Tag Archives: Cash Balance Plans

“I asked you what time it was, not how to make a watch”

Every once in a while I’ll start to wander off into “Pensionspeak” when I’m talking to a client. And when I do, I’ll catch myself by remembering what one of our important business partners once told me when I started to get too technical. Or even technical at all depending on the audience. He told … Continue Reading

Giller and Calhoun launch new blog, the Business of Benefits

We welcome a new blog to the employee benefit blogging community. It’s the Business of Benefits, the focus of which is issues facing insurance companies, financial service providers, and plan sponsors. It’s being published by the law firm of Giller & Calhoun. The named partners are Evan Giller in New York City and Monica Dunn Calhoun, Denver. Bob Toth in Ft. Wayne, Indiana … Continue Reading

Independent contractor or employee? Employee classification still a high priority enforcement matter

Remember that kids’ game, Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? You had to guess into what category the object fell. Well, today in business, there is a similar question. Independent contractor or employee? But it’s not a game. The misclassification of a worker can have serious financial consequences. Penalties and interest involving payroll taxes can pile up … Continue Reading

What Americans want from a retirement plan

With a new Administration and a new Congress about to take over, we’re going to start to see the think tanks and not-for-profit organizations issuing research and recommendations regarding public policy for retirement plans. One of those organizations is the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), a not-for-profit organization whose stated mission is to “encourage the development of public … Continue Reading

Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo: The 2008 Retirement Plan Year in Review

That’s the title of Sergio Leoni’s 1966 movie considered the greatest of the Italian spaghetti westerns. We know it in this country, of course, as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The movie starred Clint Eastwood (the Good), Eli Wallach (the Bad), and Lee Van Cleff (the Ugly). And just like the movie,  the year 2008 had The Good, The Bad, and … Continue Reading

Parking spaces as a leading indicator of customer and client services

Over at Slate’s BizBox blog, a special promotion by Open from American Express, I posted an article that discusses one of the things it takes for business owners to be able to make retirement plan contributions. Check out Be A Park-Down-The-Street-Businessperson.… Continue Reading

December 2008 Client Briefing: FAQs on Fiduciary Liability Insurance

A Risk Management Tool for Fiduciaries in A New Retirement Plan Environment Updated for the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PDF) Introduction My last post was a year-end ERISA fidelity bond reminder. ERISA does not require liability protection; the only mandatory insurance is an ERISA Fidelity bond to protect the plan assets from losses due to misuse or … Continue Reading

I’ve seen the future, and it’s “Joe The Plumber”

“Joe The Plumber” has had his 15 minutes of fame, and then some. Our friends at Slate’s Bizbox blog for whom I regularly contribute went beyond the political rhetoric when they said Keep Helping Small Business. And here’s why the new administration should do more for “Joe The Plumber” and all the other small businesses … Continue Reading

The bailout bill, the stock market, and 401(k) plans: what’s ahead for us?

See full-size image. I was certainty premature yesterday in thinking the bailout bill was going to pass when I wrote the bailout bill is like a Christmas tree – something for everyone including retirement plans. And I wasn’t alone. The stock market reacted with the largest one day drop in its history. No one knows the … Continue Reading

Bailout bill is like a Christmas tree – something for everyone including retirement plans

The bailout bill working its way through Congress now has something for everyone – including retirement plans. The legislation is being called TARP, ("Troubled Asset Relief Program"), and it’s an acronym that some retirement plans will get to know better. In addition to bailing out financial institutions, TARP also permits the Treasury to protect "the retirement security of … Continue Reading

Which way to the best retirement plan?

Just recently, I thought that it might be the dog days of summer as far as setting up a retirement plan is concerned. But it may be the “retirement plan season” is here after all – at least in the minds of our fellow bloggers at Slate magazine’s BizBox blog. Their post today is What Retirement … Continue Reading

It may be the dog days of summer, but sooner rather than later may be better for setting up a retirement plan

For those of us who work with business owners, we buckle up our seat belts during the last quarter of the year. Buckle them up a little tighter in December, and tighter still at actual year end. We call it the “retirement plan season”, the time when many business owners decide to set up a … Continue Reading

Defined benefit plan seminar handout available for download

Here is the link to my presentation handout (43 pages, PDF) for the August 5, 2008 Seminar, Defined Benefit Pension Plans: What’s Old is New Again and better than ever. This was a 3 hour continuing education seminar sponsored by the Lanny D. Levin Agency, Inc., a General Agent for the Guardian Life Insurance Company. … Continue Reading

Will Form 5500s reveal outdated fidelity bonds or retirement plans without bonds at all

July 31st, is of course, the due date (unless extended) for calendar year retirement plans required to file Form 5500 for the 2007 plan year. And, as in the past, there will be a number of plan sponsors who have to indicate on the 5500 thay they have outdated fidelity bonds or none at all. One … Continue Reading

“Why do spouses have to be the automatic beneficiary of a retirement plan?”

That’s a question posed to me the other day in an email from one of this blog’s readers. It’s an interesting question, both from a historical standpoint and in the current political environment in which women’s issues are an important component. So here’s the answer for all to see. Let’s set the dial on the … Continue Reading

Defined Benefit Pension Plan Seminar for Financial Advisers

On Tuesday, August 5, 2008, I will be a co-presenter at the following seminar: "GUARDIAN UNIVERSITY" Tuesday, August 5, 2008 THE LANNY D. LEVIN AGENCY, Inc. DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLANS: WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN – And Better Than Ever! (3 hours CE credit approved for Illinois Insurance Producers) Speakers: Jerry Kalish, National Benefit Services, … Continue Reading

The law of unintended consequences as applied to a business owner’s retirement plan

The late Robert King Merton, the distinguished American sociologist, published an article in the December, 1936 issue of the American Sociological Review titled The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action. It’s since been popularized as The Law of Unintended Consequences.  Kinda like, say, trying to drive through a flooded road in one of the storm … Continue Reading

“Should I stay or should I go?” The factors influencing an employee’s decision to retire

It was 1982, and many of today’s baby boomers were listening to the song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” that was on The Clash’s album, Combat Rock. According to NME, Mick Jones, the lead guitar on the song, wrote it about singer Ellen Foley, who sang the backing vocals on Meatloaf’s Bat Out … Continue Reading

Enough already about the Baby Boomers, what about Generation X?

View larger image. Lost in the mass media focus on the Baby Boomers retiring is Generation X, the generation that follows. Depending on how they are defined, it’s the people born between 1965 and 1985 (age 23 to 43). I’ve written about them before, Not my generation that nobody seems to want. The "nobody" referred … Continue Reading

Investors, brokerage firms, and mandatory arbitration: so how has that worked out?

Last week Steve Rosenberg on his insightful Boston ERISA Law Blog tells us that Legal Rights That Are Protected In Courts, May Well Be Lost In An Arbitration. Steve comments on a recent Supreme Court case that parties may not contract among themselves for judicial oversight of an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act. … Continue Reading
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