that matters, not your subjective feelings towards whatever your define as “risk.”

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.
Aflac doubles 401k match after tax overhaul,” (BenefitsPRO, December 28, 2018)
‘The Big 3’ for Retirement Plan Participants,” (The 401(k) Specialist, December 29, 2017)
Here’s What the $27 Trillion US Retirement Industry Looks Like,” (ThinkAdvisor, January 2, 2018)
Pension plan funding levels rose in 2017,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, January 2, 2018)
Why advisers must talk tax-free retirement strategies with clients,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, January 3, 2018)
How to turn your retirement plan into a millennial magnet,” (Employee Benefit News, January 5, 2018)

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.
9 New Year’s resolutions for the nearly retired,” (MarketWatch, December 29, 2017)
Three Things That Might Ruin Your Retirement Plans In 2018,” (Forbes, December 29, 2017)
How to get the most out of your 2018 financial resolutions,” (CNBC, December 31, 2017)
This rollover mistake can sink your retirement savings,” (CNBC, January 2, 2018)
Five Steps To Play Retirement Catch-Up,” (Forbes, January 2, 2018)
One Thing You Can Do Now to Improve Your Odds of Retiring Soon,” (Money, January 2, 2018)
Early Retirement Aligns With Early Death, Study Finds,” (ThinkAdvisor, January 2, 2018)
The future of retirement is brighter than ever: Ramesh Ponnuru,” (BenefitsPRO, January 3, 2018)
3 Things That Will Improve Your Retirement Life in the Future,” (US News, January 3, 2018)
What this financial adviser learned about retirement when she retired,” (MarketWatch, January 4, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Data “Points”: A List of 10 ‘Best of’ Lists |
Squared Away Blog: Baker’s Dozen: Popular Retirement Blogs |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #75 |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Sixth Circuit Rules That A Construction Industry Employer Did Not Have Any Withdrawal Liability To The Pension Fund From Which It Withdrew |
Squared Away Blog: New Yorker Cartoon Considers 401k Plans |
RetirementRevised: For retirees, rising interest rates are a double-edged sword |
Business of Benefits: Will the Association Health Plans Regs Open the Door for “Association MEPs” (“AMEPS”)? |
Ary Rosenbaum: Plan Providers Should Encourage Participants To Rollover Assets |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: 2017 Closes with a Bang for Average 401k Balances |
NAPA Net: 3 New Year’s Resolutions for Plan Fiduciaries |
NAPA Net: Investors Confident About Financial Goals, But Will That Continue? |
NAPA Net: 3 Tips to Encourage More Employees to Contribute to HSAs |
Kiplinger: 5 Ways to Help Control Your Taxes in Retirement |
NAPA Net: The State of Stable Value Fund Litigation |
NAPA Net: New Tax Law Affects Exec Comp Deduction, Other Provisions |
NAPA Net: Tax Reform Triggers Bump in 401k Match | The unexpected resiliency of retirement assets |
NAPA Net: What Does Sen. Hatch’s Departure Mean for the Retirement Industry? |
NAPA Net: Financial Stability Top Focus for Americans in 2018, Survey Finds |
Morningstar: Five (Easy) Steps to Setting Up a 401k |
Kiplinger: Baby Boomers are Rewriting Retirement History |
NAPA Net: Doll Sees a ‘Less Perfect Year’ Ahead |
NAPA Net: Washington State Poised to Launch Small Business Retirement Plan |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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