Connections for Success


Employee Benefit Plans


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.


Identity Theft Puts Plan Participants and Sponsors at Risk
James Quaid

News of commercial database hackings involving personal information seems all too common. While many of these stories focus on bank and credit card accounts, many plan sponsors and participants do not realize that 401(k) plan assets may also be at risk.


Plan Documents: Be Proactive to Avoid Violations
James Pellino

Anyone administering a retirement plan quickly realizes that it can be a daunting task. A key requirement that many administrators inadvertently miss is operating the plan in accordance to the plan documents.


The Rise in Cash Balance Plans
Kenneth Kobiernicki

Cash balance plans, a defined benefit plan that defines the benefit in terms that are more characteristic of a defined contribution plan, has grown in popularity in recent years.  According to the statistics per the most recent IRS Form 5500 filings, these hybrid plans have increased by approximately 17%, whereas traditional 401(k) plans increased by a more modest 3% over the same time period. 

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