Saturday, February 13, 2016

15 (More) Retirement Plan Points to Ponder

Working with retirement plans is a complicated, challenging and constantly changing process. That said, there are certain constants — and things that bear repeating and/or reconsidering from time to time.

Since I published my first list of 15 last fall (one of my most popular, as it turns out), I’ve gotten several very good suggestions — and had an epiphany or two.

Here are a few (more) points to ponder:
  1. Cheaper isn’t always better, unless it’s the only difference.
  2. Sometimes you do get what you pay for — but not always.
  3. If you’re not doing anything “wrong,” you probably aren’t doing anything much.
  4. You can spend a lot of money in court being right.
  5. A fund whose allocation is based solely on date of retirement is sure to miss something, but not as much as a fund whose allocation doesn’t take that into account.
  6. If you don’t know how much you’re paying, you’re likely paying too much.
  7. Don’t assume that those who aren’t saving via your workplace retirement plan know what they are doing — or what they are missing.
  8. There’s something about putting decisions down on paper that helps people take them more seriously.
  9. Figuring out how much to take out is harder than figuring how much to put in.
  10. The werewolves always outnumber the silver bullets.
  11. When it comes to workplace retirement plans, there are three kinds of people: those who are ERISA fiduciaries and know it, those who aren’t ERISA fiduciaries and know it, and those who are ERISA fiduciaries and find out via subpoena.
  12. If you can’t remember the last time you did a request for proposal, it’s probably overdue.
  13. The default deferral rate for a non-automatic enrollment plan… is zero.
  14. If you don’t know why “we’ve always done it this way,” it’s time you did.
  15. You may not know all the right answers, but it’s worth knowing the right questions.
- Nevin E. Adams, JD

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