March 3, 2017—Sharpened pencil in hand, I step out of my car. Under my arm I carry my binder with helpful retirement plan information and go-to resources. I have just pulled up to a corporate office suite, having recently disembarked from a meeting with another company owner nearby. I remember the smile of gratitude on his face just an hour earlier as I showed him ways to improve his company’s 401(k) plan with lower-cost investments, as well as save valuable time for his staff by making plan administration easier. The knowledge that these meetings are a genuine help to others is like a fresh breeze in my sails, reinvigorating me and propelling me forward to new explorations with other retirement plan sponsors.
This is a day in my life as a retirement plan consultant. While my years as a consultant have certainly given me expertise in the retirement industry, being able to relate to business owners and company managers is what makes it all possible. I’ve been a business owner and an organization executive myself, so I know what it’s like to lie awake at night, thinking about how benefits and legal requirements fit into the broader vision for my company.
Having seen the retirement plan industry from the position of both a business manager and a consultant, I’m also aware that the retirement plan industry can be confusing. From setting up a retirement plan, to managing it, to improving it, to making adjustments for the changing size of the business, there are so many little “gotcha” requirements that can easily catch owners and managers by surprise.
The consequences of trial-and-error plan management can be severe and can result in personal liability for business owners and plan decision-makers, at times resulting in financial penalties. On the brighter side, although they are not legal requirements per se, there are often many best practices that can certainly improve outcomes for plan participants who have placed much of their savings into the plan. These best practices also have another positive effect: they help protect plan sponsors.
There is always a bit of detective work in helping my clients. A bit of triangulating familiar clues, logical deduction, and “search and rescue” – hence the title of this blog. Just as I learn much about the plan sponsors I meet, they often learn much about their plan that they never knew they never knew. They also learn ways to improve it.
I welcome you to contact me about any aspect of your plan, even if it seems to be running fine. Beyond anything being broken, from a management standpoint there are always ways to improve a plan, often in a significant way to help your employees build a more secure future or mitigate your risk as a plan fiduciary. That is well worth a few minutes of consultation.
Thank you for reading my blog. I can’t wait to connect with you!
This blog is written to help make the lives of plan sponsors easier in the process of meeting legal requirements under ERISA for their defined contribution plans. Please understand that reading this blog should not alone take the place of a one-on-one consultation regarding the needs of your specific plan, and hence cannot be a guarantee against fiduciary breaches.