From the Executive Editor

By Norman Levinrad • November 16, 2016 • 0 Comments

Wow, what a week we’ve just had as a country. I’m not going to make any political comments, but I think we can all agree we’re going to be on a roller coaster for a while. And I don’t like roller coasters — they are way too scary for me. Put me on a sport bike on a race track and I ride like a maniac, but don’t ask me to go on a roller coaster. Maybe it’s the lack of control that’s the scary part. We all enjoy the illusion that we ever have some control, but the reality is that there are always big forces way beyond our control — and that’s downright scary.
 
And winter is coming! Not only the cold, and rain and snow of the season, but also the chilling talk of tax reform. While this may be seen as a warm positive by some, how it affects our industry could have a serious impact. I remember an ASPPA March on the Hill a couple of years ago when I met a senior staffer for one of my senators from Oregon. I explained to him how small business owners set up plans because of the incentive it provides for their own contributions, and that if you take away the incentive, many of them will not bother to set up any plan at all. He looked me square in the eye and said, “I don’t believe you.” How can you even respond to that kind of thinking? As usual, we will need to fight hard to make our argument to maintain the current incentives. There will be a lot of talk in the next year about all of this.
 
I enjoyed the ASPPA Annual Conference a couple of weeks ago. One of the sessions that always irritates me is the Q&A session with representatives from the IRS. I generally find these sessions a huge waste of time, because we can’t rely on their answers; those answers are often wrong (the only time they are right is when they agree with one of my opinions) or are inconsistent with previous answers they have given. In the session at the conference, they were asked a benefits, rights and features question about a cash balance plan that provides for an interest credit of 4% for HCEs and 5% for NHCEs. Their answer was quite astounding, so I asked Tom Finnegan to write an article on the issue. Tom’s excellent article is here.
 
My friend Lauren Okum was co-chair of this year’s ASPPA Annual Conference, and I asked her to write an article about her experience doing this. Her experience shows how easy it is to volunteer and get involved, so please, be like Lauren! Her article is here.
 
Have I ever mentioned what a valuable resource the ACOPA listserv is? I really enjoy my time reading about the issues we all discuss, and one recurring question is whether a new entity has to be aggregated with a prior entity for 415 purposes. Andy Zimny opined on this issue on the listserv, so I “volunteered” him to write an article about it. Andy responded the next day with this excellent discussion.
 
It’s important for us all to know what our leaders are working on, and as usual we have an LC update from our 2016-2017 President Kurt Piper, here.
 
As we come to the end of our CE cycle, there are always many questions from people about credits, and our Executive Director Judy Miller addresses some of these here.
 
Have a great Thanksgiving!
 
Cheers,
 
Norm