By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA


Pay Attention To Your 401(k) Statements

So here is the drill – You receive your quarterly 401(k) statement and you:

a)    Review it carefully so that you are reasonably comfortable that all of your deferrals have been posted to your account

b)    Review it carefully to see that the automatic rebalancing feature that you signed up for online is being done

c)     Review it carefully to see if it might be time to shift to a different investment strategy (more conservative or more aggressive), or

d)     None of the above Read More

The Fidelity Bond vs. Fiduciary Insurance – Which one MUST you have?

Clients sometimes get confused between a fidelity bond vs. fiduciary insurance. They are not the same thing. One is mandated, one is not.

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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


By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA

A scheme using what appears to be stolen identity information has resulted in a lawsuit by the Attorney’s office in Colorado. Their goal is to recover $2 million in losses from participants’ 401(k) accounts. Read More

Tibble v. Edison – The Gift That Keeps On Giving

By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA

A lawsuit that began in 2011 is finally approaching its conclusion. The plaintiffs claimed that the 17 investment options selected by the plan back in March of 1999 were retail funds instead of lower cost institutional shares. The funds remained in the plan beyond August 16, 2001. That date is particularly relevant since that is as far back as the statute of limitations could go.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. While the Supreme Court found neither for the plaintiff nor for the defendant, Read More

What traits in their plan’s advisor do plan sponsors value? Which ones should they value?

BY: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA 

Which Qualities Plan Sponsors Do Value

A recent poll of plan sponsors wanted to know which services plan sponsors most value from their advisors. Asked to name their top three, two stood out: Read More

Every company offers a 401(k) plan, don’t they? & What do 401(k) participants want?

By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA

401(k) plans are so ubiquitous that we assume that every employer offers a retirement plan to their employees. But that perception is just that; a perception. There are a fair number of small to mid-size firms that do not sponsor a 401(k) retirement program for their employees. The question is why don’t they?

According to research from Pew Charitable Trusts, the two primary reasons given for not offering a 401(k) plan was that they were “too expensive to set up”(37% of the respondents) or “my organization does not have the resources” (22%).

I find both of those statements curious. Read More

Tastes Great vs. Less Filling

By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA

When I was younger (much, much younger) Bud Lite ran a series of commercials where quasi- celebrities (most of them were retired athletes) argued back and forth about whether they drank Bud Lite because it “tasted great” or because it had less calories and thus was “less filling” (they had not yet discovered that carbs were bad for you – I told you; this was many, many years ago).

Anyway, this same argument now exists in the 401(k) world in a slightly different form. Which is better – Bundled or Unbundled?

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Six Things You Probably Did Not Know About 401(k) Catch-Up Contributions

By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA

The catch-up contribution got its name because it was designed to help older workers “catch up” on contributions they may not have made when they were younger. Simply stated, it is an opportunity to make up for lost time.

Anyone who turns age 50 at any point during a calendar year can make an annual catch-up contribution. In 2017, the catch-up can be as much as an additional $6,000. That is above and beyond the $18,000 401(k) dollar maximum. So an individual turning age 50 during 2017 could defer as much as $24,000 [$18,000 + $6,000].

However, according to research done by Vanguard, only about 16% of plan participants took advantage of the catch-up contribution.

The following are six things that you may not know about catch-up contributions.

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IRS Guidance On Hardship Withdrawals: How To Shift The Documentation Responsibility To The Participant

By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA

In April of 2015, in an article in the IRS publication Employee Plan News (yes, there really is such a publication) they clarified that when taking a hardship withdrawal, that it was not sufficient for certain third party administrators (TPAs) to rely on plan participants to keep copies of the documents that proved a hardship withdrawal was due to “an immediate and heavy financial need.”  Documents like the explanation of benefits for medical expenses, the purchase agreement for a participant’s primary residence and/or an invoice for funeral expenses are all examples of the paperwork that the TPA should collect before granting a hardship withdrawal. The IRS further stated that, when examining a plan under audit, the failure of the TPA to keep their own independent records was a plan qualification issue. Whenever the qualification of the plan is at risk, the topic gets my attention.

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