Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 14th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
Employers Struggling to Understand Retirement Patterns of Employees
Willis Towers Watson published a white paper exploring employer’s lack of confidence when it comes to tracking their employees’ plans for when and how to retire. “Employers are concerned both about increasing retirements and the resulting loss of seasoned employees’ skill and experience, as well as rising numbers of delayed departures leading to higher salary and benefit costs,” the paper says. Accordingly, Willis Towers Watson finds firms are taking a new look at retirement patterns, developing new strategies for balancing the supply and demand of older workers’ talent, and integrating their workplace programs for physical, social, and financial well-being.Read more >
Predictions for Employer Actions to Reduce Health Care Costs in 2019
Transformation in health care delivery, focus on high-dollar claims and drug costs, and continued movement to account-based plans are among the list for what employer health benefit providers and advocates see happening in 2019.Read more >
Americans Optimistic About Their Financial Prospects for 2019
Americans’ top three financial goals for the New Year are to save more, cited by 48%, to pay down debt (29%) and spend less (15%), according to the 10th Annual Fidelity Resolutions Study. This is the 10th year in a row that these three goals have been Americans’ top financial resolutions for the New Year. Among those who have pledged to save more in 2019, 48% are planning to increase their savings to a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) by 1 percentage point or more of their salary in 2019, up from 43% in 2017.Read more >
House Committee Approves Bill Aimed at Increasing Retirement Plan Coverage
Working Past Age 65 May Seem Like a Great Idea …
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Residents of the Island of Misfit Toys
Employees Don’t Want ‘All or Nothing’ When It Comes to Guaranteed Lifetime Income
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Repositioning HSAs As Retirement Savings Vehicles
A report from Cerulli Associates suggests that pairing health savings account (HSA) and defined contribution (DC) plan communication and administration and modernizing HSA investment menus can help to position HSAs as retirement savings vehicles.Read more >
Participant Behaviors Can Inform Better Plan Design
J.P. Morgan makes recommendations for plan design and TDFs based on savings and withdrawal behaviors it analyzed.Read more >
Sponsored message from Vanguard
Vanguard TDFs—Well-designed in any weather. A look at how Vanguard® Target Retirement Funds are designed to help investors endure both good markets and bad.Read more >
Economic Events

In the week ending December 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 206,000, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 233,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 224,750, a decrease of 3,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 228,500.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.63%, down from 4.75% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.07%, down from 4.21%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow was up 70.11 points (0.29%) at 24,597.38, the NASDAQ closed 27.98 points (0.39%) lower at 7,070.33, and the S&P 500 was virtually unchanged at 2,650.54. The Russell 2000 lost 22.62 points (1.55%) to finish at 1,432.70, and the Wilshire 5000 decreased 62.41 points (0.23%) to 27,240.10.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 2/32, decreasing its yield to 2.907%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 12/32, bringing its yield up to 3.168%.

PBGC Updates Regulation for 2019 Distressed and Terminating DB Plans
A new table will be used for determining expected retirement ages for participants in pension plans undergoing distress or involuntary termination with valuation dates falling in 2019.Read more >
ESG Access Among Active Management Opportunities in 2019
Asked about what Putnam has seen develop this year in terms of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing programs, and about how ESG fits into the discussion of active and passive management, Reynolds had a lot to say. “For us, the ESG topic is about performance,” Reynolds said. “When we look at funds that do better on ESG factors, in our proprietary research, we can demonstrate that they have out-performed over time relative to peers that do less well on ESG factors. This doesn’t drive every buy or sell decision, but it’s certainly part of it.” He adds: “We are seeing a lot of interest from our clients on this topic, so I think these funds will be a more and more important part of the landscape.”Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Segal Group Offers Benefit Plan Reporting and Disclosure Calendars
The 2019 calendars summarize more than 60 annual compliance requirements and disclosure obligations that sponsors of health and retirement plan sponsors need to know.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1799, President George Washington died at the age 67. In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state. In 1900, Professor Max Planck of Berlin University revealed his revolutionary Quantum Theory. In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole. In 1939, the Soviet Union was dropped from the League of Nations. In 1946, the U.N. General Assembly voted to establish the United Nation’s headquarters in New York City. In 1962, the U.S. space probe Mariner II approached Venus. It transmitted information about the planet’s atmosphere and surface temperature. In 1984, Howard Cosell retired from the NFL’s Monday Night Football. In 1985, Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe as she formally took office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. In 1988, the first transatlantic underwater fiber-optic cable went into service. In 1999, Charles M. Schulz announced he was retiring the “Peanuts” comic strip.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

Toddler imitates how pregnant mother walks.Read more >
In the Netherlands, a French runner at the European Cross-Country Championships wanted to win with flair. He tried to slide through the finish line while waving French flags, but it didn’t work out. At least he won.Read more >
In Friedberg, Germany, the town where Elvis Presley was stationed as a U.S. soldier in the 1950s has installed three pedestrian lights with images of him. [pic]Read more >

In Werl, Germany, it wasn’t snow firefighters had to shovel. T tank at a local firm making liquid chocolate overflowed and poured out onto a street. “About a ton of chocolate ran out into the yard and from there onto the street,” a spokesman for the Werl fire department said in a statement, according to Reuters. The firefighters closed off the street and shoveled the chocolate—about 10 square meters (108 square feet)—to one side before a specialist cleaning company cleaned the road.

In Hallowell, Maine, a restaurant owner is fighting not to have boulders removed from in front of her business for a sidewalk project. She said in a public meeting the boulders were placed according to feng shui, a belief system about spatial arrangement that relates to flow of energy. The city’s highway committee is looking into the sidewalk change, the Associated Press reports.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Share the news with a friend! Pass the NewsDash along and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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