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A Nobel Laureate Focused on 401(k)s

By Jack Towarnicky

Congratulations to Professor Richard Thaler, the 2017 Nobel Prize winner in economics.  

Many of us know him through the book he co-wrote with Cass Sunstein, Nudge, which was published in 2008.  Professor Thaler was already famous in our community for highlighting the possibilities where behavioral economic tools and processes could be deployed in retirement savings plans. Read More >>

Who Gets To Decide When You Should Retire?

By Jack Towarnicky

In their September 22, 2017 Wall Street Journal essay, University of Chicago Law School professors Saul Levmore and Martha Nussbaum assert “Let’s Agree on an Age to Retire”.   

Several assertions were simply wrong:

  • They propose: “Let’s Agree on an Age to Retire”. Read More >>

The 403(b) market – room for future upgrades?

By Aaron Friedman

In my last post I talked about my neighbors’ discomfort with change, even though it positions us for the future. Some have complained a new TV service is inferior. While I agree there may be fewer bells and whistles, the new provider uses a fiber optic-based system with plenty of room for future upgrades. Read More >>

Are 403(b) plans evolving fast enough?

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!

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

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

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.

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.)

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

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 >>

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