Employee Benefit Plans
Before You Renovate Your Home, Do the Math
David M. Bowman
Thinking about renovating your home to boost its market value? You’re not alone. In the first quarter of 2017, the Remodeling Market Index, compiled by the National Association of Home Builders, reached 58. That’s close to its historical high and is its strongest showing since the fourth quarter of 2015.
Target Date Funds – Confusion?
The proliferation of target date fund (TDF) varieties can confuse many plan sponsors. One survey found that while nearly two-thirds of plan sponsors consider investment performance the most important selection criterion when choosing a TDF for their participants, more than half are not confident that they have a solid basis for benchmarking the TDFs against […]
IRS Simplifies Process for Avoiding Rollover Penalties
As retirement plan processes continue to be more automated, such as enrollments, deferral changes, distributions, loans, etc., many plan sponsors encourage 401(k) plan participants to request a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer or direct rollover. However, participants sometimes do not adhere to this advice and ask to have their account balances distributed directly to them, subject to […]
What Is Buried Inside Your 401(k) or 403(b) Plan Fees?
Larry A. Ruff
Do you know and understand what are your 401(k) or 403(b) plan’s fees, and especially, what are inside those buried fees? Broadly speaking, retirement plan fees consist of fees and expenses associated with plan administration services, such as record keeping fees, and plan investment activities, such as investment management fees. But what are the fees buried inside your plan’s investment funds?
Correcting 401(k) Plan Loan Failures Voluntarily
Participant loans are a feature of many 401(k) Plans. Participants may borrow the lesser of $50,000 or 50% of the participant’s vested plan assets. Some 401(k) Plans allow a participant to have multiple loans outstanding at one time. In that scenario, the $50,000 limit is lowered by the highest outstanding loan balance during the one-year period ending on the day before the newest loan.
How to Handle Hardship Withdrawals
Stephanie M. Zaleski
Many 401(k) plans feature a hardship withdrawal option. Both the IRS and DOL maintain strict regulations around these provisions. This article discusses how, in early 2017, the IRS issued updated audit guidelines regarding requirements for hardship withdrawals and guidance for plan sponsors on how to remedy errors in the administration of these withdrawals.
Avoid Litigation with Attention to Common ‘Red Flags’
Any size retirement plan can run into serious trouble when sponsors are not careful. With some planning, however, a qualified retirement plan can avoid ERISA litigation. This article reviews some of the most common red flags leading to litigation and reminds plan sponsors of the importance of regularly reviewing fees and expenses.
Helping Soon-to-Be Retirees Understand RMD Rules
Employees who are approaching retirement age may be unaware of their required minimum distribution (RMD) obligations, which begin at age 70½ for both individual IRAs and 401(k)s. This article summarizes what they need to know for financial and tax-planning purposes.
Be Prepared for Your Next — or First — QDRO
In the settlement of divorce cases, it is frequent to have the courts order that a portion of one spouse’s pension benefits be assigned to the other (soon to be former) spouse. However, it is up to the plan sponsor or administrator to determine whether the order qualifies as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This article discusses common errors that plan sponsors encounter when qualifying a domestic relations order and how to handle the rejection of an order.
Fiduciary Duties: Reviewing & Benchmarking Plan Fees
Are the services a plan receives reasonably priced? Knowing the answer is a vital fiduciary duty. ERISA expects more from plan fiduciaries than simply shopping around for plan providers offering rock bottom rates. This article summarizes some key areas all fiduciaries must consider when benchmarking costs of their qualified retirement plan. A sidebar discusses a report that suggests ways employers can help current plan participants ease into retirement.