Consolidation Corner

Why America’s Retirement Savings Needs Recycling

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Apr 24, 2017 10:58:04 AM

 

As we marked the 47th annual Earth Day on April 22nd, we were once again reminded of the need to protect our environment. This heightened awareness is testament to how far Americans have come in both recognizing and curbing the wasteful, destructive behaviors that emerged in the decades following World War II. Those excesses have given rise to conservation and environmentalism, and were heralded by the first Earth Day in 1970. 

 

Today’s Wasteful Behavior: Cash Out Leakage

 

While we may be more environmentally-conscious these days, we don’t apply the same principles financially. There is a highly-wasteful and harmful behavior that silently robs millions of the prospect for a comfortable or timely retirement. Every year, millions of Americans will needlessly cash out their retirement savings after changing jobs, converting these savings into wasted consumption and avoidable tax penalties.


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Topics: Auto Portability, Safe Harbor IRA, Automatic Rollovers, Cash Outs, America's Mobile Workforce, Automatic Rollover, auto portability simulation, National Retirement Savings Cash Out Clock

New EBRI Research Finds $2T Saved From Automated Portability

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Apr 19, 2017 8:05:00 AM

As much as $2 trillion could be retained in the U.S. retirement systems if Auto Portability were fully implemented, according to new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The research establishes Auto Portability as a leading retirement industry public policy initiative, placing it ahead of auto IRA initiatives and just behind universal DC coverage in terms of impact on total retirement savings shortfall.

 

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Topics: Auto Portability, 401(k) Consolidation, Auto Enrollment, Automatic Rollover

The African-American Retirement Crisis: How Auto Portability Can Help

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Mar 30, 2017 4:11:40 PM


Today, many Americans are hard-pressed to set aside enough savings for a timely or comfortable retirement.   The factors most-often cited as driving the coming “retirement crisis” include longer life expectancies, rising healthcare costs and stagnant incomes. 

 

The African-American community faces these same challenges plus other economic headwinds, but with larger hurdles to overcome to secure a comfortable retirement.   Nowhere is this more apparent than in America’s defined contribution system, where African-Americans are confronted by: 

  1. Lower overall use of employer-sponsored plans. In 2013, only 41% of African-American families had retirement savings accounts, vs. 65% of white, non-Hispanic families. 
  1. Lower levels of plan enrollment and contribution rates, including:

-  68% average plan enrollment, vs. 79% for white participants

-  2% lower contribution rates, vs. white participants

  1. Unfavorable demographic, economic and work-related factors. Compared against their white counterparts, the average African-American plan participant is 14% younger, has 10% less job tenure, earns 30% lower average salary and has 28.4% higher job turnover.
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Topics: Auto Portability, Safe Harbor IRA, Automatic Rollovers, Cash Outs, America's Mobile Workforce, Automatic Rollover, auto portability simulation

The Stealth Solution to America’s Retirement Savings Crisis

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Mar 14, 2017 8:30:00 AM

 

Over the past year, the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule has been highly-visible, presenting major ramifications for the retirement industry and looming large on the radar screens of retirement services providers.  

 

The underlying rationale for the rule, as stated by the Obama administration in an April 6, 2016 press briefing, was to save retirement investors $17 billion per year in lost retirement savings that result from conflicts of interest in retirement advice. Certainly, anything that protects $17 billion in retirement savings is a worthy goal, if it helps more Americans meet their retirement income needs.

 

However, there’s a larger hole in our retirement system – cash-out leakage – that inflicts far greater harm to American retirement savers, yet this threat continues to fly beneath our collective radar.   

 

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Topics: Auto Portability, Mandatory Distributions, Automatic Rollovers, 401(k) Consolidation, Cash Outs, Auto Enrollment, Automatic Rollover

Big Changes Coming for Small 401(k) Accounts

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Feb 27, 2017 10:27:59 AM

 

The pace of change in today’s world is faster than ever -- and accelerating.  Consider the vast change witnessed by today’s centenarians over the course of their lives – moving from the horse-and-buggy to aviation, moon landings, the Internet and smartphones.

 

However, changes to America’s retirement system seem to unfold more slowly – sometimes moving at “the speed of retirement” – a glacial process driven by the moribund pace of legislation, further establishment of rules by regulatory agencies, the delivery of new features by service providers, eventual adoption by the plan sponsor community, and finally – by the individual actions of participants over the course of their working lives. 

 

Even truly transformative change, such as automatic enrollment and default investments such as target-date funds, took years to germinate before legislative action, in the form of the Pension Protection Act, provided the clarity that gave their adoption a needed jump start.

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Topics: Auto Portability, Safe Harbor IRA, Automatic Rollovers, Cash Outs, America's Mobile Workforce, Boston Research Technologies, Automatic Rollover, auto portability simulation

Incubate Small Retirement Accounts, Don’t Throw Them Away

Posted by Neal Ringquist on Feb 16, 2017 11:30:00 AM

 

On February 3rd, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses, released Securing America’s Retirement, their legislative roadmap aimed at strengthening the U.S. retirement system.

 

The Chamber’s goals are admirable:

“To address the needs of our nation’s shifting workforce, reduce barriers small businesses face in developing retirement plans, and make it easier for all Americans to save for their future…” 

 

The roadmap details policy solution proposals that Congress can act upon to achieve better retirement security for workers in the small business sector.  Improving retirement security for the small business sector is sorely-needed, as only 14% of companies with less than 100 employees – representing 34% of private sector payrolls -- offer their employees access to a retirement plan.  

 

In general, the majority of the Chamber’s agenda should be well-received, and appears to be well-vetted.  However, one policy proposal – increasing the mandatory cash-out limit to $10,000 – could have significant, unintended and adverse consequences for retirement security, if implemented without additional safeguards. 

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Topics: Auto Portability, Mandatory Distributions, Automatic Rollovers, 401(k) Consolidation, Cash Outs, Auto Enrollment, Automatic Rollover

Say What? The Arcane Lingo of Retirement Savings Portability

Posted by Thomas Hawkins on Apr 28, 2016 10:30:00 AM


 

In virtually any area of specialty, a unique jargon evolves that’s highly-specific to that field.  To insiders using the lingo every day, it seems familiar and perfectly normal.  To outside observers, it can feel like a foreign language -- with words, terms and acronyms that make no sense.  

 

That’s particularly true in the highly-specialized realm in which we (Retirement Clearinghouse) exist:  the land of retirement savings portability.  This article provides you with an orientation to terms that you may not be aware of, but terms that are becoming more-and-more common and noteworthy, as elements of retirement savings portability take hold.

 

The Rise of “Automatic Rollover” and Related Terms

 

The story begins in 2001.  In that year, the 107th Congress of the United States passed EGTRRA, otherwise known as the Economic Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.  EGTRRA set forth rules dictating that employer-sponsored, qualified plans could make automatic distributions to terminated employees without their consent for small balances (less than $5,000), provided that balances between $1,000 and $5,000 be automatically rolled over to an IRA. 

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Topics: Auto Portability, Safe Harbor IRA, Automatic Rollovers, Retirement Plan Portability, Retirement Savings Portability, Automatic Rollover

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