Is Your Company’s 401(k) Plan as Good as It Could Be?

Two recent court rulings may make you want to double-check. How often do retirement plan sponsors check up on 401(k)s? Some small businesses may not be prepared to benchmark processes and continuously look for and reject unacceptable investments. Do you have high-quality investment choices in your plan? While larger plan sponsors have more “pull” with plan providers, this does not relegate a small company sponsoring a 401(k) to a substandard investment selection. Employees are smart and will ask questions sooner or later. “Why does this 401(k) have only one bond fund?” “Where are the target-date funds?” “I went to Morningstar, and some of these funds have so-so ratings.” Questions and commen

Can an IRA Be a College Savings Vehicle?

You might be surprised at its potential. An IRA is a retirement savings account, right? Indeed. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Arrangement. Even with that definition, however, there is no prohibition on using an IRA to save for other purposes, such as funding a college education. Why would anyone choose an IRA as a college savings vehicle? At first glance it may seem strange, since there are other types of investment accounts specifically dedicated to that objective. On closer inspection, though, IRAs (especially Roth IRAs) present some features that may be quite attractive to the parent or grandparent who wants to build education savings. Flexibility. Parents are urged to save for the

Pension Plans & De-risking

Corporations are transferring pension liabilities to third parties. Where does this leave retirees? A new term has made its way into today’s financial jargon: de-risking. Anyone with assets in an old-school pension plan should know what it signifies. De-risking is when a large employer hands over its established pension liabilities to a third party (typically, a major insurer). By doing this, the employer takes a sizable financial obligation off its hands. Companies that opt for de-risking usually ask pension plan participants if they want their pension money all at once rather than incrementally in an ongoing income stream. The de-risking trend began in 2012. In that year, Ford Motor Co. an

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