RPS Blog

What happens if i need money from my 401(K) Plan?

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Dec 28, 2016 9:00:00 AM

RPS December Newsletter

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Topics: Retirement Planning, 401(k) Plan

dol issues new fiduciary rule

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Aug 24, 2016 5:59:49 PM

On April 8, 2016 the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final guidance that greatly expands the types of retirement investment advice that will be subject to the fiduciary duty rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The so-called "conflict of interest" rule for retirement investments will have a significant effect on those who provide investment advice and sell investment products and services to retirement plans and IRAs. The central focus of the DOL guidance is to protect plan participants from conflicts of interest that could threaten their retirement savings.

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Topics: DOL, Fiduciary

A fresh look at your form 5500 filing

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Jul 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

If your firm has a profit sharing plan, a 401(k) plan or some other tax-qualified retirement plan, then you have been given a Form 5500 to sign and file every year since your business adopted the plan. While the form looks like most other IRS forms, the information reported on the filing is automatically provided to the Department of Labor (DOL), the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) by the electronic system that captures the data. This system is known as the ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2) and is funded and managed by the DOL.

What this tells you is that three governmental agencies have their fingers in the mix and that each has its own agenda in determining what data is collected. Ultimately, though, all of the agencies want to make sure that your plan is being operated correctly and for the sole benefit of your employees.

How is the Form 5500 Data Utilized?

You may wonder how the government uses the data it collects about your plan on the Form 5500 you submit. Since each agency has its own mandate, we need to look at each one separately.


The IRS is all about tax compliance. It is responsible for the rules that allow tax benefits for both employees and employers, related to retirement plans, including vesting and distribution requirements.

The DOL, through its Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), focuses on protecting the rights and benefits of participants and monitors the decisions and actions of fiduciaries associated with the operation of the plan.

The PBGC was created to protect pension benefits in private-sector defined benefit plans. It guarantees payment of certain pension benefits under plans that are terminated with insufficient money to pay all benefits.

The Form 5500 is an informational return and government agencies use it not only for enforcement but also for statistical analysis, e.g., how many workers are covered by workplace plans, how many small plans are there, how many large plans are there, what does that mean in terms of policy making, etc.

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Topics: DOL, Form 5500, IRS, EBSA

Managing Qualified Plans in Tough Times

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Mar 4, 2016 1:47:27 PM

Segments of the US marketplace, such as the energy industry, are now having to make some difficult decisions
with respect to their company retirement plans.  It is very important that decisions such as these be made while consulting an experienced ERISA professional for if the retirement plan is not handled correctly, significant liability can be created.

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Topics: Pension, 401(k)

December Newsletter - Plan compensation

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Dec 18, 2015 3:27:52 PM

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Topics: IRS

You Will Start Getting Robo Calls on Your Cell Phone Unless the Law is Changed

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Nov 25, 2015 11:33:43 AM

Hidden away and buried deep within the recently-passed and signed federal budget bill is a provision authorizing robocalls to cell phones. This bad provision got pushed through Congress in a rush to avoid a government shutdown.

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Know your limits for 2016

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Nov 3, 2015 4:21:22 PM

On October 21, 2015 the IRS announced the 2016 limits that affect qualified retirement plans.  As you can see, they are unchanged from 2015.

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Topics: ERISA, Retirement Planning

What Can Organ Donation Rules Teach Us About 401(k) and 403(b) Plans?

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Oct 30, 2015 2:35:22 PM

The percentage of individuals in Europe that donate their organs upon their death varies greatly from one European country to the next.  For example, only twelve percent of the German citizens choose to donate their organs but if one steps across the border and enters Austria, close to one hundred percent (99.98%) donate their organs.  In Denmark only 4.25% donate their organs, but if one leaves Copenhagen and drives across the Oresund Bridge, down the two-mile long undersea Drogden Tunnel and into Sweden, 86% of the population donate their organs.  Why these strange differences amongst very similar demographics?

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Topics: ERISA

Bold Steps You Need To Be Taking For Your Retirement

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Oct 30, 2015 2:33:57 PM
Good research needs to be shared.  Such is the case with the following study recently released by American Century Investments.  Seventy-three percent of plan participants said they could have afforded to save more and would have done so if they just knew one key number -- the amount they needed for retirement.  Over one in four participants, ages 25-54, would give themselves a "D" or an "F" in putting money away for the future.  
Furthermore, nearly seven in 10 support automatic enrollment at a 6 percent starting contribution rate and more than eight in 10 participants would have favored at least a moderate annual increase in their personal retirement savings of 1% a year until a savings rate of 10% was achieved.
Research like this encourages companies that sponsor 401(k) plans to take bold steps.  Add auto-enrollment, auto-increase, and auto-invest options.  A few participants will object but the vast majority will thank you and you will have the calm assurance of knowing you did the right thing.
The ERISA specialists at Retirement Planning Services can help clients implement these features, for when done properly, the fiduciary liability is actually reduced.
Read the full report here:
Click Here
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Topics: Retirement Planning

Terminating a SIMPLE Can Be Simple, if Done Right

Posted by Nathan Carlson on Oct 30, 2015 2:26:06 PM

There are many different forms of qualified retirement plans--among them, 401(k), profit sharing, defined benefit, ESOPs, 403(b), SIMPLE IRAs, and SIMPLE 401(k) plans.  One of the unique requirements of SIMPLE IRAs and SIMPLE 401(k) plans is that they must be the sole, exclusive plan of the employer for the entire calendar year.  In other words, an employer sponsoring a SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k) cannot, in the same calendar year, also sponsor a regular 401(k) plan or any other qualified retirement plan. 

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Topics: 401(k), SIMPLE IRA, Compliance

Welcome to the RPS Blog!

This blog is dedicated to providing relevant, critical and timely information about retirement plans and ERISA changes. We provide information you need to help you stay compliant, up-to-date with the retirement industry, and ways to maximize your plan's design. The retirement planning industry is constantly changing, in this blog we will keep you ahead of the change, and aware of the impact it might have on your business. 

Read this blog if you are a:

  • Financial advisor
  • Plan sponsor
  • Business owner or administrator
  • Service provider
  • Involved in the retirement plan industry
  • Interested in the retirement plan industry

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