The Partners Circle

The mission of the Partners is to empower all of us to go directly to each other with our expertise. FiduciaryFirst is considered an industry leader and our knowledge and informative blogs can help you gain an understanding about key topics within the industry.

Retiring Soon? You Need to Be Doing These 7 Things Now

Retiring Soon? You Need to Be Doing These 7 Things Now
Are you in the final countdown to retirement? Congratulations! This can be an amazing time full of new opportunities. Put yourself in the best position possible for your next adventure with these seven retirement readiness tips. 1. Revamp your budget.If you’re retiring soon, some expenses will likely go up — like medical and travel. But others will probably go down. You may not need to spend as much on clothes for work, and you may not even need a second car if you’re married. If you’re going to lose employee-sponsored health insurance and are not yet Medicare eligible, you’ll have to budget for purchasing insurance privately or buying it through one of the Affordable Care Act exchanges. And while you may have hoped to have all your debt paid off before retirement, unfortunately for many this is not the case. But you should at least audit all your debt including:...
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3 Ways to Save for College Explained: Prepaid Tuition Plans, 529 Plans and ESAs

3 Ways to Save for College Explained: Prepaid Tuition Plans, 529 Plans and ESAs
According to collegeboard.org, the average yearly full-time student budget for tuition and fees, room and board, books, and other incidentals at an in-state public four-year college is currently more than $25,000. For a private four-year college, that costs skyrockets to more than $50,000. With the potential total price of an undergraduate degree now topping $200,000, parents are understandably concerned about how they’re going to handle such a daunting expense. Fortunately, there are a number of options available for parents trying to fund the dream. Here’s a comparison of three popular plans. Prepaid Tuition Plans If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state that still offers a prepaid plan, then you may be able to save ahead and lock in tuition at current rates at eligible schools. Plans may cover two-year community college, four-year programs or even graduate school in some cases. It’s important to note that they do not,...
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Loss Aversion: Fighting the Fear

Loss Aversion: Fighting the Fear
Loss aversionsounds like a good thing — trying to avoid losing. What could be wrong with that? Unfortunately, if taken too far, it can actually be a threat to your long-term financial health. Loss aversion is the tendency to prefer avoiding potential losses over acquiring equal gains. We dislike losing $20 more than we like getting $20. Yet, this common bias can come with a heavy cost. Excessive risk avoidance can hurt you when, for example, it keeps your money out of the market and tucked away in low-risk, low-interest savings accounts — where purchasing power can be eroded by inflation over time. Delaying enrollment in your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan due to fear of market downturns can cripple opportunities for future growth. Loss aversioncan also lead to undue stress and anxiety. You stay invested, but worry constantly, which can create health and other problems. Finally, it can result in shortsighted...
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The 1% Change That Can Really Make a Difference

The 1% Change That Can Really Make a Difference
Sometimes small moves can yield big results. If you want to plan for a better, more secure retirement, start by increasing your 401(k) contribution by just 1%. You might be thinking that 1% can’t possibly make that much of a difference — but you’d be wrong.Here’s what Fidelity Investments found when they ran the numbers on the effect of a 1% retirement account increase for employees at different ages and salary levels. Example #1: Suzi, age 35, earning $60,000 per year.If she put less than $12 more into her retirement account each week, Suzi could accrue over $85,000 more by retirement.* What could that money buy her?According to cars.com the average new car payment is now $523 per month. With her additional savings, Suzi could ride in style for 162 months during retirement — that’s more than 13 years of new car smell! Example #2: Andrew, age 45, earning $70,000...
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ERISA Lawsuits Highlight Risks for Fiduciaries

ERISA Lawsuits Highlight Risks for Fiduciaries
Recent class action suits filed against Home Depot, First Group America, Aon Hewitt, Financial Engines and Alight seek millions in restitution. Two class action suits — one involving Home Depot and the other FirstGroup America — allege that failure to adequately perform oversight of outside fund advisors violated the sponsors’ fiduciary duties and ask for millions in restitution. According to the complaint, the Home Depot action alone, if certified, would incorporate more than 300,000 current and former employees. The Home Depot complaint names not only Home Depot Inc., but also its Administrative and Investment committees and their members. Outside advisors Financial Engines Advisors and Alight Financial Advisors and plan record keeper Aon Hewitt are also named. The 98-page complaint lays out an exhaustive case, which alleges a number of failures in performance of fiduciary duties, including: Home Depot allowed plan participants to pay unreasonable fees to the advisors. The advisors...
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Four Ways to Increase Employee Retirement Contribution Participation

Four Ways to Increase Employee Retirement Contribution Participation
As a retirement plan sponsor, can you encourage your employees to save and save more? A significant amount of research says that yes, you can improve both employee participation and their saving rates. Here are four ways you can help your employees start building a confident retirement: Boost employee participation with automatic enrollment. Choosing to automatically enroll all new employees in your retirement plan can dramatically improve your participation rates. According to the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College, in one study of automatic enrollment, participation increased by 50 percent, with the largest gains among younger and lower-paid employees.1 While auto-enrolled employees are allowed to opt out of the retirement plan, most generally stay enrolled. Set the initial default contribution rate higher. Many companies who use auto-enrollment set their default contribution rate relatively low at three percent, according to the CRR, which is lower than the typical employer match rate of six...
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Plan Sponsor Focus Shifts to Retirement Readiness

The ninth annual Plan Sponsor Attitudes Study reveals plan sponsors’ top concerns, as well as information on plan changes and participation rates. Fidelity surveyed 1124 sponsors whose plans had at least 25 participants and $10 million in assets, and start-upsto plans with more than a quarter million in assets. Plan sponsors surveyed used an assortment of record-keepers. The study focused on sponsors that use a plan consultant or financial advisor. It found that a historically high proportion of sponsors, 92%, say they work with an advisor. And while 44% of plan sponsors indicate that they’ve retained their current advisor for four years or less, 22% were looking to make a switch. This was down from 38% reported in 2017. In line with previous years’ results, the report indicates a high level of plan sponsor activity, with more than eight in ten sponsors reporting changes to their plans within the last...
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IRS Tips for Plan Sponsors

IRS Tips for Plan Sponsors
As an employer, you’re ultimately responsible for keeping your company’s 401(k) plan in compliance at all times. Your plan document should be reviewed on an annual basis and administered accordingly. The IRS offers useful tips for plan sponsors to help in those efforts. Here are some highlights on their guidance. Understand and verify your adoption agreement options.For pre-approved plans, you may have an adoption agreement that supplements the basic plan document and lists features that may be selected. It’s important to understand this document and specifically what it says about plan eligibility, types and limits of contributions, how contributions are divided among plan participants, vesting and paying benefits. Educate yourself about your service agreement. As a plan sponsor, it’s important to understand what your service agreement does and does not cover. For administrative tasks, it’s imperative to know who will perform these and to make sure that person has the...
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