By Neal Ringquist and Tom Hawkins
As we prepare to observe National Save for Retirement Week (also known as “National Retirement Security Week”), scheduled for October 16-22, it’s a great opportunity to remember why we, as individuals, need to save for our retirement. But the sobering reality is that we are all being called upon to save retirement itself—by rescuing a retirement system that doesn’t work for millions of hardworking Americans.
Consolidation Corner Blog
Consolidation Corner is the Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) blog, and features the latest articles and bylines from our executives, addressing important retirement savings portability topics.
By Neal Ringquist and Tom Hawkins
In his most recent article in MarketWatch, RCH’s Spencer Williams notes the upcoming ‘National Save for Retirement Week’ event, and employs some clever word-association that has readers re-thinking the meaning of the word “save.”
This summer, there’s one topic that everyone in Washington, D.C. seems to agree upon: the importance of consolidation in protecting Americans’ retirement security.
Hey, plan sponsors: Imagine for a moment that your active participants are Tom Cruise from Mission: Impossible (or Barbara Bain, Peter Graves and Martin Landau, for those of us who remember the classic TV series).
“Make the smart decision the easiest decision” seems like an obvious goal for plan sponsors when designing participant-directed retirement plans, and it’s certainly driven the rapid adoption of the autos—auto enrollment, auto deferral escalation, and auto investment options, such as target-date funds and managed accounts.
In his most recent article in MarketWatch, "Are you still feeling luck, 401(k) saver?" RCH’s Spencer Williams reprises last year’s 7/10/15 article where he channeled Clint Eastwood’s iconic movie hero “Dirty Harry” Callahan. Just like the movie villains whose luck ran out at the hands of Dirty Harry, retirement savers who strand their 401(k) accounts must run a gauntlet of decidedly unlucky outcomes – including involuntary cashouts, automatic rollovers and savings-depleting fees.
Have you ever received a letter with the notice “Time Sensitive Material! Open Immediately!” boldly splashed across the outside of the envelope, only to sigh with disappointment with what’s on the inside? While the disappointment of false advertising so often seems to be the case with “junk mail,” the warning turns out to be true when we examine the behaviors of retirement plan participants who have recently changed jobs.
In his most recent article in MarketWatch, RCH’s Spencer Williams cites the recent market trauma experienced in the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union (“Brexit”) as a good reason for retirement-savers to consolidate their accounts.
In the wake of the Fiduciary Rule, providers of all stripes are broadly reevaluating their strategies for the participant and asset retention that is essential to growing their retirement plan businesses. Over the past two decades, providers have primarily looked to capture IRA rollovers as a means to grow retirement assets. The Department of Labor’s new Fiduciary Rule creates challenges to that model. However, there is another, largely untapped, pool of assets within providers’ reach that can fuel growth—premature cash-outs. Auto portability, and portability solutions in general, represent a new and unique way to tap that potential source of growth.
First, let’s review the definition of “leakage.” If we think of total 401(k) savings as a bucket of water, “leakage” refers to those retirement savings that, like water in a leaky bucket, are withdrawn from the U.S. retirement system every year. There are three holes in the bucket: cash-outs at the point of job change, hardship withdrawals, and loan defaults. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, one of these holes is much bigger than the other two combined—nearly 89% of all leakage is attributed to cash-outs that occur when a participant changes jobs. Hardship withdrawals and loan defaults together account for the remaining 11%.