KnowHow Archive

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Plan Sponsors Participants
  • 2013 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2013Setting a New Course

    How will you engage participants to be retirement ready in 2014?

    November 2013Talk of the Town

    A focus on retirement income

    October 2013Investment Proficiency

    Educating your participants about the terms on their statements

    September 2013Language Barrier

    Industry terminology can be hard to understand

    August 2013Social Security Benefits

    Another piece of the retirement income pie

    July 2013Participant Exit Strategies

    Sharing all options somehow

    June 2013Avoiding 401(k) Loans

    Participants may not know the potential consequences

    May 2013QDRO Quandaries

    Administering a qualified domestic relations order can be complicated

    March 2013True Value

    Fee disclosure opens the door to further reinforce the value of your plan

    February 2013Time to Pay the Piper

    Sponsors have a responsibility to educate participants about RMDs

    January 2013Goal Oriented

    How to get participants on target when it comes to retirement savings

  • 2012 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 20122012 Know How in Review

    Over the past year, the Know How series has focused on a number of key participant communication topics

    November 2012Good Form

    Beneficiary designation should not be an afterthought

    October 2012Roths Revisited

    If your plan doesn’t offer a Roth 401(k), it’s time to reconsider

    August 2012Unraveling Annuities

    Confusion abounds among participants, and even plan sponsors, in regard to these lifetime income vehicles

    August 2012Measuring Tape

    How does your company retirement plan stack up?

    July 2012Pocket ‘Watch’

    Participants all too often opt for the cash instead of the rollover

    June 2012Account Management

    This option can make investment decisions more manageable for participants

    March 2012To or Through?

    Do your target-date choices take participants to—or through—retirement?

    May 2012Guiding Hands

    Picking the right financial adviser

    February 2012Savings Rates

    It should come as no surprise that most participants contribute to the level of the company match. In fact, a 2011 study by Fidelity Investments of 1,000 current and retired workplace plan participants found 92% of ­current ­­workplace participants indicated they chose to participate in their 401(k) because it is important or very important not to lose out on company-match dollars. Generally speaking, that is viewed as a positive sign that workers understand­ the mechanics of the match, appreciate its value, and recognize its importance in retirement savings.

    January 2012Loan Arrangements

    Loan programs typically are positioned as an opportunity for participants to borrow from themselves and to pay themselves back with interest.

  • 2011 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 20112011 Know How in Review

    Over the past year, the "Know How" series has focused on a number of key participant communication topics.

    November 2011Testing Your Know How

    Testing your participant's Know How knowledge

    October 2011Their Money’s Worth

    Helping participants figure out their retirement plan fees

    September 2011Gear Shifts

    Making automatic plan designs better

    August 2011Requiring Minds

    Dealing with the RMD

    July 2011"Also" Ran

    Five things you (also) need to know about QDIAs

    June 2011Sighting the Right Target

    Helping participants understand target-date designs

    May 2011Restrict "Ed"

    Helping participants understand less-liquid fund investments

    March 2011Recovery Road

    That resurgent stock market may have rebalanced participant portfolios

    February 2011Robbing Peter To Pay Paul?

    Loan programs typically are positioned as an opportunity for participants to ­borrow from themselves and to pay themselves back with interest.

    January 2011Over Roth?

    On September 27, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the "Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010," which allows the taxable transfer of a participant’s contributed pre-tax money to an in-plan Roth option. Prior to that legislative change, a participant who wanted to convert to a Roth had to do it outside his workplace retirement plan to a Roth IRA.

  • 2010 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2010Know Where, Know How

    Over the past year, the Know How series has focused on a number of key participant communication topics.

    November 2010Quiz "Show"

    A retirement education quiz

    October 2010Pocket "Watch"

    Keeping an eye on that retirement plan distribution

    September 2010Cost Conscience?

    Figuring out retirement plan costs

    August 2010Question "Air"

    Question “Air” Picking the right financial adviser

    July 2010Measuring Up

    Is your retirement plan better than average?

    June 2010Managed “Account”

    Managing managed accounts

    May 2010Exchange "Rate"

    Should your retirement plan include exchange-traded funds?

    March 2010Making the Cut

    How does your retirement plan stack up?

    February 2010Maxxed Out?

    It should come as no surprise that most participants contribute to the level of the company match. Generally speaking, that is viewed as a positive result—as a sign that workers understand the mechanics of the match, appreciate its value, and recognize its importance in retirement savings. 

    January 2010Resolution "Trust"

    Helping out with some savings resolutions for the New Year

  • 2009 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    October 2009Made To Order

    Making sense of asset allocation choices

    September 2009Preserving Your Savings

    The cost of cashing out too soon

    August 2009'Through' Way

    Do your target-date choices take participants to—or through—retirement?

    July 2009Stool Pitching

    Helping workers understand the full picture

    June 2009Getting from Here to There

    This month, Know How tries to help participants focus on the critical process of figuring out how much they need to have saved for retirement.

    May 2009Cut Rates

    Let's face it: If you haven’t at least thought about reducing your company’s matching contribution, you probably are not doing your job (or you happen to be working at one of those few companies that is weathering the current ­downturn better than most).

    March 2009RMD Remedies

    Helping participants deal with the RMD

    February 2009Inherit 'Tense'

    Are your participant beneficiary designations up to date?

    January 2009The Right Things To Do

    I have always thought it was interesting that we bemoan the negatives of participant inertia (or sometimes try to turn that negative into a positive via "automatic" solutions)—except when it manifests itself during times of market turmoil.

  • 2008 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2008Putting It All Together

    Over the past year, the KnowHow series has focused on a number of key participant communication topics.

    November 2008Retirement Savings Quiz

    Most retirement-plan education programs (including this one) talk about the importance of saving early, the benefits of tax-deferred savings, and the need to diversify one's investments and to set goals.

    October 2008'Magic' Cull

    Participant education meetings have long touted the "magic" of compounding: that apparent miracle of finance whereby income earned on investments becomes part of an account balance, and earns more income that, in turn, adds to the account balance, which earns more income, and so on. The net result, of course, is that, at the end of a savings career, you wind up with a lot more money than you ever thought possible.

    September 2008(Not) Growing Pains

    The costs of cashing out too soon.

    August 2008Their Money's Worth

    Helping participants figure out their retirement plan fees.

    July 2008Easy Doesn't Always Do It

    In a day when most have access to technology with more processing power than the computers that took man to the moon, we seem to be less interested in simple than in "easy."

    June 2008Start Smarts

    Perhaps no provision in the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) has been as enthusiastically received as that of automatic enrollment.

    May 2008Loan Arrangements

    Loan programs typically are positioned as an opportunity for participants to borrow from themselves and to pay themselves back with interest.

    March 2008Impact Full

    Nearly two-thirds of the respondents to a recent PLANSPONSOR NewsDash survey said that participants need more fee disclosure.

    February 2008Warning Signs

    You've no doubt seen the occasional headline in your local newspaper about a local employer that has gone out of ­business and "abandoned" its 401(k) plan—or perhaps you have seen a story on www.plansponsor.com about a suit brought by the Department of Labor (DoL) to recover participant deferrals that were never deposited in their 401(k) plans.

    January 2008Credit 'Report'

    One of the more overlooked aspects of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) was, and is, the Saver's Credit—an income tax credit specifically designed to encourage lower-income workers to save for retirement.  

  • 2007 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2007Roundup

    The following special edition offers a handy reference guide to some of the most compelling topics.

    November 2007Retirement Savings Quiz

    Most retirement-plan education programs (including this one) talk about the importance of saving early, the benefits of tax-deferred savings, and the need to diversify one's investments and to set goals.

    October 2007Risk vs. Date

    In nearly 30 years working with employer-sponsored retirement plans, I am hard-pressed to call to mind a product innovation that has been adopted with as much vigor as the current generation of target-date funds.

    September 2007(Not) Growing Pains

    The costs of cashing out too soon.

    August 2007Easy Rider

    Odds are, your retirement plan is more complicated than it was 20 years ago.

    July 2007Savings Pace

    It has become commonplace to describe to workers the process of saving in a retirement plan as "paying yourself."

    June 2007Fees Ability

    Maybe it was that report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), perhaps the recent Congressional hearings­ or reports about the new 5500; of course, it might have been the Department of Labor's recent request for information,­ perchance the recent series of revenue-sharing lawsuits—or more than one of the above?

    May 2007Accelerated Developments

    Getting started is only half the battle when it comes to retirement plan participation.

    March 2007Statement of Purpose

    Inside the new participant notice requirements

    February 2007Meaning Full

    A participant perspective on the Pension Protection Act

    January 2007Got Roth?

    PPA provides new reason to look at Roth 401(k)

  • 2006 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    November 2006Retirement Savings Quiz

    Most retirement-plan education programs (including this one) talk about the importance of saving early, the benefits of tax-deferred savings, and the need to diversify one's investments and to set goals. They also talk about the fund choices available to participants and, generally, try to assist the participant in establishing his or her own risk-tolerance profile.

    October 2006“Basket” Case

    Helping you make a choice

    September 2006(Not) Growing Pains

    The costs of cashing out too soon

    August 2006Trip Planner

    Getting from here to there is just the beginning

    July 2006“Quick” Silver

    Early last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission ¬unanimously approved a rule that would require mutual fund intermediaries—including third-party administrators, recordkeepers, etc.—to identify to mutual fund companies suspected market-timers, supply their transaction information to those fund companies, and possibly restrict their trading. The SEC backed away from an earlier suggestion that funds be required to penalize market-timers—but did not rule out the ability of a fund company to do so.

    June 2006Fee Fall

    Helping participants pay attention to retirement plan expenses

    May 2006Unrealistic Expectations

    If it's too good to be true...

    March 2006No Magic Trick

    The "magic" of compounding is one of the most basic principles of retirement savings—yet, it is often the most overlooked by participants already overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of fund choices.

    February 2006Carrot “Sticks”

    Recent publicity offers a chance to remind that "free" money isn't

    January 2006Fare Comparisons

    Helping participants make sense of those retirement plan statements

  • 2005 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2005Roundup

    Over the past year, our Know How series has focused on a number of key participant communication topics

    November 2005Retirement Savings Quiz

    Most retirement-plan education programs (including this one) talk about the importance of saving early, the benefits of tax-deferred savings, and the need to diversify one's investments and to set goals. They also talk about the fund choices available to participants and, generally, try to assist the participant in establishing his or her own risk-tolerance profile.

    October 2005(Not) Growing Pains

    The costs of cashing out too soon

    September 2005Style Search

    Having trouble picking investment funds?

    August 2005Roth Wrought?

    In early March of this year, Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations on the upcoming availability of a Roth 401(k) option. Incorporated in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) of 2001, the Roth 401(k) option becomes available for the first time on January 1, 2006.

    July 2005Procrastination Pays

    Putting off tough decisions can have good results

    June 2005Smart Starts

    Getting started is only half the battle when it comes to retirement plan participation

    May 2005Security Blanket?

    It is difficult these days to write about Social Security and not offer an opinion on whether or not you think the current system is broken, or just showing signs of age, as well as a laundry list of potential remedies. It used to be the "third rail" of American politics but, these days, it (like so many other things) has simply become a dividing line.

    March 2005HSA Being

    Getting a handle on health savings accounts

    February 2005Credit Worthy

    Saver's Credit a "win-win" for plan sponsors and workers

    January 2005“Extra” Incentives

    Participants generally have very good intentions when it comes to saving for retirement.

  • 2004 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2004Future Reference

    The Best of Know How 2004

    November 2004Retirement Quiz

    Guide for Plan Sponsors

    October 2004Style List

    Helping participants make a choice

    September 2004Rolling On Over

    Helping participants hang on to their retirement savings

    August 2004Setting Expectations

    No doubt, when you sat down to choose the various investment options that would be available in your program, you considered a wide variety of factors—risk, style, performance, and diversification among them. However, the key to a consistent long-term evaluation of the appropriateness of an investment manager is the ability to measure that fund's performance against a specific standard, a benchmark.

    July 2004Trip Planner

    Getting participants to "do the math"

    June 2004Unrealistic Expectations

    If it's too good to be true...

    May 2004Pick and Choose

    It is a well-established fact that the most critical decision participants make regarding their retirement security has very little to do with what investment funds they choose: It is their rate of deferral/savings. Notwithstanding, the decision that most participants appear to agonize over most is which investment funds to choose.

    March 2004Compare “Shuns”

    Helping participants make sense of those retirement plan statements

    February 2004Fees for All?

    Figuring out retirement plan costs

    January 2004Scandal Candle

    As the mutual fund trading scandal enters its fourth month, there seems to be little sign of abatement in the allegations of wrongdoing, or the firms involved.

  • 2003 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2003Best of Know How 2003

    Over the past year and a half, our KnowHow participant series has covered a broad range of topics in a way that we trust has been helpful to you, and to your participants, in gleaning a bit more understanding about their retirement savings.

    November 2003KnowHow: Retirement Quiz - Guide for Plan Sponsors

    To Use This Material

    October 2003Style Drift

    Helping participants make a choice

    September 2003Rollover “Take”

    Helping participants hang on to their retirement savings

    August 2003Pay Raise?

    Studies routinely show that employees struggle to decide how much they should save. It has become commonplace to describe saving in a retirement plan as "paying yourself." That description helps give the notion of saving a prominence it might otherwise lack.

    July 2003Setting Expectations

    No doubt, when you sat down to choose the various investment options that would be available in your program, you considered a wide variety of factors—risk, style, performance, and diversification among them. However, the key to a consistent long-term evaluation of the appropriateness of an investment manager is the ability to measure that fund's performance against a specific standard, a benchmark.

    June 2003Maxxed Out?

    A mid-year reminder that there is savings room beyond the match

    May 2003“Free” Money

    Recent publicity offers a chance to remind participants that "free" money isn't

    March 2003Shedding Some Light on Blackouts

    One of the most misunderstood aspects of the Enron savings plan debacle was the participant activity blackout associated with its (in hindsight) ill-timed switch in recordkeepers. Actually, the process of making that change had been in the works for months but, when it finally occurred, some participants claimed to have been caught unawares—forced to sit idly by and watch the value of their retirement savings erode.

    February 2003Progress Reporting

    Helping participants make sense of those retirement plan statements

    January 2003Keeping Your Retirement Balances in Line

    The beginning of a new year is a perfect time for new "resolutions," including reminding participants of the importance of taking another look at their retirement plan allocations

  • 2002 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    December 2002“Nifty Fifty”

    Helping Workers Catch Up On Retirement Savings

    November 2002KnowHow: Retirement Quiz - Guide for Plan Sponsors

    To Use This Material

    October 2002Needs Analysis

    The financial planning industry has invested enormous amounts of time and money developing sophisticated financial planning calculators. Odds are you currently make one or more of these tools available to workers as part of your retirement education. Even if you do not, there are what appear to be an endless number of tools available to individuals to help them figure out that most essential of retirement planning questions: How much do I need to save?

    September 2002Ready to Roll Over?

    Retirement, lifestyle changes, employee turnover: We live in times of significant change for plan sponsors, and for participants. Your plan has played a vital role in helping your participants prepare for this day and now they are faced with a critical decision—what to do with those savings now that their employment status is changing?

    August 2002Getting From Here To There

    This month, Know How tries to help participants focus on the critical process of figuring out how much they need to have saved for retirement. Traditionally, retirement programs have focused on the need to accumulate as much money as possible for retirement. Unfortunately, participants tend to focus on how much they can "afford" to set aside for retirement, rather than thinking about how much they will have to have set aside to live on in a retirement that can be two or even three decades long.

    July 2002Setting Expectations

    While participants frequently have a different perspective on retirement savings than plan sponsors, both can benefit from the identification of specific investment benchmarks.

    June 2002No Magic Trick

    The "magic" of compounding is one of the most basic principles of retirement savings—yet, it is often the most overlooked by participants already overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of fund choices.

    May 2002Loan Arranging

    Loan programs typically are positioned as an opportunity for participants to borrow from themselves and to pay themselves back with interest.

    March 2002Streaming Retirement Income

    Providers are always looking for an "annuity-like stream of income" in the retirement services business. And frequently, so are participants. Except they don't always know where to look.

  • 2001 KNOWHOW Plan Sponsor Guides
    September 2001The Choice of a Lifetime

    Retirement, lifestyle changes, employee turnover… We live in times of significant change for plan sponsors, and for participants. Your plan has played a vital role in helping your participants prepare for this day—and now they are faced with a critical decision—what to do with those savings now that their employment status is changing?

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