Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
December 17th, 2014
Benefits & Administration
Participants Acknowledge Investing Ignorance
Employees surveyed by the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (SRI) acknowledge they are not as informed about investing and finances as they would like to be. In the public sector, only 7% of workplace retirement investors feel very knowledgeable about their investments. Investing prowess is nearly as rare in the private sector, with 12% of investors feeling very confident in their financial knowledge.Read more >
Prior published reviews of state OPEB finances have identified a growing number of states that have elected to set aside assets to prefund retiree health benefits, according to a report from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. However, the Center says that given the size of the unfunded OPEB liability in some states, it is likely that state governments will continue to address these issues by reforming benefits or taking other actions.Read more >
Nonprofits Could Do More to Encourage Retirement Savings
Half of nonprofit organizations (50.4%) that sponsor 403(b) retirement plans are equally concerned about all employees saving enough for retirement, no matter their age, according to a survey by the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA). Next most concerning is Millennials, cited by 18.1%, followed by Generation X (14.4%). However, only 15.8% of survey respondents target their plan education materials to specific age segments.Read more >
Sponsored message from SunGard
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Products, Deals & People
TSA Consulting Group (TSACG) announced the promotion of Sherry Marcolongo to director of Corporate Communications. In this role, Marcolongo will assume responsibility for the development and oversight of all 403(b) educational material, including both printed and electronic components, Web page oversight, proposal management, document development and more.Read more >
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
What Kind of Payments Can a Hardship Request Cover When Buying a Home?
Maximum Benefit and Contribution Limits Table 2023
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
NAGDCA Offers Best Practices for Participant Communications
A guide from National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA) lists elements DC plan sponsors should include in participant communications and education. NAGDCA says participants should understand the context of their defined contribution plan. Will it be their only savings vehicle, or do they also have a defined benefit (DB) plan, and will they receive Social Security? Plan sponsors should also make sure participants understand that the amount as well as the amount of time that they contribute could have more of an impact than how they invest.Read more >
Industry Voices
Industry Voices – How Do You Know That Your Adviser Knows?
Even if your adviser is one of the few that maintains several qualified plans, we would argue that you need to start asking the tough questions to verify their knowledge.Read more >
Economic Events
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced that privately owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,028,000. This is 1.6% below the revised October estimate of 1,045,000 and is 7.0% below the November 2013 rate of 1,105,000. Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 677,000; this is 5.4% below the revised October figure of 716,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 340,000.
Market Mirror
Major U.S. stock indices ended lower again Tuesday. Analysts pointed to cross-asset volatility, especially fluctuations in the dollar and oil prices, as the culprits for wild swings on Wall Street, according to MarketWatch. The Dow was down 111.97 points (0.65%) at 17,068.87, the NASDAQ fell 57.32 points (1.24%) to 4,547.83, and the S&P 500 closed 16.89 points (0.85%) lower at 1,972.74. The Russell 2000 decreased by 0.92 (0.08%) to 1,139.37, and the Wilshire 5000 lost 155.35 points (0.74%) to finish at 20,703.09.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with 1.4 declining issues for every advancing issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares traded, with a 1.2 to 1 ratio of decliners to advancers.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 19/32, bringing its yield down to 2.053%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased by 9/32, decreasing its yield to 2.689%.
From the Magazine
Mergers and Acquisitions
The complexity of retirement plan laws and the volume of plan assets demand that more attention be paid to retirement plans in company mergers and acquisitions (M&As), says Richard P. McHugh, an attorney specializing in employee benefits with Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Washington, D.C. Retirement plan issues should be looked at early in the M&A process, McHugh argues.Read more >
Small Talk
If you’re wondering whether employees are using work time and resources to shop online, you should investigate your senior managers first, a survey by CareerBuilder suggests. The survey found senior-level employees are more likely to use work hours to shop online than entry-level or professional staff members—by a seven percentage point margin: 53% to 46%. Of this group, 10% admit they’ll spend more than three hours or more of work time shopping. In addition, the survey reveals workers in white collar industries and professions are far more likely than workers in other jobs to spend work hours shopping online.Read more >
ON THIS DATE: In 1843, Charles Dickens’ classic story “A Christmas Carol” was published. In 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. In 1975, a federal jury in Sacramento, California, sentenced Lynette Alice Fromme, also known as “Squeaky” Fromme, to life in prison for her attempted assassination of President Gerald R. Ford. In 1976, WTCG-TV, Atlanta, Georgia, changed its call letters to WTBS, and was uplinked via satellite. The station became the first commercial TV station to cover the entire U.S. In 1992, U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” —C.S. Lewis, author


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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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