Research & Insights

Access our latest research and insights covering market news, financial planning topics, and more.

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Employees Want Paychecks for Life: Pros and Cons of Guaranteed Lifetime Income
Annuities and similar products may help address retirement readiness in an aging workforce People are living longer, which means they may need their retirement savings to last decades. As a result, nearly half (48%) of participants are concerned about outliving their retirement savings. Many Americans don’t know how to transform their savings into retirement income.
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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and its Impact on Retirement Plans
Today’s workforce spans a variety of abilities, skills, experiences and cultural backgrounds that bring exceptional value. It is beneficial to understand and recognize these differences to achieve exceptional results. This remains true when offering, communicating and promoting your company’s retirement plan.
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Do ESGs Fit Into Our Retirement Plan?
Your workplace may be evolving in many facets, from remote options to new generations coming into the workforce. These changes reflect those of the larger social climate and, in turn, employee priorities, values and expectations. Many professional and financial decisions are being influenced by these trends, as 53% of consumers are now “value-driven.”
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How to Prepare for a 401(k) Audit
If the term ”audit” makes you uncomfortable, anxious or even scared, you are not alone. Last year, the Department of Labor (DOL) closed 1,122 civil investigations with 754 (67%), resulting in fees, repayments or corrective actions. The agency collected over $3.12 billion in direct payments to plans, participants and beneficiaries. This represents a whopping 300% increase in just five years.
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Who’s on Your Retirement Plan Committee?
Retirement plan committees are super important; they set the direction and priorities of the company’s retirement plan. These actions (or inactions) can have a huge impact on how successful employees are at preparing for retirement.
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The Tale of Two Economies: Promoting Workplace Benefits in a K-Shaped Economy
More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs of recovery in the U.S. Millions of vaccines have been administered, businesses and offices are reopening and life is starting to look more like it did pre-pandemic.
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You Can’t Talk About That at Work: Tackling Financial FAQs
Talking about money is tricky, especially at work. While it may seem too personal for work and easier to avoid the conversation, the effects can have a lasting effect on a company.
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2022 Deadline Nears: Now is the Perfect Time to Review Your Retirement Plan Design
For the millions of business owners that offer a workplace retirement plan, the COVID-19 pandemic created many financial difficulties.
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SEPs, MEPs and PEPs – Discover the Differences and Ideas for Your Workplace Retirement Plan
Just ask anyone: Uncle Sam and the retirement industry love acronyms. Another was added in December 2020—PEP—which conveniently rhymes with MEP and SEP. The three plan types are 401(k) cousins meaning they share many fundamental similarities, and their main differences relate to the administrative models they use.
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CARES Act Aftermath: What Plan Sponsors Need to Do
Pandemic Relief May Bring Administrative Pain to Plan Administrators
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Stop Retirement Savings Setbacks
The global pandemic has had a staggering effect on the economic lives of millions, driving them to actions that could have long-lasting effects on their retirement savings.
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Normalizing Retirement Savings Habits
Many American workers struggled financially before the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that this crisis could greatly hinder their ability to reach their retirement income goals.
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5 Reasons to Rethink Financial Wellness
Employees are worried about their finances. They worry about them in the evenings, on weekends and during working hours. Plus, with the increased stress caused by the pandemic, it’s no secret your workforce could use some help.
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The Importance of a Retirement Plan Committee & Annual Reviews
Retirement plans are complex and have many moving parts; as such, many plan sponsors create retirement plan committees to help keep them running smoothly. They may be called “investment” or “administrative” committees and can range in size. Regardless of the name or number of people involved, the committee’s organization, process and documentation are key to success.
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Think Green: Have You Considered 401(k) e-Disclosures?
Anyone who has received stacks of mailed booklets, leaflets or other paper 401(k) disclosure materials might be cheering about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent rule that expands employer options for delivering retirement plan documents online.
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ERISA Update: 5 Big Changes Plan Sponsors Need to Know
If navigating a worldwide pandemic weren’t enough, the world of employee benefits continues to throw curve balls at employers and plan sponsors who must constantly keep up. Below are 5 big changes that retirement plan decision-makers should know about.
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Why it’s Important to Review, Refresh, and Revise Retirement Plan Documents
You likely recognize the importance of seeing your doctor for an annual physical to keep your health in tip-top shape, or taking your car in for routine maintenance to keep it running like new. But what about checking the health of your retirement plan? When is the last time you reviewed your retirement committee charter, investment policy statement (IPS) and other key retirement plan documents to monitor your plan’s compliance with specific standards of conduct and fiduciary responsibilities under the law?
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Tracking Down Your Missing Participants
If you have terminated participants with balances in your 401(k) plan, some of whom you can’t locate, you’re not alone; missing participants are an industry-wide problem.
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Staying the Course through Volatile Markets
Turbulent times can bring turbulent markets. Many factors cause chaotic swings in the investing world including housing bubbles, political elections, international instability, and as we have seen recently, a global health pandemic.
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4 Qualified Plan Tax Advantages for Employers
By choosing to offer your employees a 401(k) plan, you’re sending a powerful message — that you’re invested in their future and committed to helping them work towards financial security in their retirement.
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5 Ways Total Rewards Can Help Recruit Top Talent
A good total rewards program helps you attract and retain the best possible talent for your organization. Add a great workplace culture and environment and you could be on your way to becoming an employer of choice among job-seekers.
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Pros and Cons of Taking Coronavirus-Related Distributions from Retirement Savings
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly shaken our economy to the core. Many businesses have struggled to keep their doors open which has caused unemployment claims to soar. Record unemployment, coupled with a U.S. society that has an average household savings account of about $8,800[1], has many people looking to their retirement savings as a “piggy bank” for necessary funds to keep their heads above water.
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American’s Drowning in Debt
If your employees are drowning in debt, they could be looking to you, the employer, to throw them a lifeline! Luckily, there are a few ways to help your employees pay down debt so they can save a little bit more.
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5 Steps to Create a Financial Wellness Program
In today’s economy, Americans are worried about their finances, and it spills over into every aspect of their lives, even their work. Let’s look at this for a minute, and you’ll see why having a financial wellness program for your employees is a good thing.
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The Link Between Employee Productivity, Health, and Financial Stress
If you think financial wellness programs are a fad, think again. The industry consensus is that financial wellness not only produces results for employees, but it positively influences company bottom lines.
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Four Ways to Help Reduce Financial Stress for Your Employees
Employee financial stress is a hot topic. So much so, that nearly 60% of employees cite finances as their primary stressor. Their financial worries surpass other top stressors, and it’s impacting their job performance.
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CARES Act Update: Changes Impacting Retirement Plans
Signed into effect on March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a robust economic stimulus package designed to help small business owners and hardworking American families during these unprecedented times.
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SECURE Act and What 401(k) Plan Sponsors Need to Know
On 20 December, one of the largest changing legislative acts to impact America’s retirement system was signed into effect. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act – or SECURE Act – has many updates and modifications that seek to enhance retirement security activities. The Act strives to addresses challenges that small business owners face including helping your employees better understand their workplace savings plans, encouraging employees to save more for their future, and offsetting plan costs.
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Managing Risk: Do’s and Don’ts for Your Company’s Retirement Plan Committee
Scan the business news and you will likely find an article detailing the latest 401(k) litigation against a company accused of a fiduciary breach. The litigious trend started with corporate behemoths but has been trickling down to small and mid-size plans
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10 Steps to Help You Handle a DOL Investigation
Hot breath, fear, sweaty palms - You’ve received a request from the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to provide documents about your retirement plan. You are being investigated. Your first thought may be, how did this happen? Why does the DOL care about my company’s retirement plan? Whether it was a complaint from a plan participant, a referral from another agency, an error on your Form 5500, or simply the luck of the draw, you could spend the next 12 to 24 months becoming familiar with the DOL’s concern over how your plan’s fiduciaries carry out their responsibilities.
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Thinking About Changing 401(k) Providers? Five Things You Should Know
Offering a competitive benefits package, including a top-notch 401(k) plan, is essential for your company to recruit, and retain top talent. Today’s workers highly value employer-sponsored retirement plans: 88% of them say that an employee-funded retirement plan is important to them. In addition, eight out of ten new hire candidates consider retirement savings programs offered by prospective employers a major factor in their job search decisions.
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What are Corrective Distributions and How to Avoid Them Going Forward
Tests – the word alone is enough to make the most studious of us sweat. When placed in the context of 401(k) plans, i.e. determining whether your plan passes non-discrimination tests, anxiety levels can go through the roof!
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How Data Analytics Can Help You Make Retirement Plan Decisions
If you’re not using data analytics to help you make progress toward improving participant outcomes, then you could be missing out on a key component of plan governance. Data analytics are becoming a meaningful part of defined contribution plan governance for retirement plan fiduciaries.
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Big Data to Drive Participant Outcomes
If you want to predict the wants, needs and fears of participants when it comes to retirement planning, look into the potential of predictive analytics.
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Lawsuits Over the Years and What it Means for Plan Sponsors
The barrage of excessive fee lawsuits filed in 2006 started a trend that continues to this day. At first, plan sponsors saw early signs of success in getting cases dismissed. However, this changed after a few years when participants started honing in on claims of self-dealing, i.e. the plan’s fiduciaries benefitting themselves at the expense of the plan’s participants.
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Our 401(k) Investments are on the Watchlist. Now What?
As a member of your company’s retirement plan committee, if you have recently been informed that one or more of your company’s retirement plan investments are on the Watch List, don’t panic. This is an opportunity for due diligence and possibly to enhance the plan’s performance.
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Automatic Features to Help Boost Participation and Savings Rates
The use of auto features in 401(k) plans has continued to climb in popularity over the past decade. In fact, auto features such as automatic enrollment and auto escalation are considered best practices in 401(k) plan design as ways to help boost participation and employee savings rates.1
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American’s Drowning in Debt
How can you help your employees that are drowning in debt, save more today?
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5 Ways Total Rewards Can Help Recruit Top Talent
A good total rewards program helps you attract and retain the best possible talent for your organization. Add a great workplace culture and environment and you could be on your way to becoming an employer of choice among job-seekers.
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What to Consider When Buying or Selling a Home in a Rising Mortgage Interest Rate Environment
If you are buying or selling a home when mortgage interest rates are rising, there are important considerations to keep in mind that impact affordability and other factors.
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January Investment Perspectives
Our Investment Strategy Group offers commentary on reducing national debt, major fixed income themes from last year, and the economic factors weighing most heavily on investors in 2023.
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Home Improvement Credits Under the Inflation Reduction Act
If you are planning to purchase electric vehicles or make energy-efficient improvements to your house, you may save some money under the Inflation Reduction Act.
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Investing in Water
We view water as a long-term investment theme that impacts many industries. This piece reviews the importance of water to life and the economy and highlights major investment implications.
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Don’t Overlook This Hidden Retirement Risk
After working so hard to save for retirement, it’s important to be aware of potential risks that arise when you stop earning and start withdrawing. This article explores some solutions you may consider to help protect your retirement income from sequence of returns risks.
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