Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
July 6th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Employers Relieved by High Court ACA Decision
A Mercer survey of nearly 600 employers finds most are feeling either positive or unconcerned about the Supreme Court’s ruling about health exchange subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nearly half of employers offering health coverage to their retired workforce (45%) feel “relieved that they will be able to continue steering pre-Medicare retirees to public exchanges now that subsidies are guaranteed.”Read more >
A study from the AARP Public Policy Institute provides insights into employment barriers for people of retirement age. The survey focused on individuals ages 55 to 70 who sought new jobs after a period of unemployment. More than one-quarter (26%) said employers thinking they were too old was a major barrier in finding employment.Read more >
Retirees Might Be Under-Annuitized
Contrary to a widespread fear caused by the shift from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) retirement plans, there is little evidence that the annuity-like share of retirees’ total income over the past three decades has, in fact, fallen for aged families, especially for low-income older families, according to a paper from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. However, “Do Retired Americans Annuitize Too Little? Trends in the Share of Annuitized Income” contends that many middle- and high-income aged families would experience a jump in monthly income if they annuitized their wealth.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Tool Helps with Medicare, Social Security Planning
Cowden Associates created ComprehensiveCast, a service to assist employers with guiding current retirees and future retirees (current employees who will retire in the near term) through the complicated world of retiree medical and Social Security optimization strategies. The Retirement ComprehensiveCast portrays customized estimated “all-in” retiree medical costs, an overview of benefit plan options available and Social Security optimization strategies, in a holistic approach to assist in achieving financial stability in retirement.Read more >
EARN Act Clears Senate Finance Committee
Plaintiffs Rebuffed by Appeals Court in Active Management Lawsuit
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Sponsored message from MassMutual
Eric Weitsma, SVP of Retirement Services, Sales and Worksite Education with MassMutual discusses Plan Health, Financial Wellness and the Convergence of Benefits with Alison Cooke Mintzer, Editor-in-Chief of PLANSPONSOR.Read more >
Economic Events

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.3, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, financial activities, and transportation and warehousing.

New orders for manufactured goods in May, down nine of the last ten months, decreased $4.5 billion or 1.0% to $470.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. This followed a 0.7% April decrease. Shipments, down two consecutive months, decreased 0.3 billion or 0.1% to $482.1 billion. Unfilled orders, down five of the last six months, decreased $6.4 billion or 0.5% to $1,194.6 billion. Inventories, up three of the last four months, increased $0.1 billion or virtually unchanged to $649.7 billion.

In the week ending June 27, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 281,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 271,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 274,750, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 273,750. 

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.08%, up from 4.02% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.24%, up from 3.21%.

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report. Friday, the Census Bureau will report about wholesale inventories for May.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow closed 27.80 points (0.16%) lower at 17,730.11, the NASDAQ decreased 3.91 points (0.08%) to 5,009.21, and the S&P 500 was virtually unchanged at 2,076.78. The Russell 2000 lost 8/14 points (0.65%) to finish at 1,248.26, and the Wilshire 5000 slipped 17.50 points (0.08%) to 21,950.59.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with a nearly even split between advancers and decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hand, with 1.7 declining issues for every advancing issue.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 11/32, bringing its yield down to 2.383%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was down 8/32, decreasing its yield to 3.190%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the market week ending July 2, the Dow decreased 1.21%, the NASDAQ lost 1.40%, and the S&P 500 was down 1.19%. The Russell 2000 fell 2.47%, and the Wilshire 5000 finished 1.33% lower.

Committee Suggests Additional Guidance for 403(b)s
Seven years after Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations were implemented, 403(b) plans still have trouble with compliance. The IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) has issued a report of recommendations to the IRS. In the report section about 403(b) plans, the committee makes recommendations covering universal availability, “orphan” 403(b) contracts, minimizing contract leakage, 403(b) plan terminations, and Employee Plan Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) improvements.Read more >
Health Plan Sponsors Must Exercise Prudence
Sponsors of health plans are subject to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requirements. The five most important ones, according to Joe Faucher, of counsel with Drinker Biddle & Reath in Los Angeles, are to: “follow the plan document, to pay only reasonable expenses associated with the plan, to act prudently, to properly marshal the assets of the plan in a trust and to pay benefits that are due.” Prudent selection of good providers can help avoid ERISA lawsuits.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1699, Captain William Kidd, the pirate, was captured in Boston, Massachusetts, and deported back to England. In 1854, in Jackson, Mississippi, the Republican Party held its first convention. In 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully tested his anti-rabies vaccine. In 1945, U.S. President Truman signed an order creating the Medal of Freedom. In 1957, Althea Gibson claimed the women’s singles tennis title at Wimbledon and became the first African American to win a championship at London’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. In 1971, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, died in New York City at the age of 69. In 1976, in Annapolis, Maryland, the United States Naval Academy admitted women for the first time in its history with the induction of 81 female midshipmen. In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that retirement plans could not pay women smaller monthly payments solely because of their gender.
Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, How do you celebrate the 4th of July holiday? More than one-third (33.7%) of responding readers said they have a party or cookout at home with friends and/or family, and nearly one-third (32.5%) go to a fireworks show. Slightly more than 22% of readers go to a party or cookout with friends and/or family. Thirty percent of responding readers indicated they celebrate in ways other than what was on the list. Among those responses, several readers go to a lake and several indicated they attend a parade. Some catch up on house and yard work, and some watch fireworks on TV. Those who chose to leave verbatim comments provided more details of their Independence Day celebrations. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who shared a unique tradition: “We do two specific events each year. First, a designated family member will select the Mystery Word, such as ‘camel.’ Then we have a contest to see how many names of the 50 states we can spell without using any of the letters in the Mystery Word. (For ‘camel’ only Ohio works.) Second, we each eat one seedless grape for each year of our country’s independence. For 2015 it is 239. We buy a lot of grapes.” Thanks to everyone who participated!Read more >
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Copyright © Asset International, Inc., 2015.

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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