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Addressing Employees’ Student Loan Debt in 2020
Addressing Employees’ Student Loan Debt in 2020
A review of how employers can help employees break free from the bind student loan debt has on financial wellbeing and retirement savings.
Barry’s Pickings: Retirement Policy 2019 Report Card: B+/A-
Michael Barry, president of O3 Plan Advisory Services LLC, rates how actions of Congress, regulators and the courts have or have not improved retirement policy.
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Data and Research
The Growing Interest in Guaranteed Income Options
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Data and Research
Employers Feel the Strain of Rising Labor Costs
Investment Product and Service Launches
Franklin Templeton adds first alternative ETF; Innovator launches four power buffer ETFs; Vanguard announces lowered expense ratios on several ETFs; and more.
Economic Events
In the week ending December 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 222,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 224,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 233,250, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 228,500. This is the highest level for this average since January 27, 2018, when it was 235,750.

A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72% for the week ending January 2, 2020, slightly down from last week when it averaged 3.74%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.51%. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.16%, down from last week when it averaged 3.19%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.99%.
Market Mirror
Thursday, the Dow climbed 330.36 points (1.16%) to 28,868.80, the NASDAQ gained 119.59 points (1.33%) to finish at 9,092.19, and the S&P 500 closed 27.07 points (0.84%) higher at 3,257.85. The Russell 2000 was up 2.62 points (0.16%) at 1,666.77, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 255.51 points (0.78%) to 33,142.25.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 4/32, decreasing its yield to 1.876%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 1 2/32, bringing its yield down to 2.332%.
IRS Announces Dates for Third Remedial Amendment Cycle for DB Plans
The agency says the third six-year remedial amendment cycle for pre-approved defined benefit (DB) plans begins on May 1, 2020, and ends on January 31, 2025.
ERISA Class Action Complaint Targets Ardent Health Services
One unique feature of the complaint is a short discussion of Sageview Advisory Group being a “non-defendant fiduciary.”
American Miners Act Included in Budget Bill
The bill transfers certain funds to provide pension and health benefits for retired coal miners.
Tips on How to Find Missing Participants
Failure to find missing participants could disqualify a retirement plan under the tax code and lead to breaches of the ERISA fiduciary duty.
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1777, the Battle of Princeton took place, in which George Washington defeated the British forces, led by Cornwallis. In 1825, the first engineering college in the U.S., Rensselaer School, opened in Troy, New York. It is now known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1888, the drinking straw was patented by Marvin C. Stone. In 1924, English explorer Howard Carter discovered the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt. In 1938, the March of Dimes was established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The original name of the organization was the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. In 1951, NBC-TV debuted “Dragnet.” In 1959, Alaska became the 49th U.S. state. In 1961, the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. In 1973, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) sold the New York Yankees to a 12-man syndicate headed by George Steinbrenner for $10 million. In 1983, Tony Dorsett (Dallas Cowboys) made the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. Dorsett ran 99 yards in a game against the Minnesota Vikings. In 2000, Charles M. Schulz’s final original daily comic strip appeared in newspapers.

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!
For your listening pleasure, “Flight of the Bumblebee.”

“UPS Delivery on Ice”

Not snow, but tumbleweeds, was the reason a Washington state highway was closed in both directions Tuesday night after several cars became trapped. Vehicles were trapped in a pile of tumbleweeds that stood up to 15 feet tall. The state Department of Transportation used snow plows to clear the scene. [pic]

In High Point, North Carolina, a couple was awakened one night recently by noises that sounded like someone moving around the house. According to the Associated Press, they hid in the closet and called 911. Responding sheriff’s deputies searched the home, and found the culprit. A robot vacuum had seemingly started, gotten stuck and was beeping and banging.

In Sand Springs, Oklahoma, a carjacker was arrested for kidnapping. A man had stopped at a store in Carthage, Missouri, and went in while one of his passengers was sleeping. When the sleeping passenger’s awoke, a masked man was driving the car. The masked man drove all the way to Oklahoma before releasing the passengers—the sleeping man and a goat.

In Wausau, Wisconsin, the city is considering taking snowball fights off the naughty list. A 1962 ban on throwing projectiles in Wausau lumps snowballs into the same category as rocks and other items that can cause serious harm, according to the Associated Press. City Council President Lisa Rasmussen said recent negative national attention over the rarely used ordinance has raised questions about whether it should be changed. “Maybe it’s worth giving a look to see if that list could be amended, to mitigate that odd news story that keeps coming up like a bad penny,” Rasmussen said, according to the news report. Deputy Chief Matt Barnes told Wisconsin Public Radio News the department has used the ordinance to write about 10 tickets in the last 15 years. The citations included cases of people shooting crossbows into a neighbor’s yard, dropping sandbags off the roof of a downtown parking ramp and, on two occasions, throwing snowballs at passing cars. The City Council will consider decriminalizing snowball fights at a meeting this month.

Have a wonderful weekend!
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