Posts Tagged ‘retirement plan’

Why Should You Review Your Retirement Plan Documents Now?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” A lot of people adhere to this philosophy, but in some cases, a review of how something works is not only helpful, it is required. If a business’s retirement plan seems to be working fine, and there doesn’t appear to be anything out of place, many employers believe there is no reason to review the provisions of the plan. This may be the case for a plan that was recently established, but it is always a good idea to review provisions every few years to ensure the plan is still meeting the goals of both the employer and its’ employees.  (more…)

What Are Some Changes Plan Sponsors Can Expect To See In 2014?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Every fall, just as we can expect the leaves to change colors and the weather to turn colder and a little dreary, we can also anticipate changes we will see coming in the following year with respect to employee benefit plans.  (more…)

How Can You Ensure You’re Compliant With Disclosure Review?

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Let’s face it. You like to be prepared when it comes to your finances. So do participants of your benefit plans. That need for preparation is what has driven the recent changes in regards to fee disclosure. As a plan sponsor, you need to comply with these new requirements. Are you sure you’re keeping up with your role in the process? (more…)

Part 2 | What Happens if My 401(k) Plan is Out of Compliance with an IRS or DOL Rule?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

In the last issue of Illuminations, you read about some initial consequences you may face if you find that your 401(k) plan is out of compliance with an IRS or DOL rule. In this week’s issue, check out the second part of the article that explains the statute of limitations and how you can work to rectify any issues you may have with your business’s retirement plan. To refresh your memory, you can read the first part of the article here(more…)

What Happens if My 401(k) Plan is Out of Compliance with an IRS or DOL Rule?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

With all of the rules in the business world, it sometimes can be difficult to know and understand all of the rules we need to follow – there are a lot of them. So what happens if you find yourself in an unintended situation where your business’s 401(k) plan is out of compliance? Simply put, a plan out of compliance with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Department of Labor (DOL) rules is subject to disqualification. But what does that mean? It is very important that you fix any compliance issues when they are identified – whether they are document-related issues, government reporting issues (5500) or plan operational issues. (more…)

Why is the Timeliness of Employee Contributions Under Scrutiny?

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

The Department of Labor (DOL) has focused on the timely remittance of employee contributions to retirement plans for a few years. And recently, they stepped up efforts during agency-conducted audits, making this a key area of detailed review. The timeliness of your remittances will be under the microscope, and not only the frequency, but also the consistency. (more…)

How Can Retirement Provisions in the President’s 2014 Budget Proposal Affect You?

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The past few weeks have been full of high visibility news stories ranging from the tragic Boston Marathon bombing to the devastating plant explosion in West, Texas. Amidst these stories and others, there was one important story you may have missed that could affect you and your retirement in a very significant way. President Obama recently unveiled his 2014 budget proposal that resulted in varied opinions over the retirement-related provisions that could greatly impact the retirement industry. (more…)

What Does ASU 2011-04 Mean For Your Pension Audit?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

How to Prepare For Changes to Your Retirement Plan

While the basics of double entry accounting haven’t changed in hundreds of years, the devil, as they say, is in the details. And, when it comes to accounting, the details are always changing. A new accounting standard update has been announced – and it could have a big impact on your pension plan’s 2012 audit.

For the last decade, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have been working toward accounting convergence; bringing U.S. accounting standards into harmony with international requirements. Through the Accounting Standard Updates (ASUs), FASB has been nudging U.S. standards closer to their international counterparts. Think of it as the accounting equivalent of finally getting America to convert to the metric measuring system. It’ll be great once we’re all on the same page, but the process of getting there… well, it’s a little complicated.

Here’s what you need to know about ASU 2011-04 and what you can do to prepare for its impact on your retirement plan. (more…)

How Do You Choose a Business Exit Strategy?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Exit strategies are the options that you have to leave your business.  There are only a few exit strategies that Ohio business owners can choose from and each will provide you with a different level of proceeds when you leave. All strategies will require planning and time to implement.

It’s never too soon to start planning your exit. You will eventually leave your business, and it’s better to do so before a life-changing event forces you out. The sooner you plan, the more options you will have. (more…)

Employee Welfare Benefit Plans Making Your Head Spin?

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Every year, we receive questions regarding whether a filing requirement exists for a client’s welfare benefit plan. Clients want to ensure that their plans remain ERISA compliant without taking on the burden of any unnecessary paperwork.  Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about employee welfare benefit plans. (more…)

Are You Ready For FASB 715-80 Disclosures?

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

From ERISA fee disclosures to benefit limitation regulations, 2012 has been a year of regulations for retirement plans.  If your company offers a retirement plan, you may feel like you’ve spent the whole year jumping through the hoops that regulators threw at you.  Bad news, you might have one more hoop to hop. (more…)

What Changes Do Pension Plans Need by Year-end?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

In the midst of the publicity surrounding the new ERISA fee disclosures requirements, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that other recently enacted legislation may impact your retirement plan.  Changes to IRS regulations may require plan’s to adopt amendments before the end of the year.  (more…)

Do You Need to Send an Annual Notice to Your 401k Participants?

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Does your 401k plan have a calendar year end? If so you have until December 1, 2012, to send notice requirements to plan participants or the operation or qualification of your plan could be impacted. Use this checklist of notices to get started: (more…)

Who is Responsible for Fidelity Bonding?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

When it comes to following the ERISA requirement of fidelity bonding, the devil, as they say is in the details.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires that fidelity bonding be obtained to cover each person who “handles” plan assets.  The general rule is the bond amount be ten percent (minimum of $1,000) of plan assets as of the beginning of the plan year, not to exceed $500,000, or one million dollars if the plan holds employer securities.

While this requirement seems relatively straightforward, we find plan sponsors are sometimes unclear about their fidelity bond responsibilities when we are performing  benefit plan audits.   Following are some of the commonly asked questions. (more…)

Will You Be Ready for Retirement?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

You may have heard the retirement terminology “three-legged stool” used to describe the three most common sources of retirement income: Social Security, employer sponsored retirement plan and personal savings. Many factors affect the strength of each “leg,” so you must continually evaluate what changes you need to make to keep the stool strong and upright. (more…)

You’ve Received Fee Disclosures, Now What?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

It’s Your Turn to Disclose Fees to Participants

Did you suffer from sticker shock when you received the recent fee disclosures from your service providers? If so, you weren’t the only plan fiduciary to be surprised, even though it’s your job to know the ins and outs of your pension plan.

Now, by August 30, you have to disclose that fee information to your plan participants. How do you think they will react? It is possible they aren’t going to like the news. Worse yet, they may be confused as to why they are suddenly paying new fees when the reality is they have always paid them. Being upfront about plan costs, and plan benefits, can help you make it through this new disclosure requirement. (more…)

What is a Roth 401(k)?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Understanding Employee Benefit Plan Types

In 2001, a new retirement plan option was created.  Although this option, known as a Roth 401(k), has been around for a few years now, there’s still some confusion about how it works and what makes it different from a traditional 401(k).  As a plan sponsor, you need to understand the Roth 401 (k) and its benefits so that you can be sure that you’re offering the right retirement planoptions to your employees. (more…)

Do You Understand the New ERISA Fee Disclosures?

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

408(b)(2) Regulations Help Meet Fiduciary Responsibilities

Are you wondering why there is so much buzz these days about ERISA Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosures? After all, your service provider tells you what you pay for the services provided, right? Maybe.

Service provider pricing and compensation can be structured many different ways, so it may prove difficult for you, a responsible plan fiduciary (RPF), to evaluate plan fees. The Department of Labor (DOL) recognizes this and, in  408(b)(2) regulations, is mandating what information is to be disclosed to help you assess the reasonableness of fees paid for by the plan. The regulations also aim to help identify conflicts of interest that may impact a service provider’s performance. (more…)

Can Benchmarking Uncover Money Hiding in Your Retirement Plan?

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Benchmarking may result in potential savings

Could you use an extra $26,000 a year? A plumbing company realized that savings after discovering it was overpaying recordkeeping and investment fees in its retirement plan.

By benchmarking the plan, this company saw how the fees compared to plans of a similar size across the country. This provided the plan sponsor with solid data to discuss fees with current providers.

While there are plans out there where reasonable fees are being paid, that’s not the case in every situation. From a law firm that saved $46,000 in investment fees to an administrative services firm that reduced its annual recordkeeping fees by $50,000, some plan sponsors have found that their plan fees are not in-line with similar plans. (more…)

What’s Your “Get Out of Business” Plan?

Friday, May 18th, 2012

You’ve worked hard to build your business and probably can’t imagine a time when it won’t be a major part of your life.  But, someday, you’ll approach retirement and you’ll want to spend more time enjoying your life and less time balancing your books.

Maybe you’ll want to leave your business to your daughter.  Maybe you’ll want to sell it and cash out.  Either way, business transition doesn’t just happen.  It isn’t serendipitous.  You need a “get out of business” or succession plan. (more…)

How Do You Get Your Social Security Statement?

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

If you’re not yet nearing retirement age, Social Security probably means two things to you: the amount of money that disappears from your pay checks and the annual statements that you get in the mail. If you’ve ever taken the time to read these statements, you’ve probably learned some neat things about your finances – like your lifelong earning history and the amount of Social Security benefits that you’d receive if you were to need them right now. (more…)

What does the new ERISA regulation mean for plan sponsors?

Friday, March 30th, 2012

If your company sponsors a 401k plan, a new ERISA regulation could mean extra paperwork… and potentially extra liability. (more…)

If Something Happens to You, What Will Happen to Your Finances?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

One day, I received a call from a client whose husband had been hospitalized for a couple of weeks.  He had mentioned that he thought a tax payment was due that day.  She did not know how to make that payment, or if it needed to be paid.  We worked things through, but learned a valuable lesson: she realized she doesn’t know much about the family finances. (more…)

Have You Determined a Beneficiary for Your Retirement Plan?

Friday, November 11th, 2011

A single dad wanted to designate his two children as beneficiaries of his retirement benefits. He mailed his beneficiary designation form to his employer with a cover letter explaining his wishes. When he died, the benefits administrator noticed the designation form wasn’t signed. Should the plan assets pass to the estate or the children? (more…)

Employees on the Fence? Ten Reasons to Join Your Ohio 401(k)

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

In spite of recent history in the stock market, when you compare 401(k) plans to other savings plans available to employees, the 401(k) plan has many positive points. Here are ten reasons your employees should participate. (more…)

Are you following fiduciary best practices?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

If you operate a retirement plan, you’re probably well aware that your position as a fiduciary is facing increasing scrutiny – and increasing liability and risk. In addition to increasing rules from the Department of Labor, recent lawsuits and settlements have highlighted the “significant potential liability for breach of fiduciary duty.” (more…)

Should I respond to that DOL Employee Benefit Notice?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

If your company is required to file the employee benefit plan form 5500 or 5500-EZ, and receives a notice of a proposed penalty, be sure to respond to the notice within 30 days. (more…)

What are the 2011 Pension Plan Contribution Limits?

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The IRS recently announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits for pension plans and other retirement-related items for 2011. The limits generally remain unchanged or reflect small inflation adjustments. Here are the highlights: (more…)

How does the Small Business Jobs Bill Impact 401(k) Plans?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

The Small Business Jobs Bill, which was recently signed into law by President Obama, includes a provision that will add some additional planning opportunities for participants of 401(k) plans with Roth provisions.  Roth IRA accounts are after-tax monies that grow tax-free.  Distributions from the accounts can be made without any tax consequence.  This provides additional flexibility to taxpayers when planning for retirement or death transfers.  One of the main estate planning benefits of Roth IRA accounts is that the minimum required distribution provisions do not apply to them. (more…)

Is October 1 the Deadline for Establishing Simple IRA?

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Small businesses have until October 1 to set up a Simple IRA for 2010. Failure to set up the plan by this date will mean that contributions cannot be made for 2010.   (more…)

Is your 401K Okay? Tips for managing your company retirement plan

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

The past several months have certainly been rocky for 401k investors. And while the rollercoaster ride may not be over, the stock market appears to be showing signs of improvement. So what can your business do now that the comeback is underway? (more…)

Does the new DB(k) retirement plan make sense for my business?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Beginning January 1, 2010, businesses with 500 or fewer employees could offer a new plan called a DB(k). The DB(k) was authorized by Congress as part of the 2006 Pension Protection Act. The DB(k) melds a 401(k) savings plan with a small guaranteed income stream.  The key elements of the plan: (more…)