Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
January 26th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
LGBT Workers Not Habitual Savers
Thirty-six percent of LGBT workers in all nine nations included in Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement research think they will need to generate at least 80% of their current income in retirement, compared to only 32% of heterosexual workers. Only 37% of LGBT workers say they are habitual savers, compared to 41% of heterosexuals. In the U.S., these figures are 61% and 57%, respectively. However, LGBT workers across the globe are more likely to have a written retirement plan (20% versus 16%; and 49% and 32% in the U.S.).Read more >
Financial Confidence Reaches Record High
Although inflation has been rising, stock market gains and a decrease in unemployment have boosted the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Personal Financial Satisfaction Index (PFSi) to the highest level it has ever reached in the 24 years AICPA has been conducting this survey. However, “Americans should continue to assess their personal risk tolerance and work with their financial advisers to determine how best to approach investment decisions in 2018,” says David Cherill, a member of the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee.Read more >
Public Pensions Produced Solid Returns in 2017
In 2017, public pensions managed to raise the market value of fund assets above the actuarial value of assets, the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) found. Furthermore, the one-year, five-year and 20-year investment returns are near or above investment assumptions. In spite of these improvements, 85% of public pension funds tamped down their investment return assumptions or plan to do so.Read more >
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
Employees Cite Several Reasons for Not Participating in Financial Wellness Programs
Plan Sponsors Might Mitigate ERISA Lawsuits With Defensive Provisions
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Products, Deals and People
Alger Expands Focused Portfolios Suite
The fund, named the Alger 25 Fund, will hold 25 high-conviction stocks and have a performance-based management fee.Read more >
PlanVisualizer Design Support Tool Launched by Empower Retirement
Empower’s PlanVisualizer aims to create a holistic view of a client’s retirement plan in its current state, along with the ability to model how changes to key design elements can potentially affect participant preparedness.Read more >
Economic Events

Sales of new single-family houses in December 2017 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 9.3% below the revised November rate of 689,000, but is 14.1% above the December 2016 estimate of 548,000. An estimated 608,000 new homes were sold in 2017—8.3% above the 2016 figure of 561,000.

In the week ending January 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 233,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 216,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 240,000, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 243,500.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.15%, up from 4.04% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.62%, up from 3.49%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow gained 140.67 points (0.54%) to finish at 26,392.79, the NASDAQ was down 3.90 points (0.05%) at 7,411.16, and the S&P 500 increased by 1.71 points (0.06%) to 2,839.25. The Russell 2000 closed 2.06 points (0.13%) higher at 1,601.67, and the Wilshire 5000 was up 16.17 points (0.05%) at 29,450.83.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 7/32, decreasing its yield to 2.623%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 25/32, bringing its yield down to 2.890%.

With Sustainable Investing Pledge, Voya Joins Industry ESG Debate
Voya Investment Management, the asset management business of Voya Financial, announced that it has become a Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) signatory. While some voices have emerged in the last several months arguing that the use of ESG investing programs has growth too political in the U.S.—for example the American Council for Capital Formation’s (ACCF) challenges against both CalPERS and the New York City pension system—leaders at Voya say this move is coming at the behest of clients and is simply the right thing to do, financially and otherwise.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1784, in a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the eagle as the symbol of America. He wanted the symbol to be the turkey. In 1802, the U.S. Congress passed an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol. In 1837, Michigan became the 26th state to join the United States. In 1861, the state of Louisiana seceded from the Union. In 1870, the state of Virginia rejoined the Union. In 1875, George F. Green patented the electric dental drill for sawing, filing, dressing and polishing teeth. In 1934, The Apollo Theatre opened in New York City. In 1942, the first American expeditionary force to go to Europe during World War II went ashore in Northern Ireland. In 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy appointed Dr. Janet G. Travell as the first woman to be the “personal physician to the President.” In 1992, Russian president Boris Yeltsin announced that his country would stop targeting U.S. cities with nuclear weapons. In 1999, Saddam Hussein vowed revenge against the U.S. in response to air-strikes that reportedly killed civilians in Iraq. The strikes were U.S. planes defending themselves against anti-aircraft fire.

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

One Philadelphia Eagles fan got a little too excited.Read more >
It is funny when pets get a sudden burst of energy.Read more >

In London, England, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a minister for loneliness. The action was in response to a report published by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness that says more than nine million people in the country often or always feel lonely. “It’s proven to be worse for health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but it can be overcome and needn’t be a factor in older people’s lives,” said Mark Robinson, the chief officer of Age UK, Britain’s largest charity working with older people. The New York Times reports that the prime minister announced that Tracey Crouch, who is the under secretary for sport and civil society in the culture ministry, would lead a government-wide group to establish policies on the issue. In parallel, the Office for National Statistics would help to establish a method of measuring loneliness, and a fund would be set up to help the government and charities to develop a wider strategy to identify opportunities to tackle the problem.


In Montreal, Canada, a man created a replica of the DeLorean sports car seen in the movie “Back To The Future” using snow. The replica was in a snow removal zone, and when a police officer spotted it, he called for backup, according to MSN. When they realized it was a fake, they left on it a faux parking ticket, which CBS Los Angeles said translates to, “You made our night hahahahaha :)” Sanitation workers reportedly plowed down the snow-DeLorean the next day.


In Belfast, Maine, police found a man in his car, stuck in a ditch last week. WGME-TV reports police said when they tried to test for his blood-alc.ohol level, the man punched himself in the face three times, causing himself to bleed. Police tended to his injuries instead of giving him the test, but later charged him with operating under the influence, falsifying physical evidence and criminal mischief.


In Al-Rumahiya, Saudi Arabia, a dozen would-be contestants have been disqualified from this year’s Saudi “camel beauty contest” because their handlers used Botox to make them more handsome. During the month-long camel festival, the dromedaries parade down a dusty racetrack as judges rate the size of their lips, cheeks, heads and knees, Reuters reports. “The camel,” explained the chief judge of the show, “is a symbol of Saudi Arabia. We used to preserve it out of necessity, now we preserve it as a pastime.”


In St. Petersburg, Florida, an attorney is suing Marriott International and a parking service, saying a hotel valet gave his keys to the wrong person. A young man told a woman the car was his, demanded the keys from the valet, saying the ticket was in the car and he’d bring it back. According to the Associated Press, the young man never brought the ticket back and the valet said he stopped paying attention after he “figured he wasn’t getting a tip.” The young man admitted to police that he was trying to impress the woman he just met, but he says he’s innocent of grand theft, because the valet gave him the keys.


In Spartanburg, South Carolina, police were called to a Taco Bell restaurant. A worker was complaining about having to work the morning shift, and after a supervisor told the worker to “stop being a crybaby,” the employee threw a hot burrito at the supervisor. Police say the employee also took off his headset, broke it on his knee and “stormed out.” No arrests have been made, according to the Associated Press.


Have a wonderful weekend!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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