Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 24th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
A Written Plan Helps With Retirement Confidence
Seventy-eight percent of investors think they will have enough money to maintain the lifestyle they want in retirement, up from 69% in 2014, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallop Investor and Retirement Optimism Index. In fact, 31% feel highly confident, up from 26%, and those who are not confident has fallen from 31% to 22%. A big factor that helps people attain this confidence is having a written plan, the Index finds. Read more >
Retiring Later Not a Reliable Retirement Strategy
As in prior years, there is a big gap between when active workers expect to retire and when retirees say they actually did, according to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Luke Vandermillen, vice president of retirement and income solutions at Principal, says everyone makes the assumption that the age at which they retire is their choice, but it may not be. He suggests ways to prepare in case plans to retire later do not pan out. Read more >
EARN Act Clears Senate Finance Committee
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Plaintiffs Rebuffed by Appeals Court in Active Management Lawsuit
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Bulk of Target-Date Funds in Retirement Accounts
As of December 31, 2016, target-date mutual fund assets totaled $887 billion, up 1.5% in the fourth quarter and up 16.3% for the year, according to data from the Investment Company Institute (ICI). Retirement accounts held the bulk of target-date mutual fund assets: 88% of target-date mutual fund assets were held through defined contribution (DC) plans (67% of the total of DC plan assets). Read more >
Products, Deals and People
There are many different ways of delivering financial wellness programming to retirement plan participants. One recent theme being embraced by a wider number of advisory firms and clients is “financial wellness delivered on a turnkey, third-party basis.” The idea is to move financial wellness and general education initiatives around budgeting, benefits optimization, tax management, debt, etc., away from being tied to a specific set of products. This is the approach taken by Merit Financial Group, which has rolled out its “Worksite Financial Wellness Platform.” Read more >
Hartford Funds has released actively managed exchange-traded funds (ETF) based on fixed income. The Hartford Quality Bond ETF and Hartford Corporate Bond ETF will be sub advised by Wellington Management Company. Both products will leverage the firm’s fixed income research and portfolio management capabilities. Read more >
Employers can now get access to free online 401(k) management services through Legacy Financial Advisors. At an additional cost, the program is also provided to employees and would be tailored to each individual’s goals and objectives. The program consists of various services including set-up guides, 401(k) management tools, and ongoing reporting for account supervision. Read more >
Economic Events

Sales of new single-family houses in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 6.1% above the revised January rate of 558,000 and is 12.8% above the February 2016 estimate of 525,000.

In the week ending March 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 258,000, an increase of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 243,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 240,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 239,000.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.23%, down from 4.30% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.44%, down from 3.50%. 

Market Mirror
Thursday, the Dow slipped 4.72 points (0.02%) to 20,656.58, the NASDAQ was down 3.95 points (0.07%) at 5,817.69, and the S&P 500 decreased 2.49 points (0.11%) to 2,345.96. The Russell 2000 was up 7.83 points (0.58%) at 1,353.42, and the Wilshire 5000 was virtually unchanged at 24,383.09.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, and on the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares traded, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issue nearly 2 to 1 on both exchanges.

The prices of the 10-year Treasury note and the 30-year Treasury bond were both down 2/32, increasing their yields to 2.413% and 3.025%, respectively. 

IRI Releases 2017 Policy Agenda
The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) says it will call on Congress and the Trump Administration to support greater access to workplace retirement plans and simplified lifetime-income products. Read more >
From the Magazine
Insights: Value vs. Cost
Across our Plan Sponsors of the Year finalists and our Best in Class 401(k) plans there are many best practices in play. Something you might be surprised about—the plan sponsors that take part in our award programs likely don’t have the cheapest plans; nor should they. What they do offer are incredibly valuable plans. Why focus on costs? Is it about simply paying the least for a minimum product? Or is there a conscious decision to focus on the value being received? Those who focus on value might have a plan that looks more expensive in terms of plan administration, but it includes services that improve outcomes—making the costs reasonable. Which is what ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] requires, after all, reasonable—not cheap. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1664, a charter to colonize Rhode Island was granted to Roger Williams in London. In 1765, Britain passed the Quartering Act that required the American colonies to house 10,000 British troops in public and private buildings. In 1868, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was formed. In 1900, in New Jersey, the Carnegie Steel Corporation was formed. In 1920, the first U.S. coast guard air station was established at Morehead City, North Carolina. In 1934, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines. In 1955, Tennessee Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” debuted on Broadway. In 1980, “Nightline” with Ted Koppel premiered. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil in Alaska’s Prince William Sound after it ran aground. In 1995, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a welfare reform package that made the most changes in social programs since the New Deal. In 2005, Sandra Bullock received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES

This is the biggest rooster I have ever seen. Read more >
Snow shoveling fails and fun. Read more >
A new sport: Russian car curling. Read more >

In South Africa, a soccer player scored two goals during a match between Free State and Cape Town, and afterward, he inadvertently gave an incredibly awkward post-game interview. The player told the interviewer that he appreciated his wife and his girlfriend, before backtracking and trying to make it clear he only meant to thank his wife, according to NY Magazine.


In Cumbra, UK, a woman was having some boiled eggs for breakfast when she says she felt something funny in her mouth. “I took one, peeled it and bit into it when I feel something like gristle in my mouth,” the woman told South West News Service. “It fell on to the plate and I couldn’t understand where it had come from―I thought it had come from me.” What Thompson saw was a small diamond. She was worried that someone had actually lost a diamond. However, a jeweler who examined it said the gem was most likely cubic zirconia, not a real diamond.


In New York, Demeter Fragrance Library, a New York-based company that develops fragrances based on everyday scents, has developed a new perfume that will bring memories of a dozen kitten cuddles, called Kitten Fur. “Now after 15 years of effort, Demeter has captured the olfactory essence of the warmth and comfort of that purrfect spot, just behind kitten’s neck,” the company wrote on its website, according to the Huffington Post. The scent of Kitten Fur is being sold in several Demeter products, including cologne, roll-on perfume oil, body lotion, shower gel and a diffuser oil.


In Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, Luzerne County prosecutors say Assistant District Attorney Jill Matthews received a text using drug lingo that they called an “obvious text for a drug deal,” according to the Associated Press. They say she later received a photo of a plastic bag containing a green substance on a scale. The texter wanted to trade mari.juana for her.oin. He was arrested, but is now being sought after failing to appear for a hearing.


In Paris, France, French gendarmes called to a robbery found the suspected thief stuck in a hole he’d made with a hammer in a shop window. Firefighters were called to free the man, who was then taken into custody, according to the Associated Press.


In Alexandria, Virginia, a 21-year-old man robbed an apartment and then jumped off the second-story balcony after the owner returned home. The robber broke his leg in the jump off a balcony, and then called authorities to help him. The authorities say he will be charged after his release from the hospital, the Associated Press reports.


Have a great weekend!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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