Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
April 10th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Five Signs of Employee Financial Stress
A vast majority of full-time employees (80%) say they have financial stress, and 33% of employees spend an average of 1.7 hours a week dealing with personal finances while at work, according to a Harris Poll conducted in July 2014 on behalf of Purchasing Power. Employers should be on the watch for five clear signs to see if their employees are undergoing financial stress—a known risk factor for distractions at work and lower productivity, Purchasing Power says.Read more >
The New American Dream: A Secure Retirement
With a greater emphasis on retirement savings taking hold in the nation, Americans’ views on prosperity are being reshaped, according to a telephone survey of 1,010 adults conducted by Harris Poll for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Nearly two-thirds of those polled (28%) said that being able to retire comfortably is the earmark of financial success, compared to 11% who said owning a home and another 11% who said being better financially situated than their parents. “We’re seeing that today’s American dream is greatly shifted from the one defined by previous generations,” says Ernie Almonte, chairman of the AICPA – National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.Read more >
Three-Legged Retirement Income Stool More Wobbly
Several factors—a drop in the number of employers that offer a workplace retirement plan, the shift away from defined benefit (DB) plans and overall inadequate savings rates by workers—form a dire view of retirement for many workers, according to Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at The New School and co-author of the report. “Are U.S. Workers Ready for Retirement? Trends in Plan Sponsorship, Participation, and Preparedness,” co-authored by Ghilarducci, Joelle Saad-Lessler and Kate Bahn, takes a deep dive into retirement statistics since 1999.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Global investment manager The Principal Financial Group expands its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) team with the addition of Kim Blaugher as vice president of consulting and Amy Hartnett as director of business development. The two join the firm’s 30-person team in providing ESOP consulting and administration services.Read more >
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Economic Events

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that February sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $444.2 billion, down 0.2% from the revised January level and down 1.5% from the February 2014 level. February sales of durable goods were down 2.4% from last month, but were up 3.5% from a year ago. Sales of electrical and electronic goods were down 5.0% from last month and sales of machinery, equipment, and supplies were down 3.4%. Sales of nondurable goods were up 1.9% from January, but were down 5.8% from last February. Sales of petroleum and petroleum products were up 5.5% from last month and sales of drugs and druggists’ sundries were up 4.0%.

In the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 281,000, an increase of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 282,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since June 3, 2000 when it was 281,500.

Market Mirror

Yesterday, most major U.S. stock indices ended modestly higher, led by gains in energy stocks as the price of oil rose. The Dow was up 56.22 points (0.31%) at 17,958.73, the NASDAQ climbed 23.74 points (0.48%) to 4,974.56, and the S&P 500 gained 9.20 points (0.44%) to finish at 2,091.10. The Russell 2000 decreased 3.60 points (0.28%) to 1,259.11, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 70.72 points (0.32%) higher at 22,171.28.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a nearly even split between advancing issues and declining issues. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with a slight lead for decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 16/32, bringing its yield up to 1.960%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 1 17/32, increasing its yield to 2.604%. 

Compliance
Real Estate Services Firm Settles Stock Drop Case
A class of former LandAmerica Financial Group employees agreed to a $5 million settlement of stock-drop claims arising from LandAmerica’s 2008 bankruptcy. According to the Proskauer law firm, LandAmerica filed for bankruptcy following the 2008 collapse of its title insurance subsidiary. The complaint alleged that certain LandAmerica directors and officers breached their Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciary duties by, among other things, imprudently investing in LandAmerica stock even though they knew that its title insurance subsidiary was backed by inherently risky subprime mortgage loans.Read more >
EEOC Says School Illegally Fired Formerly Retired Worker
Renaissance School, Inc., of Racine, Wisconsin, an owner and operator of government-funded private schools, violated federal law by firing an employee because it considered him too old for his job and because he is male, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit. According to Julianne Bowman, acting director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, the agency found that, after hiring Boro Bosovich as a principal/supervisor, Renaissance School learned he had retired from a prior job. The school’s owners then began questioning his fitness for the job and making comments related to his age.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City by philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh. In 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England. In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps, a tool for employing young men and one of the dozens of New Deal programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight the Great Depression, was created. In 1941, Ford Motor Co. became the last major automaker to recognize the United Auto Workers as the representative for its workers. In 1970, Paul McCartney announced the breakup of the Beatles. In 1972, as part of his first visit to the United States in 20 years, British film pioneer Charlie Chaplin accepted an honorary Academy Award for his “incalculable” contribution to the art of filmmaking.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

Facts about eyes.Read more >
Fitness trends over the last 100 years.Read more >

In Changsha, Hunan Province, China, a man was taken to the hospital after a car accident with non-life-threatening injuries. After doctors contacted his relatives, they and hospital staff were stunned when at least 17 women showed up soon after. Each thought she was the man’s girlfriend, and one had even had a child with him. One of the now-former girlfriend’s set up an online chat group for them all. She told Changsha newspaper Xiaoxiang Chen Bao she had learned that some of the man’s other now-former girlfriends had given him money each month—sometimes large sums—with one woman providing him with financial support for nine years. He’ll have to find some other game now.

In Odessa, Texas, an off-duty police officer noticed what looked like a firefighter use sirens and flashing lights from his law-enforcement-marked truck to skip to the head of the drive-thru line of a restaurant. The officer followed the man home to confront him about this abuse of power. According to the Associated Press, when confronted, the man admitted he was not a firefighter and that he sometimes used the lights and sirens to get through traffic lights. He was arrested for impersonating an officer.

In New York, New York, someone started a dance party on a subway car.Read more >

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a woman caused a crash while on the way home from buying some be.er. As EMS attempted to treat the serious injuries to the woman’s leg, she grabbed a be.er and began drinking it. According to WAVY-TV, the officer was able to pry the beer from her hand, but she reached for the case of be.er on the floor and grabbed another. Police say the woman had a blood alc.ohol level five times the legal limit.

In San Diego, California, a woman’s car stalled in the middle of I-15, and she got out of the car and started meandering on foot on the freeway. She asked a 10News photojournalist for jumper cables as cars sped by. A taxi driver and motorcyclist pulled over to help, but the woman decided to walk back across the freeway and get into her car. A bystander started directing traffic until others got the woman to a safe place. Police showed up and arrested her for drun.ken driving.

In Estero, Florida, a woman awoke to sounds she thought was her husband downstairs getting ready for work. She went downstairs to greet him, but discovered a black bear in her kitchen. According to UPI, she immediately feared for her cats’ safety, but they were atop the cabinets as the bear was eating the family’s Easter chocolate candy. The bear eventually left the house.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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