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Thursday, November 8, 2018

What’s Happening in the Retirement Market?

Rob Peter to Pay Paul?

Typically this idiom has had a negative connotation, but the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) August 17 Private Letter Ruling approving the amendment of Abbott Lab’s 401(k) to include a student loan repayment benefit implies there might be circumstances when it’s not only ok “to take from one source to give to another,” but financially savvy.

The IRS gave its blessing to Abbott Lab’s making non-elective contributions to the 401(k) plan based on an employee’s total student loan repayments made outside the plan. These employer contributions would be in lieu of the matching contributions that would otherwise be made to the plan had the employee made elective contributions. However, the employer may provide a year end true-up match to ensure that if there are pay periods where the employee fails to make student loan repayments, but opts to make elective contributions during the same period, the employee would be eligible to receive a true-up matching contribution.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Financial Wellness: Measuring Value

There’s no easy way to calculate a return on investment from financial wellness programs. Survey respondents are clearly struggling to measure program value. This is especially challenging, since measurement of value is imperative for initiatives that require employer investment.
When deciding whether financial wellness is worth offering and how the program should be designed, any recommended course of action will depend on a detailed assessment of the workforce’s needs. During that process, some organizations will see value in such programs, while others are hesitant to make that commitment. In either case, HR professionals will need to work closely with c-suite executives to plot a course for measurable results. While there’s no guarantee that financial wellness will have a positive impact on any organization’s bottom line, survey respondents seem to agree about the potential benefits associated with achieving full engagement from their employees.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Financial Wellness: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Financial wellness programs may not be the right fit for some organizations. There may be a moral imperative that drives commitment for some, while others require a business imperative to justify the investment. Regardless of the rationale, a logical starting point would be for an organization to survey its employees and assess the need.

As employers learn more about financial wellness, some will deem these programs a good fit for their organizations, while others will not see the need to establish one or consider it a top priority. For those who see value in financial wellness programs, some may be drawn to them as a moral imperative, while others believe they’re a worthy business investment.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Q2 Market Recap: Signal-to-Noise Ratio

The signal-to-noise ratio is an electrical engineering term used to express the clarity of audio. Signal-to-noise has a financial application as well. Currently, investors need to separate the signal from the noise to understand why the stock market continues its bull run despite disturbing headlines on the domestic and global fronts.

The Q2 Market Recap identifies the signals that are driving the market higher and therefore merit investors’ attention. We define a signal as information that is used by successful investors for valuing securities and making investment decisions (buy, sell, or hold). These signals are always relevant for investors making retirement savings decisions. We define noise as negative information that falsely appears relevant to investment decisions. Noise adds to market volatility, but ultimately fails to negatively impact the signals.

Read the Q2 Market Recap to learn more. If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by calling (855) 882-9177 or e-mail us at

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Financial Wellness: Understanding Financial Wellness Programs

The extent to which employers understand financial wellness begins to come into focus when assessing their responses to some basic questions. But with so many organizations struggling to understand what constitutes financial wellness, it’s clear that they need more information to assess the need for such a program.

Nearly 60% of the SBS survey respondents said their organization offers a financial wellness program, or plans to in 2018 or beyond. The remainder of those who were polled said their organization does not have such a program in place, nor do they plan to offer one. However, it’s worth noting that nearly 60% of respondents who do not have a financial wellness program believe their employees would be receptive to such a program.