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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/19/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/19/19
April 22
00:03 2019

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 to Counter the Top 5 Excuses People Are Using to Explain Why They’re Not Saving Right Now for Their Own Retirement,” (, April 16, 2019) Looking for an equal and opposite reaction for those intent on continued delays in saving for retirement? This article reveals 5 effective counter punches.

Other Top Stories:
Who Should I Name As My IRA Beneficiary?” (Forbes, April 18, 2019) These seven questions help any owner of a retirement plan avoid a mistake than can cost their heirs dearly.

Compliance – Whole Lotta Things Goin’ On:
You know all those images a fly sees through its eye? That’s what going on here. Don’t be too concerned, though. The lack of focus makes for some fresh reading, unlike our next category.
Unrelated Taxable Income and Pensions,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2019) More fallout from the now not-so-new tax law.
Yale Prof REALLY Wrong on 401k ‘Failure’,” (401K Specialist, April 11, 2019) Same old, same old, merely repackaged in a new book. The article does a nice job debunking it, but chances are you already knew how to do that.
State Pension Assets Rise 6% In 2018,” (Financial Advisor, April 15, 2019) That’s the good news. On the flip side, they’re still a billion in the hole.
Two Major Regulatory Issues Dominating 401k Discussion,” (401K Specialist, April 15, 2019) Surprise! It’s e-delivery and missing participants. And you were expecting – what? – the MEP?
Potential Traps in The DOL’s Temporary Enforcement Policy,” (401K Specialist, April 16, 2019) Brokers are exposed with the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule BIC Exemption. That should actually tell you something about the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule.

Fiduciary – What’s That You Say? New Jersey Just Went Fiduciary?:
You can tell it’s a dry news week when everyone’ writing about the same story. It kinda makes you wonder: If everyone’s writing about the same story, is it really a story worth writing about? Well, at least there’s a story there, unlike our next category.
State-Based Fiduciary Standards,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2019) The lay of the land.
Fred Knows 401k Fiduciary,” (401K Specialist, April 12, 2019) He certainly does.
New Jersey Moves To Impose Fiduciary Rule On Brokers,” (Financial Advisor, April 15, 2019) And the wheel turns.
New Jersey Unveils Proposed Fiduciary Rule,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 15, 2019) Another take.
New Jersey Latest State to Issue Fiduciary Regulations,” (PLANADVISER, April 16, 2019) We now officially have a crowd.
The SEC Needs to Keep a Decades-Old Promise to the Investing Public,” (Wealth Management, April 16, 2019) Finally, it’s not about New Jersey. This is a great piece that brings up the most ironic point of the efforts to “standardize” fiduciary.

Fees – Move Along Now, Nothing to See Here:
In the world of extremes, which do you prefer: Nothing or everything? Those inclined to the latter might like our next category.

Investments – ESGs, Tulips, and The Madness of Markets:
Don’t look know but we may be heading into official “fad” territory. This is where investors can make some real money. Notice the term is “investors,” not “speculators.” Both follow fads, but for different reasons. The latter literally “follows” them, gets caught up in their wake, and come crashing down when the wave crests. The former tracks them, always staying one step ahead, getting in as the swell begins and selling just before the crest. It’s the difference between buy-low/sell-high and buy-high/sell-low. That’s the difference between making money and not.
The Role of Alternatives,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2019) The challenge here is whether this is really a good idea or merely a confirmation that the market is topping off. In the latter case, when people start thinking they can’t continue to get the same growth rates they’ve been getting in stock, they turn their attention to “alternative” options. Not sayin’ we’re there. Not sayin’ we’re not. Just askin’ the same question everyone else should be askin’.
Impact of Executive Order on ESG, Proxy Voting May Be Muted,” (PLANADVISER, April 12, 2019) Only because fiduciaries were already on the case.
Majority Of U.S. Workers Want ESG Funds In Their Retirement Plans, Survey Says,” (Financial Advisor, April 15, 2019) And that’s why they need a good fiduciary to guide them.
How To Prepare For Inevitable Moment When Volatility Explodes,” (Financial Advisor, April 15, 2019) Why think this time is any different from any other time. The point is, you should always be prepared.
Why Low-Risk And Diversification Equal Superior Retirement Withdrawals,” (Financial Advisor, April 15, 2019) This is essentially about sequence of return risk.
Does index fund address social issues? SEC official seeks transparency,” (CNBC, April 15, 2019) Does this really matter to the typical investor? And, for those investors whom this matters to, should it?
The 4% Rule Viewed Through A Low-Risk Lens,” (Financial Advisor, April 16, 2019)
Trump brings scrutiny to environmentally conscious 401k investments,” (CNBC, April 17, 2019) See above.
Ariana Grande’s ‘7 Rings’ Means ‘Ka-Ching’ for Michigan Retirement Pensioners,” (401K Specialist, April 18, 2019) Here’s an investment that’s music to the ears for public employees of The Great Lakes State.
Retirees Want Nothing To Do With Bitcoin,” (Financial Advisor, April 18, 2019) Why speculate when you don’t need to? Let the young kids do that.

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.
An IPS Is Not Required,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2019)
Retirement, brokerage account fraud increasing,” (Financial Planning, April 11, 2019)
DOL’s Target for Missing 401k Participants Is ‘Zero’,” (401K Specialist, April 12, 2019)
Florida Retiree Awarded Full Restitution in FINRA Dispute,” (Wealth Management, April 15, 2019)
HSAs can help millennials save for retirement,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 15, 2019)
Set-it-and-forget-it plan design could harm 401k investors,” (BenefitsPRO, April 15, 2019)
How Auto Portability Serves 401k Participants’ Best Interests,” (401K Specialist, April 15, 2019)
How Do You Define Retirement?” (Forbes, April 15, 2019)
Employers offer HSA as health costs top retirement priority,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 16, 2019)
Largest DB Plans Move to Fixed Income and Continues to Derisk,” (PLANADVISER, April 16, 2019)
Use voluntary benefits to help employee financial wellness,” (Employee Benefit News, April 16, 2019)
Small Business Owners Need a Nudge to Offer Retirement Plans,” (PLANADVISER, April 17, 2019)
Court Denies Summary Judgement in SafeWay ERISA Lawsuits,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 17, 2019)
District Court Again Allows SafeWay ERISA Lawsuits to Proceed,” (PLANADVISER, April 17, 2019)
New Research on 401K Plans, from Top Researchers,” (Retirement Income Journal, April 19, 2019)

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.
If I Had a Million Dollars,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2019)
Low savings hurting boomer generation retirement readiness,” (Employee Benefit News, April 10, 2019)
Working Past Age 65 Easier Said Than Done,” (Financial Advisor, April 12, 2019)
People often claim their Social Security earlier than they need to,” (CNBC, April 12, 2019)
How To Exempt Your Retirement Account From Taxes,” (Forbes, April 12, 2019)
An increasing number of savers are rejecting retirement accounts in favor of these investments,” (MarketWatch, April 13, 2019)
70% of 50-Somethings Are Making This Big Retirement Mistake,” (Yahoo, April 15, 2019)
Why You Should NEVER Touch Your 401k Before Retirement,” (Money, April 15, 2019)
Nearing retirement but not ready to fund it: Baby boomers,” (BenefitsPRO, April 15, 2019)
Tax Reform Ruined Roth IRA Conversions, but Hope Exists,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 16, 2019)
Splashy weddings and 401k cash outs: America’s biggest money regrets,” (CNBC, April 16, 2019)
How Student Loans Hurt Retirement Security,” (401K Specialist, April 16, 2019)
One reason lawmakers are hesitant to fix Social Security: the millennials,” (MarketWatch, April 16, 2019)
Helping Generation X stay on target for retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, April 17, 2019)
Nearly 60% Of Millennials Look To Lottery For Retirement, Survey Says,” (Financial Advisor, April 17, 2019)
Retirement saving and the Mañana Syndrome – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, April 17, 2019)
Here’s why you may want to reconsider doing that backdoor Roth IRA conversion,” (MarketWatch, April 17, 2019)
Delusions of retirement?” (BenefitsPRO, April 17, 2019)
Top 15 States With Highest Retirement Income,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 17, 2019)
Retirees Want Nothing To Do With Bitcoin,” (Financial Advisor, April 18, 2018)
Nothing Saved for Retirement? ‘Austerity’ Could Be Your Last Chance,” (Money Matters, April 19, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Squared Away Blog: Dementia is a Threat to Managing Money |
RetirementRevised: Jill Schlesinger on four ways smart people wreck their retirement |
RetirementRevised: Elizabeth White on the trauma of midlife career loss |
RetirementRevised: Is it time to raise Social Security’s retirement age? |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The Don’ts of LinkedIn |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Make sure you can actually sponsor that plan |
Squared Away Blog: Know the Social Security Survivor Benefit |
Ary Rosenbaum: Retirement Plan Advisors Advantage |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
National Association of Plan Advisors: What’s the State of Plan Sponsor Training? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ERISA Litigation Tab: $6.2 Billion |
The Motley Fool: Most Americans Don’t Know About These 2 Simple Ways to Boost Your Retirement Savings |
National Association of Plan Advisors: NJ Forges Ahead on Fiduciary Standard |
National Association of Plan Advisors: That Sinking Feeling? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: 401k Investors Continue to Prefer Fixed Income Over Equities |
The Motley Fool: Forfeiting Social Security Benefits: How It Really Works |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Case of the Week: Tax Reporting of Deductible Retirement Plan |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Contributions for Unincorporated Businesses |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Three Working Generations Share the Same Top Retirement Concern |
National Association of Plan Advisors: PSCA Launches 403(b) Benchmarking Survey |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Advisor Now Embroiled in Excessive Fee Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: One Event Away from a Crisis |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Americans Getting Accustomed to Market Volatility |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Technology and Retirement Plans: Boon or Boondoggle? |
Kiplinger: How to Adopt a Retirement Distribution Mindset |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Advisors See Uptick in Plan Sponsors’ Interest in Retirement Income |
National Association of Plan Advisors: READER POLL: Who’s Training Plan Sponsors? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: SEC’s Jackson Reportedly to Depart by Fall |

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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