In 2018, the 401(k) plan celebrated its 40th birthday! Though extremely popular today, 401(k) plans came about almost by accident. IRC Section 401(k) was passed into law as part of the Revenue Act of 1978 and was included to limit executive compensation. However, in 1980, Ted Benna of the Johnson Companies used the provision to create and get IRS approval of the first 401(k) plan for his company. For this he is often referred to as the father of the 401(k).
Natural disasters can cause upheaval in many aspects of victims’ lives and this destruction often extends to financial matters. What should otherwise be routine compliance for plan deadlines can prove difficult in these extreme events and the government tends to grant temporary relief in such cases.
It’s the time of year when Plan Sponsors scramble to deliver the myriad notices required to be given to their participants. Even with the help of service providers, the sheer number of notices can be overwhelming.
One of the most prevalent and difficult challenges for many twenty somethings these days is the repayment of their, often substantial, student loan debt. Statistics show that the average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree left school in 2016 with $28,446 in student loan debt.
Many American workers participate in company retirement plans, methodically contributing to their accounts over time to fund for life after work. Beyond benefiting from employer-funded plans, retirees commonly draw from additional savings tucked away in IRAs or after-tax savings accounts as well. Add Social Security payments to the mix and it should be a recipe for a secure retirement, right? While many retirees thoroughly plan for their retirement, the rising cost of living and unforeseen expenses can mean the retirement income may fall short of anticipated needs. The difference between your retirement income and actual expenses is known as your Retirement Income Gap.
Maintaining a retirement plan for your employees is no easy task. At various points during the year, employers and HR departments field participant questions, help with enrollments, deliver notices and statements, and participate in the distribution process. However, an additional responsibility, and one of the most important, is the collection of data that is used for compliance testing and government reporting. Though all these duties are important, one task drastically affects the outcome of your compliance testing; accurate reporting of all employee information to your third-party administrator. Sound onerous? Not really.
Times can get tough for people. With the onset of Hurricane Harvey having decimated parts of the Gulf Coast and Hurricane Irma following its destructive lead, we are reminded that at any point we may find ourselves in hardship. Companies make layoffs, natural disasters occur, emergencies… well, emerge. With nowhere else to turn, some will look to their 401k for their own disaster relief. A withdrawal in the form of a "hardship distribution" is one of the tools that participants may use in this situation.
The latest news regarding retirement plans has centered around service provider fees. While fees are a highly important aspect of managing an employer-sponsored retirement plan, they are not the only metric of your overall retirement plan's health. A low-cost retirement plan does not necessarily parallel a fruitful pension program for employees. Studies show that since Social Security was never designed to fully fund an individual's retirement, employer-sponsored retirement plans have become an integral part of employees' overall financial plan for their future. Relying so heavily on this one component should prompt any plan sponsor to ask one very straightforward question… How healthy is my company's retirement program?
The age-old debate of using a bundled vs unbundled model for a 401k plan has troubled plan sponsors for years. Try a Google search for “Bundled vs. Unbundled 401k“. Every provider and 401k resource seems to list the pros and cons of each model and then either promote their strategy or leave the plan sponsor with all the pros and cons, still wondering which service model is best for their 401k plan.