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The Retirement Writeup

Nick Kralj writes timely thoughts on retirement planning, fiduciary liability, 401(k) plans and trends to consider in providing retirement plans for your workforce.

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5 Retirement Plan Trends in 2017

There is never a dull moment in the retirement plan marketplace, and the new year promises for more innovation, updates and change. Here are five retirement plan topics you can count on to create buzz in 2017.

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k)

401(k) — Effective Communication Requires Specific Targeting

Recent surveys show, 401(k) participants want to be communicated with in a way that meets their specific desires. Near retirees would like to hear about income and asset protection, while younger employees want to know about match and asset growth.

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Retirement

Is your financial adviser a fiduciary?

Retirement advisers everywhere are dropping the F word — fiduciary. In April, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) passed new rules governing how financial professionals handle the trillions of dollars they invest on behalf of Americans saving for retirement.

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Retirement

Data Tracking — Your Secret Weapon To Retirement Planning

Up until some of the more recent innovations in the retirement plan space, plan sponsors could not really answer either. Today however, data is getting better, which in turn then shows us what factors really make a difference and which ones never were a measure of true success.

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Retirement

Reminder: Form 5500 Compliance Deadline

Have you filed your Form 5500? Remember, sponsors of benefit and pension plans are required to file Form 5500, regardless of

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Nick Kralj / / Retirement, Tax

Event: Western Pension & Benefits Council's Spring Conference

Are you responsible for employee benefit plan audits? Are you trying to make sense of Affordable Care Act updates? The Western Pension & Benefits Council’s Spring Conference is your premier event for pension and benefits professionals in Oregon and 

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Jenny Winters / / 401(k), Consulting, Leadership, Retirement

4 Reasons Not to Give (to Yourself) This Holiday season

Borrowing from yourself via your 401(k) sounds so appealing: payback through payroll deduction, low interest rate paid to yourself, and a nominal fee.  The process is often automated with the help of recordkeepers today so that it is little to no impact to the plan sponsor. But there is a cost that is looming beyond the immediate impact that plan sponsors need to be aware of ...

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Consulting

Kale or Money: it’s all about prioritizing your greens

Approaching financial wellness isn’t all that different from approaching your physical wellness. We’ve simplified the process into four easy steps: learning, planning, execution, review results. When we see clients engage in this process—and repeat with refinements—we see success. Now, when it comes to whether financial or physical wellness is preferred, money is apparently king. Findings in a recent study showed ...

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Consulting, Healthcare, Retirement

401k Fee Transparency – the Next Level

Investment lingo in the finance world is akin to traveling through the European countryside, bumping into multiple countries in  short  span of time, each of which speak an entirely different language.  There are different terms for the same items and thereby ...

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Retirement

Millennials on Retirement: Different Challenges and Different Attitudes

As more millennials enter the workforce, there’s more dialogue about how to engage them for financial success. 

While saving is universal, the messaging that engages Millennials is different. Also, their savings needs are different, too. Millennials are the first generation to fully comprehend that, unlike their parents, they may need to fund the vast majority of their own retirement.

Messaging to a New Generation

This new generation has grown up with cell phones, tablets and computers that make mincemeat out of ...

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Consulting, Leadership, Retirement

Three Ways 403(b) Sponsors Can Streamline Their Plan

403(b) plans, also known as tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) plans, are retirement plans available to certain employees of tax-exempt organizations, public school employees and certain ministers. In 2009, new regulations started making 403(b)s look like the 401(k) market by requiring a written plan document for the first time. This regulation is a great foundation, but we see that this is only the beginning to take advantage of efficiencies and cost optimization for plans today. Based on an article from plansponsor.com, we see three ways to further enhance 403(b) plans to help plan sponsors and participants:

  1. Consider mutual funds. 403(b) accounts were built on an annuity basis (even called TSA, or tax-sheltered annuities).  Starting in 2007…

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Consulting, Retirement

Five Hot Trends in Retirement Planning

Retirement planning might be based on a few fundamental financial concepts, but the specifics are constantly changing. Technology and federal regulations have brought several big changes for employers and employees. Here are five trends in retirement planning every retirement plan sponsor and participant should know about.

1. Data to Measure Success

The data collected today is changing the face of retirement plans, and the measurements to determine if a participant is on track for retirement are becoming more and more accessible. This helps plan sponsors identify meaningful actions and assist those participants not on track, as well as…

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Nick Kralj / / Consulting, Legislation, Retirement

Book Review: The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

I recently read The Wealthy Barber by Canadian businessman and author David Chilton. The novel uses a clever story telling method to offer great financial wellness advice while staying light, easy to read and entertaining.

The Wealthy Barber is a fictional story of a young group of friends–all about 30 years old–who are just getting to the time in their life when they want to take their financial planning seriously. Their teacher is an unassuming local business man: a successful barber…

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Nick Kralj / / Retirement

Do We Have a Retirement Crisis or Do We Not?

Doom and gloom! No wait, its sunny and fine!

Well…. which one is it? It appears that we still do not fully know, when it comes to determining whether we as a nation are on track to support ourselves in retirement.

A recent study by the Center For Retirement Research at Boston College found that there are conflicting reports of retirement readiness, depending on which report you read…

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Leadership, Retirement

What does Pi have to do with Retirement Planning?

Pi = 3.14159265359

“Super Pi Day” is coming up March 14, 2015 - when the date aligns with the first five digits of pi. It only happens once a century.

Let me be the first to wish you, happy Super Pi Day!

A recent post by investor education firm FinMason pulled out a fun and timely piece from Pi. They created an association with the next five digits of pi and key retirement planning ages people should consider…

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Retirement

The Secret to Long-Term Wealth? Learning How to Learn.

A recent study by graduate students at the University of Massachusetts shows an interesting correlation between education and money. The findings show that older adults with a greater level of financial literacy also had greater wealth–$71,187 on average, according to a US News & World Report article on the study.

The study looked at 1,596 older adults, and emphasized that the knowledge gap was beyond mere basics–showing a clear distinction between advanced concepts like percentages vs. dollar differences, and a more comprehensive understanding of compounding.

While the concept of financial education is noble and worthy, I believe there is still a step further to go…

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Retirement

Insurance for Long Life in Retirement?

Longevity is a big issue in determining retirement success, and the US Treasury just made a change to address it. The change includes allowing for longevity insurance inside of a retirement plan.  Vanguards Steve Utkus provides a great summary in his blog here.

Essentially the contracts will be purchased at or near retirement, and provide income in the future, approximately age 85.

The concept is reasonable in certain cases, although its broad acceptance is still to be determined. For instance…

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Nick Kralj / / Legislation, Retirement

Should Financial Education Start in High School?

When did you first start thinking about managing your finances? Maybe your parents introduced you to the basics at an early age. Or perhaps you took a class or two as a requirement in college? According to a recent survey, 64 percent of respondents indicated they received little or no instruction on financial topics in high school, and this might be cause for concern.

The concept of financial education is a challenge…

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Nick Kralj / / Retirement

Calories and Fee Disclosure - Revisited

18 months ago, I wrote a piece on what I saw as an analogy for retirement plan fee disclosure: that plan participants would react in a manner similar to people at the local deli seeing mandatory calorie disclosure on the menu. It might make a few people choose the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the burger, but probably not many.

Upon reflection of the fee disclosure rollout, I believe the participant fee disclosures 
404(a)(5) have not been successful. Instead of people reading them like calorie input…

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Nick Kralj / / Retirement

How Much do you Really Need to Save for Retirement?

How do I know if I am saving enough for retirement?  When should I start?

These questions are more and more prominent as 401(k) and other employee-directed accounts become the primary basis for retirement income.

A recent study by the Center for Retirement Research out of Boston College reflects how much…

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Nick Kralj / / Retirement

Get the Most out of Your 401K Plan

As various tax laws are passed, employers are required to operate under the new rules with their 401k plan documents appropriately amended. Every six years, unless extended, the IRS requires plans to be completely restated to a new document.  Starting May 1,  2014 and ending April 30, 2016 Defined Contribution plan PPA Restatements are required.

If you have not already been notified by your plan administrator, you will be shortly. As this occurs…

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Nick Kralj / / 401(k), Retirement

When It Comes to the Numbers, How Should We Approach Retirement?

When we sit down with retirement plan participants, we often get asked, “How much do I need to retire?” or “Do I have enough?”

Its a big question, with considerations such as longevity, market returns, inflation, taxes and budget being a few.  More often that not, in that discussion the feeling is that they need more. This may be the case, but there is another part of the participant’s balance sheet…

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Nick Kralj / / Retirement

Is Australia a Retirement Model for America?

Are all things Australian coming to America? I’ve seen a few things recently that makes me think our friends down under have some lessons for retirement planning.

This past month, we saw the the recent student loan initiative by the President to change the payback terms for college student loans. Essentially, this would dramatically change student borrowing in the U.S., where Read more

Nick Kralj / / Retirement

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors, but is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice.

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