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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 11/9/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 11/9/18
November 12
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:
The Fiduciary Parent: How to Best Protect Your Child From the Day When the Promise of Social Security Finally Fails,” (, November 6, 2018) Why rely on the vagaries of Washington politics when it comes to their future retirement when you can teach them to control their own destiny?

Compliance – Past and Future:
While those old enough to remember ring the joy of anniversary, those yet young enough to think ahead see joy in a new birth.
Celebrating 40 Years of the 401k,” (PLANADVISER, November 7, 2018) Just because.
How the MEP rule could reshape small business retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, November 8, 2018) In a different world, this would be the biggest story of the year.

Fiduciary – What’s a Conflict and What’s Not?:
You paint a picture and you get to decide what it means. Apparently, the same is true with life.
Advisors May Have A Conflict On Pension Vs. Lump-Sum Decision,” (Financial Advisor, November 5, 2018) There’s an appearance of a conflict because if the retiree takes a lump-sum then the person doesn’t hire the adviser (and therefore the adviser doesn’t get paid). Not sure that this is a real conflict, since it is ultimate the retiree’s decision and, at the point prior to rolling over the retirement assets, the adviser isn’t advising, he’s selling (his services). This is why sales should not be considered a fiduciary act. What would make this scenario a fiduciary act is if the adviser would get paid for advice whether or not the pension is taken as a lump-sum, but would get paid more if the lump-sum is taken. That represents a true conflict-of-interest.
SEC’s Own Investor Committee Says Reg BI Needs Fiduciary Principles,” (Financial Advisor, November 7, 2018) Meanwhile, back at the SEC, things begin to get a little dicey.
SEC Client Disclosure Document Sows Confusion, Survey Says,” (Financial Advisor, November 8, 2018) And this surprises who?

Fees – They’re Coming to Take You Away:
Ha, ha! Ho, ho! Hee, hee! Speaking of real conflicts-of interest…
SEC: ‘Scores’ of RIAs investigated under share-class disclosure initiative,” (BenefitsPRO, November 2, 2018) This is similar to another article from last week, just with a different take.

Investments – Eggs, Baskets, and True Portfolio Management:
While it’s not a lie that mutual funds represent diversified portfolios, they aren’t the same a personalized portfolio. That can mean a world of difference in results, attaining goals, and overall satisfaction.
Should you have your entire 401k in a target-date fund?” (MarketWatch, November 6, 2018) It turns out one size doesn’t fit all. Who knew?
Institutional Assets Posted Median Gain of 2.63% in Q3,” (PLANADVISER, November 7, 2018) Yes, but remember, October was not in the third quarter.

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.
Investigations Intensify,” (PLANADVISER, September/October 2018)
Appropriate Benchmarking,” (PLANADVISER, September /October 2018)
Helping Employees Retire Sooner Saves Money for Employers,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 31, 2018)
Parties Propose Settlement of Jackson National Self-Dealing Suit,” (PLANADVISER, November 5, 2018)
Key Parts of AT&T ERISA Lawsuit Dismissal Motion Fail,” (PLANADVISER, November 5, 2018)
Taft Hartley, Public Plans Outperform Other Institutional Investors in Q3,” (PLANADVISER, November 6, 2018)
How to help employees understand Roth contributions,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, November 7, 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.
Shortcut To Paradise,” (Financial Advisor, November 2018)
A Golden Opportunity,” (Financial Advisor, November 1, 2018)
Averting A 401k Disaster,” (Financial Advisor, November 1, 2018)
How Much Do 401k Participants Know About Taxes in Retirement?” (401K Specialist, November 1, 2018)
Retirees Lack Awareness of Income Tax Hits: Nationwide,” (ThinkAdvisor, November 2, 2018)
You Can Put More Into Your 401k and IRA for 2019,” (Money, November 2, 2018)
How you should react to the market’s swings, depending on your age,” (CNBC, November 3, 2018)
Former Broker Defrauded Retired Clients,” (Financial Advisor, November 5, 2018)
Retirement savings balances hit new record highs,” (CNBC, November 5, 2018)
This one trick can help retirees save big on prescription drug costs,” (MarketWatch, November 6, 2018)
The Spreading FIRE Movement and the Advisors’ Role: Travis Shakespeare,” (ThinkAdvisor, November 6, 2018)
Debtor’s 401K and IRA Aren’t Exempt from Bankruptcy Claims,” (Wealth Management, November 6, 2018)
Consistent Retirement Savings and Investing Leads to Higher Balances,” (PLANADVISER, November 6, 2018)
3 Reasons Why Proactive Planning Is Critical For Claiming Social Security Benefits,” (Forbes, November 6, 2018)
The midterm elections could have a big impact in your retirement — even if you’re still young,” (MarketWatch, November 6, 2018)
Don’t neglect the new generation – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, November 7, 2018)
Millennials & Money: Their Savings Priorities Aren’t As Twisted As You Think,” (401K Specialist, November 7, 2018)
Should you save for your retirement or your child’s college education?” (Fox Business, November 7, 2018)
How Are 401k Savers Leveraging, Engaging Tax-Advantaged Accounts?” (401K Specialist, November 7, 2018)
How To Tap Into The Growing Talent Pool Of ‘Unretirees’,” (Forbes, November 7, 2018)
One-third of baby boomers had nothing saved for retirement at age 58,” (CNBC, November 7, 2018)
Should a retiree rent or buy a home? Here’s how to know,” (The Washington Post, November 7, 2018)
When it comes to saving, more Americans are starting early,” (BenefitsPRO, November 8, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Fred Reish: Best Interest and Best Practices #8 |
Nerd’s Eye View: Coordinating Contributions Across Multiple Defined Contribution Plans |
A New Way 2 four01k: 7 Step 401k Census Checklist |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Sure it’s the employer’s fault, but come on now |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The problem with committees |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: Retirement Today Doesn’t Come as Easy Yesterday |
NAPA Net: Settlement Struck in Proprietary Fund Suit |
NAPA Net: OregonSaves Now Allows Non-employees, MEPs to Participate | The 401k Turns 40: It Has Come a Long Way, but What Is Next? |
NAPA Net: The Birth of a Notion |
NAPA Net: Small Website Enhancements Help Improve Retirement Outcomes |
The Motley Fool: Your 2019 Guide to Maxing Out Your Retirement Savings |
Kiplinger: Estate Planning for ‘Hard’ Assets Like Art, Heirlooms |
NAPA Net: Fallout: The Impact on Retirement Issues |
NAPA Net: CalSavers Pilot to Launch This Month |
NAPA Net: Many Retirees Wish They Had Prepared Better for Taxes in Retirement |
NAPA Net: DOL Seeks Input on Auto Portability |
NAPA Net: MEPs: How Do Advisors Fit In? |
NAPA Net: Participant Trading Tempo Picked Up in October |
NAPA Net: Fidelity 401k Balances Hit Record Highs |
Kiplinger: Contribute More to Retirement Accounts in 2019 |
NAPA Net: SEC Road Tests Relationship Summary |
NAPA Net: READER POLL: Could More (Consolidation) Mean Less? |
NAPA Net: SEC’s Stein: Saving Should Not Be Harder Than Spending |

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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