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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 9/28/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 9/28/18
October 01
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:
What Every Company 401k Plan Fiduciary Needs to Know about MEPs,” (, September 25, 2018) “As we approach clarity with regards to Congressional action and/or implementation of the Trump Executive Order, we may find need to expand these MEP guidelines. Until then, though, companies in business associations where commonality exists may wish to use these ground rules when determining if a 401k MEP is the right course to take.”

Compliance – Clash of the Titans:
It’s become increasingly apparent that, as Dilbert creator Scott Adams says, although we live in the same world, it’s like we’re watching two different movies. Same set of data points, diametrically opposed conclusions. Forget financial literacy, what we need is science literacy.
Former Biden Bro Floats Really Awful 401k Fix,” (401K Specialist, September 25, 2018) Yeah, about that idea that it’s not your money to save…
Answering 401k MEP questions – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, September 26, 2018) It’s not what they think they know, it’s what they don’t think they don’t know.

Fiduciary – Like We Didn’t See This Coming:
There are two things most people don’t find easy to read for understanding – the instructions on how to assemble “easy-to-assemble” furniture and anything written by a lawyer (i.e., a regulator).
Investors Give Best-Interest Rule Thumbs Down At SEC Event,” (Financial Advisor, September 21, 2018) These are non-professionals. They said they couldn’t understand it. Does that surprise anyone?

Fees – Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel:
This is what you write about when there’s nothing left to write about.
DOL Rule Is Dead, but Clean Shares Will Live On: Cerulli,” (ThinkAdvisor, September 25, 2018) Sure, they were born of the now vacated Fiduciary Rule, but their marketing purpose lives on. If you get what we mean.
Market reality check: Why your 2018 investment statement is misleading,” (CNBC, September 25, 2018) This is a novel approach – taxes as fees. Why not?
What the What? Most Foolish 401k Freakout Yet,” (401K Specialist, September 27, 2018) Yes, it’s about fees, and it’s about five years out of date.

Investments – You Want Choice? You Can’t Handle Choice!:
It doesn’t take a Jack Nicholson to state the obvious – there’s a whole book on it. Too many choices spoil the 401k.
Minimalism can solve the problem of too many investment choices,” (CNBC, September 25, 2019) Yes, the paradox of choice – too many and you get so flustered you end up not choosing anything – which is not a good choice.

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.
NYU Calls for Sanctions Against Workers, Attorneys,” (PLANADVISER, September 21, 2018)
The Importance of Addressing Participant Complaints,” (PLANADVISER, September 21, 2018)
Helping Participants Brace for Market Volatility,” (PLANADVISER, September 21, 2018)
Everything is Awesome! Why 401k Plan Problems Go Undetected,” (401K Specialist, September 25, 2018)
10 years after Great Recession, retirement savings have improved: TCRS,” (BenefitsPRO, September 26, 2018)
To avoid stalling, retirement readiness initiatives need lift,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, September 27, 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.
More older Americans are ‘unretiring’,” (CBS News, September 19, 2018)
Retirement planning: Should an FLP be dissolved due to changes in estate taxes?” (Arizona Daily Star, September 20, 2018)
7 Strategies to Bump Up Your Retirement Date,” (US News, September 20, 2018)
The Rich Person Roth: For The Most Tax-Free Retirement Income,” (Forbes, September 20, 2018)
Retirement planning mistakes you probably don’t realize you’re making,” (CNN, September 21, 2018)
Math Without Meaning: A Hidden Flaw in 401k Education,” (401K Specialist, September 25, 2018)
Most women make this crucial financial retirement mistake,” (Fox Business, September 24, 2018)
IRS to retirees: Check your pension and Social Security withholdings ASAP!” (The Washington Post, September 24, 3018)
401k Savers Keep On Truckin’ Despite Shocks, Setbacks,” (401K Specialist, September 25, 2018)
Retire Early With No IRS Penalties,” (Forbes, September 25, 2018)
What is an Inherited IRA? Distribution Rules and Examples,” (TheStreet, September 26, 2018)
Here’s how much you have to save every month to retire with $750,000,” (CNBC, September 26, 2018)
True Retirement Readiness Must Go Beyond Assets And Income,” (Financial Advisor, September 27, 2018)
Whatchya Got? Almost Half Don’t Know Amount of Partner’s Retirement Savings,” (401K Specialist, September 27, 2018)
These are the bad things about early retirement that no one talks about,” (MarketWatch, September 27, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Ary Rosenbaum: They Say Their Plan is OK, But Plan Sponsors Usually Have No Idea |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The problem with nepotism |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: My Problem With Networking Events |
RetirementRevised: New tax law could create underpayment headaches for retirees |
Fred Reish: Best Interest and Best Practices #3 |
Ary Rosenbaum: Classic 401k Plan Sponsors Mistakes That Often Leads To Costly Fixes |
RetirementRevised: Safeguarding Your Wealth From the Effects of Cognitive Decline |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Early Projections Suggest 2019 Increases in Most Contribution/Benefit Limits |
NAPA Net: NQ Plan Mission Now Focuses on ‘Mission Critical’ Workers |
NAPA Net: Study Finds Demand for Emergency Savings Benefit |
NAPA Net: DOL Drops Off MEP Proposal at OMB |
NAPA Net: Data ‘Minding’ |
NAPA Net: Opening Doors to the NQ Market: Tips from Advisors |
NAPA Net: Best Interest and Best Practices |
The Motley Fool: How Much Social Security Will I Get? A Step-by-Step Guide |
NAPA Net: 403(b) Plans Embracing More Auto Designs, Roth, Advisors |
NAPA Net: New Jersey to Create its Own Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: How Do Americans Perceive Their Financial Health? |
Kiplinger: Don’t Let a Gray Divorce Ruin Retirement Dreams |
NAPA Net: ARA Responds to DOL on E-Delivery Considerations |
The Motley Fool: Guess How Many Working Americans Have Less Than a Year’s Worth of Income Saved for Retirement |
Kiplinger: Smart Strategies for Giving to Charity |
NAPA Net: Retirement Component of Tax Reform 2.0 Moves to Senate |
NAPA Net: READER POLL: And the Most Over-Hyped Industry Trend Is… |
NAPA Net: Principal Prevails in PFIO Excessive Fee Suit |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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