KnowHow Archive

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  • 2013 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2013A To-Do List for 2014

    The ball is in your court

    November 2013Drawdown or Spend Down?

    Terms to help you understand the topic of retirement income

    October 2013Knowledge Is Power

    A sampling of some of the most common investment terms

    September 2013Talking the Talk

    Learning the retirement planning language can make a difference

    August 2013It Pays to Delay

    The longer you wait, the better your benefit

    July 2013Keep Calm, but Carry On

    What to do with your 401(k) when you leave your job

    June 2013Borrowing Against the Future

    Are 401(k) loans robbing Peter to pay Paul?

    May 2013Domestic Issues

    QDROs and your retirement plan assets

    March 2013More Bang for Your Buck?

    What, exactly, you get in return for all those fees and expenses

    February 2013Exit Strategy

    Failure to take RMDs can be a costly mistake

    January 2013Savings Grace

    Resolutions for the new year

  • 2012 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2012Know Where, Know How

    A retirement savings reference guide

    November 2012Do the Right Thing

    If you fill out beneficiary forms incorrectly, you could disinherit your loved ones

    October 2012Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

    Even though Roth 401(k)s have been around a few years, a number of employers have yet to offer them to plan participants. Initially incorporated in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Roth 401(k) option became available for the first time on January 1, 2006.

    September 2012Decisions, Decisions

    Turning savings into an income stream

    August 2012Easy Does It

    Does your retirement plan make it easy for you?

    July 2012Cashing Out

    Ways not to spend that retirement plan distribution

    June 2012Understanding Managed Accounts

    Mutual funds and managed accounts offer similar benefits: professionally managed portfolios with exposure to stocks, bonds and/or other securities. Traditionally, a managed account was a special investment pool set aside for wealthier investors, to be invested with their specific needs in mind.

    May 2012Five Questions to Ask a Financial Adviser

    While some participants enjoy and are capable of managing their retirement plan investments, most people lack the time, expertise and discipline to do so. Participants have always been interested in obtaining help with what can be a complex set of decisions and, increasingly, that guidance is found in the form of a financial adviser, either one hired by your plan or perhaps one that you have encountered on your own. Here are five things you should ask an adviser who wants to earn your business (and trust).

    March 2012What Date Is Your Target-Date Fund Targeting?

    A growing number of retirement plans now make available an option that can help you make the right investment choice for your retirement plan.

    February 2012Room To Save

    How do you decide how much to set aside for retirement? You might sit down, figure out your budget, and set aside whatever is left. Or maybe you let your employer set the pace by contributing only to the level of your company match. For example, if your employer matches the contributions you make up to 6% of your pay, do you ­contribute only 6%? Do you know how much you can contribute?

    January 2012Borrowed Time?

    Borrowing money from yourself is not always a smart bet

  • 2011 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2011Know Where, Know How

    A retirement savings reference guide

    November 2011Retirement Savings Quiz

    Over the past year, our Know How series has covered a variety of topics regarding your retirement plan savings. This month, the following five-question quiz on some of those topics will give you a better idea as to what information you retained—and which areas might be good subjects for review.

    October 2011Price Lines

    Shedding some light on your 401(k) plan fees

    September 2011Automatic Pilots

    Shifting auto-enrollment to a higher gear

    August 2011“Minimum” Wages

    What is required for required minimum distributions (RMDs)

    July 2011Five Things You Should Know About Default Investments

    As more and more participants take advantage of "automatic" enrollment in their workplace retirement plans, there is a growing awareness of the investment options designated as "defaults" as well as discussion about a "qualified" default option.

    June 2011What To Look for in Your Target-Date Fund

    Investing for retirement can be complex—in fact, for many it is the most complex part of preparing for retirement.

    May 2011Liquid Diet?

    How “liquid” are your retirement plan investments?

    March 2011Out of Balance?

    The markets may have moved your account allocations

    February 2011Borrowed Time?

    Borrowing money from yourself isn’t always a smart bet

    January 2011Conversion Vein

    New Roth 401(k) option blends 401(k) and Roth IRA features

  • 2010 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2010A Retirement Savings Reference Guide

    Throughout 2010, PLANSPONSOR has published a variety of articles in our Know How series designed to help you, as a retirement plan participant, better manage and understand your retirement plan investments. Here is a summary of those articles.  

    November 2010Retirement Savings Quiz

    PLANSPONSOR's 2010 Retirement Savings Quiz

    October 2010Take "Aways"

    Ways not to spend that retirement plan distribution

    September 2010Pay Role

    How much are you paying for your 401(k) account? Most investors choose a fund based on the expected performance of the investment, but a significant part of that performance can be fees, which often reduce the overall investment gains.

    August 2010Asking Price?

    Five questions to ask your financial adviser

    July 2010How Does Your Retirement Plan Measure Up?

    There are a lot of different ways to evaluate your retirement plan: the types and number of investment options, the level and amount of the employer match, and how soon you are allowed to join the plan. Understanding those details will help you do a better job of saving for your retirement—and knowing how your employer’s retirement plan compares with other programs can give you a better appreciation for the program you have.

    June 2010What the Heck Is a Managed Account?

    Mutual funds and managed accounts are essentially the same thing: professionally managed portfolios that offer exposure to stocks, bonds, or other securities. Traditionally, a managed account was a special investment pool set aside for wealthier individuals with a lot of money to invest—and that account was invested with their specific needs in mind.

    May 2010Exchange Change

    What the heck is an exchange-traded fund (ETF)?

    March 2010Measuring Up

    Does your retirement plan make it easy for you?

    February 2010Room To Grow?

    How do you decide how much to set aside for retirement? You might sit down, figure out your budget, and set aside whatever is left over. Or, maybe you let your employer set the pace by contributing only to the level of your company match. For example, if your employer matches the contributions you make up to 6% of your pay, do you ­contribute only 6%? Do you know how much you can contribute?

    January 2010Habits Forming

    Savings resolutions for the New Year

  • 2009 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2009Know Where

    A retirement savings reference guide

    November 2009Retirement Savings Quiz

    Do you know enough to make the right choices?

    October 2009The Basket You Can Put All Your Eggs In

    When you sit down to make choices with your retirement plan, you are generally presented with a list of fund choices—and given an opportunity to pick ones that will help your retirement savings grow. You also have to decide how much of your retirement savings should be invested in each fund. However, most of us are not investment experts—and even if you have the time, and get the help to make a good decision, you may well be too busy to reconsider those choices on a regular basis.

    September 2009Ways Not To Spend That Retirement Plan Distribution

    Your options and what to consider

    August 2009What Date Is Your Target-Date Fund Targeting?

    A growing number of retirement plans now make available an option that can help you make the right investment choice for your retirement plan.

    July 2009Standing Room

    Is your 401(k) enough?

    June 2009The Road to Retirement

    As we head into vacation season, would you set out on a long driving trip to an unfamiliar destination without a map, a full tank of gas, and some directions?

    May 2009Match Less

    One of the most powerful incentives to participate in your 401(k) is the company match, the money that your employer contributes to your retirement savings account based on your contribution, the "free money" that is frequently touted in those annual enrollment meetings.Of course, that money isn't really "free" to your employer and, with so many struggling in the current recession, a growing number have decided to cut back.

    March 2009Required Reading

    Know what's required for required minimum distributions (RMDs)

    February 2009Know Who

    If you were to die tomorrow, who would be entitled to your retirement plan distribution?

    January 2009Trying Times

    So, you have done all the right things—taken advantage of your employer’s workplace retirement savings plan, gotten the benefit of the company match, made prudent investment choices, perhaps even invested in an age-appropriate target-date fund—and yet, the last couple of months have taken a toll on your retirement savings account.

  • 2008 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2008Know Where

    A retirement savings reference guide for participants.

    November 2008Retirement Savings Quiz

    Do you know enough to make the right choices?

    October 2008The Magic of Compounding

    It may seem too good to be true. Even Albert Einstein called compounding "the greatest mathematical discovery of all time." There's no sleight of hand involved, but—as with most "magic"—what is really going on is a lot simpler than you might think.

    September 2008(Not) Growing Pains

    Ways not to spend that retirement plan distribution.

    August 2008Fee Finder

    Shedding some light on your 401(k) plan fees

    July 2008Quick Check

    You've heard it before—planning for retirement is like planning for a trip. You need to know where you're going, when you'll get there, and what the dress code is—or you'll wind up lost, late, and underdressed for the occasion.

    June 2008Automatic Piloting

    Even if you are not participating in your retirement plan currently, odds are you know you should be, and you probably plan to do so in the future.

    May 2008Robbing Peter to pay Paul

    Borrowing money from yourself isn’t always a smart bet

    March 2008Cost Check

    Do you know how much your 401(k) costs?

    February 2008Trouble 'Spots'

    How to spot trouble with your retirement savings plan.

    January 2008Credit 'Check'

    Uncle Sam gives retirement savers some extra help.  

  • 2007 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2007Know Where

    A retirement savings reference guide for participants.

    November 2007Retirement Savings Quiz

    How much do you know about retirement?

    October 2007Single Best

    A growing number of retirement plans now make available an option that can help you make the right investment choice for your retirement plan.

    September 2007(Not) Growing Pains

    Ways not to spend that retirement plan distribution.

    August 2007Easy Does It

    If you've ever been frozen in your tracks by the sheer number of ice cream flavor choices at Baskin-Robbins — or walked into a Starbucks, glanced over the menu, and wondered, "Where's the coffee?"— then you can appreciate the disadvantages of too much choice.

    July 2007A Little Bit More

    How to give yourself a pay raise from your 401(k).

    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 2007Step Ladders

    Make a good decision today—for tomorrow. Here's how it works

    March 2007Informed Actions

    Recently, you may have noticed some additional information with your retirement plan statement—information that is designed to help you make more informed decisions about your retirement plan investments.

    February 2007What the Pension Protection Act Means for You

    By now, you probably have heard about a new pension law that was passed last summer: the Pension Protection Act (PPA).

    January 2007After Math

    New Roth 401(k) option blends 401(k) and Roth IRA features

  • 2006 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    November 2006Retirement Savings Quiz: Part 2

    How much do you know about retirement?

    October 2006Just Pick One

    Lifestyle funds mean you can put your eggs in one basket

    September 2006Decisions, Decisions

    Ways not to spend that retirement plan distribution, and what to consider

    August 2006How Much Is Enough?

    As we head into vacation season, would you set out on a long driving trip to an unfamiliar destination without a map, a full tank of gas, and some directions?

    July 2006Trading “Stamps”

    Back in 2003, the headlines were filled with stories about questionable mutual fund trading practices by large investors, a few mutual fund managers, and, yes, even 401(k) plan participants. Those practices involved illegal late-trading—buying and selling mutual funds after the market closed—and market-timing which, though not illegal, was a practice most mutual funds said they discouraged, either through cutting off trading privileges or through the imposition of fines, called redemption fees.

    June 2006Out of Sight

    Are your 401(k) fees invisible?

    May 2006Unrealistic Expectations

    Optimistic assumptions can make for an uncomfortable retirement.

    March 2006The Magic of Compounding

    Don't take our word for it. Even Albert Einstein called compounding "the greatest mathematical discovery of all time" and, as with most "magic," what is really going on is a lot simpler than you might think.

    February 2006Match Catch

    How your company match adds up to "free" money for you

    January 2006Progress Report

    Deciphering that 401(k) statement

  • 2005 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2005Know Where

    A retirement savings reference guide for participants

    November 2005Retirement Savings Quiz

    Test your retirement investing "know how"

    October 2005Decisions, Decisions

    Ways not to spend that retirement plan distribution

    September 2005Style Boxed?

    For most people, the hardest part of saving for retirement is not deciding if they should save, not deciding how much to save, but trying to decide which investment fund(s) they should pick. So, if you are struggling with that decision, cheer up: You are not alone. However, a growing number of retirement plans now make available an option that can help you make that choice. It goes by different names: Most people call it a "lifestyle" fund, but you also may hear it called an "asset allocation" fund (generally by those who want to impress you with their financial prowess).

    August 2005The Best of Both Worlds?

    New Roth 401(k) option blends 401(k) and Roth IRA features

    July 2005Pay Day

    Make a good decision today – for tomorrow

    June 2005Getting Going

    Once you get started saving, pay attention to your retirement plan investments

    May 2005Social Insecurity

    Answers to Social Security questions

    March 2005Is A Health Savings Account Right For You?

    If you have not heard of an HSA, you are not alone, according to recent surveys.

    February 2005Credit Where Credit’s Due

    Uncle Sam gives retirement savers some extra help

    January 2005Upping the Ante

    The "gift" that keeps on giving

  • 2004 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2004Know Where

    A retirement savings reference guide for participants

    November 2004Retirement Savings Quiz

    Test your retirement investing knowledge

    October 2004Style Search

    Having trouble picking investment funds?

    September 2004Tax “Shelters”

    Do you have a plan for your retirement distribution? Your retirement plan distribution may be years away, but it is never too soon to be making plans that will help make sure your savings last as long as you need.

    August 2004Compare Able

    Surprises can be a lot of fun, but not in your retirement savings account

    July 2004Independence Days

    How much is enough?

    June 2004Bad Assumptions

    Optimistic assumptions can make for an uncomfortable retirement

    May 2004Picking a Winner

    Getting a handle on fund choice

    March 2004Check Points

    Deciphering that 401(k) statement

    February 2004Your Money’s “Worth”

    How much are you paying for your 401(k) account?

    January 2004Trading Places

    Have mutual fund practices put your retirement at risk?

  • 2003 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2003Know Where

    A retirement savings reference guide

    November 2003Retirement Investor Quiz

    These days it is not uncommon for schools to “pre” test students to see how much they know or, in some cases, how much they remember from a prior year.

    October 2003Get a Life (Style)

    What to do—when you don't know what to do

    September 2003You Can Take It with You but Should You?

    Not that you are thinking about it at the moment but, sooner or later, there may be a job change in your future (including that most popular of job changes, the one to retirement). When it comes, there will be a lot to think about—so, rather than wait until then, take a few minutes now to consider what you should do with your retirement plan savings.

    August 2003Day “Break”

    How to give yourself a pay raise in your 401(k)

    July 2003Grade Expectations

    Are your investment choices living up to expectations?

    June 2003Room to Grow?

    How do you decide how much to set aside for retirement? You might sit down, figure out your budget, and set aside whatever is left over. Or, maybe you let your employer set the pace, by contributing only to the level of your company match. For example, if your employer matches the contributions you make up to 6% of your pay, do you contribute only 6%? Do you know how much you can contribute?

    May 2003Match Gain

    How your company match adds up to "free" money for you.

    March 2003Change of Hearth

    Getting ready for a retirement plan relocation

    February 2003Progress Report

    Deciphering that 401(k) statement

    January 2003Overweighted?

    Has a holiday “binge” thrown your balances out of whack?

  • 2002 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    December 2002Catching Up On Retirement Savings

    How to boost your retirement savings

    November 2002Retirement Investor Quiz

    Testing your retirement knowledge

    October 2002Gauging Your Retirement Needs

    Figuring out how much you need for retirement

    September 2002Ready To Roll Over?

    What to do with your savings when your employment status is changing?

    August 2002Getting from Here to There

    How to reach your retirement goals

    July 2002Grading your funds

    How to set the right benchmarks for your fund investments

    June 2002The Magic of Compounding

    Even Albert Einstein called compounding "the greatest mathematical discovery of all time"

    May 2002Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

     Borrowing money from yourself isn't always a smart bet

    March 2002Looking at Annuities

    Does an annuity make sense for you?

    February 2002Rating your Return

    What do all the numbers on your statement mean and how did you "do"?

    January 2002Keeping Your Savings in Balance

    When was the last time you checked in on your retirement account?

  • 2001 KNOWHOW Participant Guides
    September 2001Take it or Leave it

    What to do with your 401(k) funds when you leave your job

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