2021
Corporate 401(k) $25MM–$50MM

McGohan/Brabender Agency

FINALIST
Beth Ferrin
Chief Financial Officer
Suzanne Meek
Director of Human Resources
  • Plan(s)
    401(k)
  • Total Plan Assets
    $35MM
  • Number of Participants
    288
  • Participation Rate
    96%
  • Average Deferral Rate
    8.4%
  • Default Deferral Rate
    6%
  • Default Investment
    InvestMap
  • Automatic Enrollment
  • Automatic Escalation
  • Employer Contribution
    100% of 6%
  • Provider(s)
    Recordkeeper: Milliman; Adviser: Everhart Advisors
  • Financial Wellness Educator(s)
    Ramsey Solutions, Everhart Advisors

McGohan/Brabender Agency, Inc., is an independent health insurance broker in Dayton, Ohio. Financial education is at the heart of the agency’s retirement plan, because, as Beth Ferrin, chief financial officer (CFO) at the company puts it, “We feel our responsibility as an employer is more than to just pay employees. Rather, we think it’s to give them the financial skills to manage their money and successfully save for retirement. No matter how much you pay someone, if they don’t have basic financial skills, they’ll never have ‘enough.’”

Thus, the plan’s adviser, Everhart Advisors, meets with the agency’s trustee committee twice a year to map out educational initiatives that will address any employee concerns, says Lisa Block, senior plan consultant at the advisory practice.

McGohan Brabender has made a few Dave Ramsey series the centerpiece of its financial and wellness training, Ferrin says. One is Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a nine-segment, in-depth program utilizing videos and course work. Fully 80% of the company’s workers have participated, she says. For those who want a quicker approach, Everhart has selected four video sessions from the Ramsey curriculum covering general financial wellness, budgeting, reducing debt and navigating retirement.

The company also offers Dave Ramsey’s SmartDollar, a web-based program that helps participants set a series of small goals to develop better budgeting and spending habits, Ferrin says. Seventy-nine percent of McGohan Brabender’s workers took part—and reported $554,000 in “financial turnaround,” having paid down $271,000 in debt and saved $283,000, she says.

Everhart Advisors also sits down individually with each employee when he first enrolls in the plan. “We go over the importance of saving, to encourage the person to remain invested in the plan, as well as explaining the plan’s investment options and provisions,” Block says. What impresses employees most, she says, is the company’s 100% match on their first 6% of deferrals. “Anyone coming from another company knows that is highly unusual. They are also vested after six months of employment. Beyond this initial meeting, employees have full access to us for individual consultations, which we augment with group meetings, and we give them access to our CFP [Certified Financial Planner] advisers to discuss any financially related matter that they want. This is all covered by the plan cost, which is just 43 basis points [bps], whereas the average for their peer group is 65 basis points.”

As to the rationale behind the generous match, Ferrin says, “Our founder, Pat McGohan, believes strongly in people saving adequately for retirement, particularly in the double digits. We believe we’ll have a happier workforce if everyone’s on track for retirement readiness.”

Further, when the agency performs its annual fiduciary plan review, Block says, it looks for participants saving less than 6%. “We reach out to remind them that they’re leaving money on the table. Other companies may not take such an action, as it would cost them money in the match.”

“We take great pride when one of our employees retires and we know we helped them get there,” Ferrin says, “not only through match dollars but in helping them budget from the time they started, showing them how to plan, and providing individual counseling to them and their families.”

Lee Barney

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