Connections for Success


Employee Benefit Plans


Time for Class: Widening the Scope of Training for Retirement Plan Committee Members
Michael Kovacs

Learning the ropes of overseeing a retirement plan isn’t a “one and done” exercise. Periodic training updates for retirement plan committee members acting in a fiduciary capacity is a prudent approach ensuring that they maintain the current knowledge essential to carry out their duties. More fundamental is ensuring that new committee members get a strong […]


Disclosure Obligations of Plan Sponsors
Kenneth Kobiernicki

Plan sponsors of qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, are required to provide certain information to plan participants. Although plan sponsors often rely on recordkeepers, third-party administrators or other advisors to help, it is ultimately the responsibility of the plan sponsor to make sure the disclosure requirements are met.


Tackling Workers’ Student Loan Debt in your Organization
Larry A. Ruff

When you look at the news, whether on the Internet, newspaper or television, there seems to be a piece about student loan debt. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants reported that student loan debt today averages $33,332. In addition, NerdWallet reported that this amount will be $37,400 on average for a 2019 high school […]


Proposed IRS Regulations Liberalize Rules for Hardship Withdrawals
James Quaid

How hard should a hardship be to justify a hardship withdrawal from a 401(k) plan?  Proposed IRS regulations could enable eligible plan participants “to access their money more quickly with a minimum of red tape,” according to the IRS. Below summarizes several key provisions of the  proposed regulations. The status quo To provide context for […]


Failing to Enroll Eligible Employees in Your Plan
James Pellino

Given the significant amount of administrative responsibilities of a plan sponsor, administrative glitches are inevitable when operating a retirement plan. One of the common errors we see when auditing plans is failing to add a newly eligible employee to your roster of 401(k) plan participants.


Gender Gaps in Retirement Savings
Stephanie M. Zaleski-Braatz

Although women have a longer lifespan than men, they tend to save less for retirement. Based on a recent study from the Center for Retirement Research, an aggressive educational program can help narrow the gap in retirement savings. 


The Importance of Target Date Fund Oversight
Kenneth Kobiernicki

Target date funds as a 401(k) Plan investment option have grown in popularity in recent years. Target date funds are mutual funds composed of a group of other mutual funds. These funds are often designed to initially invest fairly aggressively, and then gradually reallocate to become more conservative as it gets closer to that assumed retirement year— the target date. 


Finding the Retirement Plan Sweet Spot for Your Small Business
Larry A. Ruff

Small businesses have a lot of competing needs for their business resources. One of these resources is the use of their cash. No matter how much free cash flow you have, small businesses should consider using some or all of their free cash flow to contribute to a retirement plan.


Ready, Set and Coming Soon to Illinois: A Savings Program
Larry A. Ruff

Starting soon, perhaps, Illinois will launch their Secure Choice savings program for employers who currently do not offer a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan, to their employees. This compulsory program applies to employers with 25 or more employees and businesses operating in Illinois for two years or more.


Reduce Plan Leakage by Upgrading Your 401(k) Loan Rules and Practices
Stephanie M. Zaleski-Braatz

If your retirement plan allows loans and/or hardship withdrawals, it may be leaking money. Plan leakage refers to participants allowing their account balances to shrink, because of either loans or hardship withdrawals. Plan loans do not always result in permanent leakage when they are repaid, but they still can have adverse long-term consequences for participants.

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