21. Get Personal

Not a synonym for education or guidance, “financial advice” for retirement plan participants is narrowly defined under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Those hired  to deliver advice  are considered fiduciaries. In this context, advice means investment recommendations given on a regular basis, under an agreement that this will serve as the primary basis…

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3. Automate Savings

James YangAn August 2013 analysis from Fidelity Investments shows hundreds of dollars can be added to participants’ post-retirement incomes through automatic-enrollment and -deferral escalation features.According to Fidelity, raising...
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4. Ensure Reasonable Fees

In its preamble to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Section 408(b)(2) service provider disclosure rules, the Department of Labor (DOL) stated: “Now, more than ever, it...
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5. Diversify

James YangIt’s all about diversification. Including some type of alternative investment as a core menu offering is “widely done” by defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors, says Rod Bare,...
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6. Keep It Steady

Stable value still has a strategic role as a core menu option for 401(k) plans, says Rod Bare, a Chicago-based defined contribution (DC) consultant at Russell Investments. “[It]...
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7. Discourage Loans

The big question is that, with the average 14.4% of plan participants having outstanding loans last year, what percentage of those participants will repay themselves, and will they,...
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8. Motivate Them

How much a company matches, and how, are important factors in the participant retirement readiness equation, as the match number often determines deferral rates. Multiple studies, including those...
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9. Provide Other Savings Options

James YangMany employers go beyond a basic 401(k) plan to provide their employees with the means to diversify their retirement savings. Three common offerings are health savings accounts...
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10. Preserve Their Savings

Preserving retirement savings is simple when participants work for one company year after year and accumulate all assets within one plan. But how can employees keep their savings...
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11. Use the Right Benchmarks

Plan sponsors strongly favor participation rate as their No. 1 plan benchmark—but the measuring of projected income replacement is key. Unfortunately, this figure can vary greatly and will...
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12. Show Them Where They Stand

James YangThe vast majority of retirement plan participants have no idea how much money they need to save for retirement, or how what they have saved can be...
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13. Make It Last

Systematic withdrawals—lump sum or partial—are distributions that allow participants to schedule a series of recurring payments, thus creating a predictable stream of retirement income.
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14. Benchmark Your Participants’ Plan

“The only way to make it to the finish line is to save money,” says adviser Jason Chepenik, managing partner at Chepenik Financial in Winter Park, Florida.Sponsors following...
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15. Guarantee It

Four out of five retirement plan participants believe that a guaranteed monthly payout benefit is a “must have,” even if it means compromising some access to their retirement...
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16. Enhance Their Understanding

Until recently, the focus of sponsors’ education for their retirement plan participants was limited to enrollment, investments and other plan- or retirement-specific information. Today, more sponsors are embracing...
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17. Know Your Audience

Demographic data can be useful in helping plan sponsors to understand the financial and savings priorities for different groups.Women Live LongerA report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office...
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18. Put Numbers in Context

“Just as when employees are young and juggling how to save for a house, college and retirement, so, later in life, the savings goals shift to retirement and...
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19. Keep It Current

James YangAs smartphones and tablets expand their role in the work/life balance of most Americans, the retirement plan industry has begun to capitalize on these new capabilities, and...
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20. Integrate Income

The market for products that generate reliable income in retirement is growing. A survey conducted by Prudential in 2012 shows that participants are interested in such products. However,...
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Bells & Whistles

Recent product introductions that may improve participant outcomes
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A Call to Action

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” —Theodore Roosevelt
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Quotes, survey statistics and musings to use in employee communications, or just for a break from the grind.
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Smarter Than We Thought

2014 PLANSPONSOR Participant Survey: 401(k) participants may be more aware—and expect more of you—than you think.
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Competence Equals Confidence

If participants and plan sponsors want increased levels of confidence in their retirement security—and their ability to deliver retirement security—both parties must contribute more.