In the course of my day, I talk to (and email with) people, read a lot, and every so often jot down a random thought or insight that gives me pause and makes me think. See what you think.
1. Disclosure isn’t the same thing as clarity. Sometimes it’s the opposite.
2. It’s not what you’re doing wrong; it’s what you’re not doing that’s wrong.
3. Sometimes just saying you’re thinking about doing an RFP can get results.
4. The best way to stay out of court is to avoid situations where participants lose money.
5. The key to successful retirement savings is not how you invest, but how much you save.
6. It’s the match, not the tax preferences, that drives plan participation.
7. Does anybody still expect taxes to be lower in retirement?
8. If you don’t know how much you’re paying, you can’t know if it’s reasonable.
9. You want your provider to be profitable, not go out of business.
10. Retirement income is a challenge to solve, not a product to build.
11. When selecting plan investments, keep in mind the 80-10-10 rule: 80% of participants are not investment savvy, 10% are, and the other 10% think they are. But aren’t.
12. Participants who are automatically enrolled are almost certainly even more inert than those who took the time to fill out an enrollment form.
13. 92% of participants defaulted in at a 6% deferral do nothing. 4% actually increase that deferral. rate.
14. Plan sponsors may not be responsible for the outcomes of their retirement plan designs, but someone should be.
15. Even if a plan has a plan adviser that is a fiduciary, the plan sponsor is still a fiduciary.
16. Most plans don’t comply with ERISA 404(c) – and never have. And, based on litigation trends, apparently don’t need to.
17. Hiring a co-fiduciary doesn’t make you an ex-fiduciary.
18. “Because it’s the one my recordkeeper offers” is not a good reason to select a target-date fund.
19. Given a chance to save via a workplace retirement plan, most people do. Without access to a workplace retirement plan, most people don’t.
20. 20. Nobody knows how much “reasonable” is.
21. Innovative doesn’t mean nobody’s ever thought about it, or that nobody’s ever done it.
22. You want to have an investment policy in place before you need to have an investment policy in place.
23. The same provider can charge different fees to plans that aren’t all that different.
24. You can be in favor of fee disclosure and transparency and still think that legislation telling you how to do it is misguided.
25. The biggest mistake a plan fiduciary can make is not seeking the help of experts.
Thanks to all you “inspirations” out there — past, present and future.