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Are 403(b) plans evolving fast enough?

09/20/2017
By Aaron Friedman

My community recently experienced a technology upgrade. We now have fiber optics for TV and ultra-high speed internet. While I don’t really have use for 1GBps internet speed today, I know this latest evolution enables future technology. Change is often a good thing. Read More >>


Tax Reform - Head’s Up, Watch Out, Help Out!

09/20/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

Last month, on August 29th, I watched President Trump give a speech and promise tax reform.   President Trump and Congressional Republicans promise to enact reductions in marginal income tax rates: 

  • For individuals – potentially a change from seven marginal rates ranging from 10% - 43. Read More >>

Addressing Disasters & Emergencies: Giant, Large, Medium, Small, Individual

09/07/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

Plan sponsors must have the skills of an acrobat – balancing business needs, employee concerns, legal and compliance requirements – and sometimes they must do this against a backdrop of emergencies and natural disasters.   

In the last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) have each issued temporary relief on deadlines and procedural requirements applicable to tax qualified employee benefit plans for plan sponsors impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Read More >>


Why Don’t Employees Read What We Send Them? Do Mandatory Disclosures Make A Difference? Does Anyone Have A Better Idea? Part Three of Three

09/05/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

I am hopelessly jaded by my personal experiences as a plan sponsor - as noted in my written testimony:

  • There are way too many mandated disclosures, and
  • There is no effective differentiation or prioritization of the hundred or so mandated benefits disclosures,  so
  • These disclosures have little or no importance to already time-starved participants. Read More >>

Why Don’t Employees Read What We Send Them? Would Reading Mandatory Disclosures Make A Difference, Anyway? My Verbal Testimony. Part Two of Three.

08/30/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

In a recent post, we shared PSCA’s written testimony to the DOL’s ERISA Advisory Council on August 23 on the subject of mandated retirement plan disclosures. In this post, w wanted to share the highlights of my verbal testimony. I responded to specific questions posed by the ERISA Advisory Council concerning mandated disclosures:

  • Can some disclosures be combined or eliminated?  
    The number of notices and disclosures has exploded. Read More >>

Why Don’t Employees Read What We Send Them? Would Reading Mandatory Disclosures Make A Difference, Anyway? (Part One of Three.)

08/28/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

My corporate benefits experience confirms that, despite my best efforts, most of the mandatory benefits disclosures I wrote were never read.  That includes Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD), Summary Annual Report (SAR)s, etc.  It was disappointing.  These were often great works of literary achievement that, in my view, should have been submitted for awards!  Actually, I often toyed with the idea of putting a prize-winning ticket near the end of each disclosure just to see if anyone noticed and claimed the prize!  

Regardless of which survey you cite, few employees read the mandated benefits disclosures, understand the materials, truly understand their benefits and the available choices. Read More >>


The HSA in Your Future: Defined Contribution Retiree Medical Coverage - Part 3

08/17/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

Resolving the Retiree Medical Preparation Crisis – the Third of Three Posts 

Few Americans are successfully preparing for retiree medical.  It is a crisis!

For comparison, what would you do if you offered an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan and you failed to achieve the desired level of participation and preparation?  

  • Yell at your workers?  
  • Wash your hands?  
  • Wring your hands?  
  • Throw up your hands?  
  • Eliminate the retirement savings plan since it was an expensive failure?
  • Take the Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration’s advice (or anticipate 2017 legislation by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Congressmen Luke Messer (R-IN) and Mark Pocan (D-WI)) and give workers a projection that confirms they may run out of money in retirement and urge them to save more? (see:  https://www.federalregister. Read More >>

The HSA in Your Future: Defined Contribution Retiree Medical Coverage - Part 2

08/11/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

The Real Retirement Coverage Crisis – the Second of Three Posts 

Please stand up if you are currently working.  Now, sit down if you are not eligible for a tax-favored retirement savings plan.  

Why are you sitting?
Every worker should still be standing. Read More >>


Primum non nocere. First do no harm!

08/07/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

This caution is often attributed to the Hippocratic Oath – which actually guides physicians to: “abstain from doing harm.”  Yet for both plan sponsors and state legislators, it is wise advice.

Consider recent efforts by state legislators to resolve issues of retirement savings plan “access” or “coverage. Read More >>


The HSA in Your Future: Defined Contribution Retiree Medical Coverage - Part 1

08/04/2017
By Jack Towarnicky

How Did We Get Here? - The First of Three Posts

If America could get to the moon 48 years ago, it makes me wonder – if we accomplished that so long ago, what can stand in our way today??

Since then, benefits professionals have experienced lots of legislative challenges and opportunities – I call them the alphabets …  ERISA, ERTA, TEFRA, TRA’86, COBRA, EGTRRA, PPA, PPACA, etc. Read More >>


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