Much has been written in the media, including this column, about the increase in mobility of today’s American workforce.
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.
Fifteen years ago, when safe-harbor IRAs were first proposed as a destination for small, stranded 401(k) accounts that can be automatically rolled out of plans, then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor Ann L. Combs spelled out what these investment vehicles were supposed to accomplish.
401(k) account cash-outs remain a potent threat to Americans’ retirement-readiness and by all accounts the U.S. Department of Labor agrees, having issued its final Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) for auto portability at the end of July.
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019, passed by the House of Representatives on May 23, has the potential to make a positive impact on Americans’ retirement readiness. One of the bill’s key provisions involves removing restrictions on open multiple employer plans (MEPs), which would make it less costly for small businesses to offer retirement savings plans to employees.
When evaluating their defined contribution plans, plan sponsors understandably look at standard benchmarks such as rate of participation, average deferral percentage, and average account balance. However, given the highly mobile nature of today’s American workforce, sponsors should also consider tracking the average percentage of retirement savings that participants retain during their job tenure, and when they leave to join another employer.
All companies that manage personal consumer data, regardless of where they are based or what industry they are part of, are right to be concerned about cybersecurity. The scope and scale of cyberattacks continue to increase around the world, as last year’s breach compromising 50 million Facebook users demonstrated.
April 15 is just around the corner. While many Americans dread Tax Day, April 15 presents defined contribution plan sponsors with an opportunity to demonstrate their value as fiduciaries, and as financial wellness advocates.
The long-awaited Department of Labor (DOL) guidance on the legal and regulatory framework for auto portability has cleared the way for plan sponsors to further enhance and optimize their automatic rollover programs. By explicitly recognizing auto portability’s potential benefits to retirement savers, the DOL acknowledges that existing ARO programs have flaws which auto portability can fix.
Much has been written about America’s retirement-savings shortfall. Much has also been written about one of the major reasons for this shortfall—the lack of technology and operating standards to make seamless plan-to-plan savings portability easy for America’s highly mobile workforce. The cumbersome and costly nature of DIY portability has made prematurely cashing out small-balance 401(k) savings accounts, or stranding them in former employers’ plans, the easiest options for many participants after they change jobs.
“Not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses” is the No. 1 financial concern for Millennials and members of Generation X, and the No. 2 financial concern among Baby Boomers, after retirement security. These findings from a PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey released last year shouldn’t surprise members of the retirement services industry, since too many defined contribution plan participants dip into their 401(k) savings—through loans, hardship withdrawals, or cash-outs upon changing jobs—to fund emergency expenses.