Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
August 4th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Middle-Income Boomers Struggle After Financial Crisis
Middle-income Baby Boomers—those with an annual household income between $30,000 and $100,000 and less than $1 million in investable assets—are still struggling in the aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis, the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement found in a survey. Twenty-eight percent are now making more conservative investments, and 26% no longer invest at all. Only 16% expect to have savings, and only 34% expect to retire debt free.  Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
Deutsche and Fidelity cut fund expenses; Transamerica debuts smart beta ETFs; and Vanguard adds TimeSquare Capital to advisory team.  Read more >
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
IRS Updates Life Expectancy Tables for Retirees
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
Small Plan Solution Offers Fiduciary Help
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C., a nationwide investment consulting firm, introduced a retirement plan solution exclusive for small 401(k) plans called SMART PLAN. DiMeo Schneider will be a 3(38) fiduciary investment manager for the program.  Read more >
Plan Sponsors Have New Peer Benchmarking Tool
Discussing a new Wells Fargo tool, the Outcome Optimizer, the firm’s director of relationship management suggests granting plan sponsors a view into the performance of peers’ plans is a powerful motivator.  Read more >
Economic Events
New orders for manufactured durable goods in June increased $14.9 billion or 6.5% to $245.6 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 0.1% May decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 6.7%. Transportation equipment, also up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $14.6 billion or 19% to $91.6 billion.

In the week ending July 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 240,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 245,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 241,750, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 244,250.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.93%, up from 3.92% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.18%, down from 3.20%.

Market Mirror
Thursday, the Dow was up 9.86 points (0.04%) at 22,026.10, the NASDAQ lost 22.30 points (0.35%) to finish at 6,340.34, and the S&P 500 was down 5.41 points (0.22%) at 2,472.16. The Russell 2000 closed 7.68 points (0.54%) lower at 1,405.22, and the Wilshire 5000 decreased 79.10 points (0.31%) to 25,652.83.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 14/32, bringing its yield down to 2.222%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 1 7/32, decreasing its yield to 2.800%.

Retirement Plan Regulators’ Agendas
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which provides an updated report on the actions administrative agencies plan to issue in the near and long term. Retirement plan regulators still have big agendas for the rest of 2017.  Read more >
Participants Invest in Equities Differently Now
Twenty-something investors at year-end 1996 and those at year-end 2015 had allocated a similar portion of their aggregate assets to overall equities, the mix of vehicles invested in differed significantly, according to a long-term study by the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).  Read more >
Non-U.S. Equity Returns Boosted TDF Performance
Target-date funds (TDFs) pushed forward from their first-quarter gains to generate an average return of 2.83%, according to the latest Callan Target Date Index results. Callan Associates attributes most of this success to diversification and the performance of non-U.S. equities.  Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was formed. This U.S. naval task force was the beginning of the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1821, “The Saturday Evening Post” was published for the first time as a weekly. In 1944, Nazi police raided a house in Amsterdam and arrested eight people. Anne Frank, a teenager at the time, was one of the people arrested. Her diary would be published after her death. In 1957, Florence Chadwick set a world record by swimming the English Channel in 6 hours and 7 minutes. In 1958, Billboard Magazine introduced its “Hot 100” chart, which was part popularity and a barometer of the movement of potential hits. The first number one song was Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool.” In 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the measure that established the Department of Energy. In 1987, the Fairness Doctrine was rescinded by the Federal Communications Commission. The doctrine had required that radio and TV stations present controversial issues in a balanced fashion. In 1997, teamsters began a 15-day strike against UPS (United Parcel Service). The strikers eventually won an increase in full-time positions and defeated a proposed reorganization of the company’s pension plan. In 2007, NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft was launched on a space exploration mission of Mars.
SURVEY SAYS: A large number of out-of-office responses this week has made me decide to hold the survey open. This week, I’d like to know, would you leave your company if it was experiencing negative press, and how important is your firm’s reputation to your job satisfaction?  Read more >
  And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!     This hamster’s cage-mate throws off him off his game when joining him on the running wheel.    Read more >
I think this father was too into his video game.  Read more >
When no one will scratch the dog.  Read more >

In Templin, Germany, a court has ruled that local authorities are entitled to prevent a group calling itself the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster from advertising its “noodle Masses” at the entrance to town. According to the Associated Press, it’s standard practice in Germany for small signs at the entrance to towns to announce there’s a Lutheran or Catholic church and detail when it holds services. News agency dpa reported that the court ruled the group can’t claim the rights of a religious or philosophical community, and judges said its criticism of others’ beliefs doesn’t constitute a philosophy.


In Pelham, New Hampshire, witnesses reported a car crash and the car was burning. However, when police and firefighters arrived, the driver refused to get out of the car, telling officers he was a mechanic. Police dragged him out. He was later charged with driving under the influence.


In Wuhan, China, a woman took drastic measures to avoid paying back 25 million yuan ($3.71 million) of personal debts. News agency Xinhua said the woman fled to the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen after a court ordered her to pay off her debt. There she underwent plastic surgery to transform her appearance. Police caught up with her, and the news report cites a police officer as saying, “We were very surprised at the scene. She looked in her thirties and was different from the photos we had.”


In McIntire, Iowa, a special election was held Tuesday asking whether the term of the mayor should be raised to four years from two, and whether the terms of council members should be raised to four years, staggered, from two years. However, a decision is not known since not one of the town’s 70 registered voters turned out to vote. A Mitchell County deputy auditor told the Mason City Globe Gazette this is a first in her 28 years of service.


In Ile de Re, France, people can now get fresh oysters from a vending machine. An oyster farmer’s automatic dispenser of live oysters offers a range of quantities, types and sizes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The refrigerated dispenser has glass panels so customers can see what they are buying. Customers use their bank card for access, opening the door of their choice from a range of carton sizes and oyster types. The oyster breeder sees it as an extra source of revenue. “We felt as though we were losing lots of sales when we are closed,” he said, according to Reuters.


Have a wonderful weekend!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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