Category Archives: 403(b) Plans

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403(b) plans looking a lot like 401(k) plans by making similar mistakes

403(b) plans have come a long way since added to the Internal Revenue Code in 1958. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued regulations governing the plans in 1964, and published a comprehensive revision that was effective January 1, 2009 that made major changes to 403(b) plans. The effect of which was to lessen the difference … Continue Reading

Benefit Plan Regulators Have Been Busy – Very Busy

Benefit plan regulators were active in the period leading up to the Federal government’s June 30 fiscal year-end. Significant new rules and regulations were proposed for retirement plans, deferred compensation plans and group health plans. It’s not a walk on the wild side, but some of the dry regulatory pronouncements will impact most benefit plan … Continue Reading

Boomerang Employees and 401(k) Considerations

We used to call them “rehires” back in the day: those employees who quit and were hired back. And it didn’t happen all that often. Many companies had policies not to. They’re now called “boomerang employees, and now it’s different. Different times, different economy. Employees who left the nest decide they want to come back, … Continue Reading

IRS Announces 2016 Retirement Plan Limits: Most Remain Unchanged

The IRS recently announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2016. For the third time in six years, most of the limitations were unchanged because the increase in the Consumer Price Index did not meet the statutory thresholds for their adjustment: 401k Elective Deferrals: … Continue Reading

Sorry, MacGyverisms can’t solve 403(b) problems, but there are ways to fix them

Back in the 1980s, I thought MacGyver could fix anything. Using everyday items, he invented ways to fix critical problems. These inventions became synonymous with the character and became known as “MacGyverisms”. Just a little more than halfway through Season 1, for example, he had Disarmed a missile with a paper clip Raised a fallen … Continue Reading

How the re-proposed Fiduciary Rule came to be

As everyone in the ERISA world knows,  the Department of Labor (DOL) on April 20, 2015 published a proposed regulation in the Federal Register relating to the definition of fiduciary within the meaning of ERISA section 3(21)(A)(ii). ERISA section 3(21)(A)(ii) is that part of the definition of fiduciary that addresses investment advice for a fee … Continue Reading

The Fiduciary Hierarchy

The recent Department of Labor’s re-proposed Fiduciary Rule has generated many opinions on how it will affect fiduciary service models. One constant, however, cuts through all of the debate: the Plan Sponsor still has the fiduciary responsibility to select and monitor those service providers. But as you can see, there is a hierarchy of service … Continue Reading

Hey! What’s My Number? How To Improve The Odds You Will Retire In Comfort (Book Review)

Let’s say, for example, you’re concerned about not having enough money saved for retirement. You’re certainly not alone based on the myriad number of polls, surveys, and studies that have been in the news. So where do you start? You might start at Amazon and search under “Retirement Savings”. At this frozen moment in time … Continue Reading

Employee Classification as Part-Time or Full-Time: Not the Same Under the Affordable Care Act and ERISA

Some of the most difficult and contentious provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) are the employer mandate and upcoming reporting requirements effective in 2015. “Difficult” because the employer mandate requires applicable large employers, generally those with 50 or more “full-time” employees, to offer coverage to full-time employees and dependents (other than spouses). If the employer … Continue Reading

IRS issues updated Rollover Chart

What’s an eligible rollover distribution and what’s not can be a complicated and confusing matter. Here’s a recent and handy rollover chart by the Internal Revenue Service updated for new rules that may be helpful. 1 Qualified plans include, for example, profit-sharing, 401(k), money purchase and defined benefit plans 2 Beginning in 2015, only one … Continue Reading

Retirement Plan Limits for 2015

On October 23, 2014 the IRS announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015. The chart below highlights the new limits for 401(k) and other defined  contribution plans. The rest of the new limits and the fine print can be downloaded here.… Continue Reading

How safe is your retirement nest egg from creditors?

So, you’ve transferred your 401(k) retirement nest egg into an individual retirement account (IRA). This gives you more control over management and distribution of IRA assets. But, you may have concerns about creditors and their ability to attack your retirement assets, which are now conveniently consolidated from several employer plans into one convenient IRA. Will … Continue Reading

Retirement plan beneficiary designations shouldn’t be one and done

What did Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Heath Ledger, and Whitney Houston have in common? No. not just being in the celebrity spotlight, but rather, estate planning done wrong or not at all. You can add one more celebrity to the list who Darla Mercado writes about in her InvestmentNews article, He needed a script: Actor … Continue Reading

The Impact of the Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision on Retirement Plans: The Cliff Notes Version

If you’re anywhere near a retirement plan, you have probably received a ton of emails from law firms and 401(k) providers on the recent Supreme  Court decision involving same-sex marriages. With the caveat that I’m not an attorney, here’s my Cliff Notes version on the June 26, 2013, United States Supreme Court ruling in U.S. … Continue Reading

The 401(k)/403(b) Investment Manual: Book Review

In the almost 7 years I have been writing this blog, I have written a number of book reviews about 401(k) plans and investing that have tracked the retirement plan industry. Josh Itzoe’s Fixing The 401(k) in 2009 Pat Huddleston’s, The Vigilant Investor: THE VIGILANT INVESTOR: A Former SEC Enforcer Reveals How To Fraud Proof-Your Investments in 2011 … Continue Reading

ERISA, take me back to 1982

I’m a big NBA fan, and I love those time traveling Kia commercials featuring Blake Griffin, the All Star forward of the Los Angeles Clippers.He’s in his Kia Optima and says, "Kia, take me back to 1992." There he meets himself and learns valuable life lessons. I can also imagine time traveling. Not with a … Continue Reading

IRS announces 2012 dollar limits on contributions and benefits

Each year the Internal Revenue Service announces the cost-of-living adjustments applicable to qualified retirement plans for the following year. Unlike 2001 in which most limits did not change from the prior year, most limits increased: Following are the key retirement plan limits announced yesterday by the IRS: The 401(k) and 403(b) limit for employee contributions … Continue Reading

“When I’m Sixty-Four”… Eh, better make that 75

When I’m Sixty-Four is, of course, one of the classic songs by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and released in 1967 on their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The theme is about aging with a young man singing to his lover about his plans of them growing old together. It was also one of … Continue Reading

Geraldine Ferraro’s ERISA legacy

Geraldine Ferraro who died yesterday at age 75 was a political trailblazer.  She was, of course, the first woman named to a major-party presidential ticket when Walter Mondale picked her to be his Democratic party running mate in 1984. But while the Mondale-Ferraro ticket lost 49 out of 50 states to the Republican ticket of President … Continue Reading
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