The (Potential) Dark Side to 401(k) Auto Enrollment – The Participants Seem to Take on More Debt

The (Potential) Dark Side to 401(k) Auto Enrollment – The Participants Seem to Take on More Debt

By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA

Auto-enrollment has resulted in millions of people who were not previously putting savings into their company’s 401(k) plan, now actively participating in it. That is a good thing. However according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, many of these workers seem to be offsetting those savings over the long term by taking on more auto and mortgage debt. And that may be a good thing as well. (No, the previous sentence is not a typo.) Read More

Business Owners: Find Your Best Retirement Plan—Part 2

By the Madison Pension Editorial Team

As we addressed in Part 1, your options for implementing a retirement plan for yourself and your employees extends beyond the typical 401(k) plan. Retirement plan sponsors should investigate popular retirement vehicles, even to supplement their 401(k) plans, to ensure they are maximizing benefits for participants based on the unique needs of their organizations.

In Part 1, we covered a defined benefit (DB)/defined contribution (DC) combo plan, which can help businesses lower their income taxes and make up for lost time in putting aside money for retirement. In this segment, we will highlight one particular DB plan known as a cash balance plan, which also contains many elements of a DC plan. A few of its elements also closely resemble those of a 401(k) plan. If this all sounds a bit confusing, read on to see how it all irons out.

While cash balance plans are the fastest-growing retirement plans in the country, only about 10,000 such plans exist in the United States, compared to about 500,000 401(k) plans.  Yet, cash balance plans grew in popularity by around 500 percent during the 2001-2011 decade. Why? These plans allow owners of small firms (50 or fewer employees) to avail themselves of considerably higher tax-deductible contribution limits than 401(k) plans allow.

Let’s look at how cash balance plans compare to other types of plans noted above:

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Business Owners: Find Your Best Retirement Plan—Part 1

By the Madison Pension Editorial Team

When most business owners think “retirement plan,” they automatically presume a 401(k) plan. With approximately 513,000 401(k) plans covering more than 88 million American workers as of April 2014, this is the most common retirement plan companies offer to employees.

There are a number of reasons why the 401(k) has remained a go-to for so many business owners. The plan offers their employees the opportunity to defer their own money on a pre-tax basis as well as significant flexibility in terms of the employer’s contributions. Overall, for many business owners today, a 401(k) plan is considered one of the easiest and more cost-effective retirement plans to maintain on a day-to-day basis.

But just because the 401(k) plan has, over the years, emerged as the retirement plan option of choice for U.S. companies does not mean that it is in your best interest to follow the herd. Rather, a savvy retirement plan sponsor should explore other plans that may be best for his or her organization based on its unique specifications—not what is well-liked among the many.

To determine which retirement plan is right for your organization, you must first familiarize yourself with retirement plan options that exist outside of a traditional 401(k) plan. In this blog we will explore a defined benefit/defined contribution (DB/DC) “combo” plan—the first of a few alternate plans in this ongoing series designed to help business owners and/or plan sponsors determine the best-fitting plan for their organization.

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