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John Iekel

The timing of when one leaves the workforce has a variety of effects—and a recent study examines whether, and how, it affects one’s lifestyle during retirement. In “Retirement Consumption and Pension Design,” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 31628, researchers study whether... READ MORE
Where do things stand regarding retirement assets and plan participation in the United States? Two agencies give us a look.  Assets U.S. retirement assets as of New Year’s Eve in 2022 stood at a total of $37.8 trillion, says the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in U.S. Retirement Assets: Data... READ MORE
In 2023, CalSavers was beset by the summer doldrums. The CalSavers Retirement Savings Board reports that this last summer, the program grew by some measures, but remained stable or even shrank slightly by others.  Employer registrations were lower at the end of summer than they were at its start;... READ MORE
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has released a report concerning the proposals for a new proportional formula for use with the windfall elimination provision (WEP).  Specifically, in “The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) in Social Security: Proposals for a New Proportional Formula”... READ MORE
If you made an error with IRA contributions or discover one, there still is time to correct it. But not much time—the deadline for fixing those mistakes is Oct. 16, 2023.  Among the errors that could cause someone to seek to make an adjustment, observes Sarah Brenner, Director of Retirement... READ MORE
The importance of plan fees has been impossible to miss in recent years—just look at court dockets, if nothing else. And those plan fees can pose a challenge in fulfilling fiduciary duties.  Protecting 401(k) and 403 (b) participants from paying excessive fees is part of plan sponsors’ fiduciary... READ MORE
The IRS on Sept. 13 issued guidance on exceptions from the electronic filing requirements for certain filers of Forms 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ. The guidance comes in Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2023-31.  Rev. Proc. 2023-31 supersedes Rev. Proc. 2015-47, 2015-39 IRB 419 regarding the following forms... READ MORE
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) on Sept. 12 issued the interest assumptions under the asset allocation regulation for plans with valuation dates in the fourth quarter of 2023. The assumptions are contained in a final rule that amends the PBGC’s regulation on Allocation of Assets in... READ MORE
Any retirement fund invests its funds in some way to help them grow, and that includes those run by states. A look at how CalSavers handles the investment of its funds sheds some light on how one of the largest state-run retirement plans fosters growth of their funds.  Assets CalSavers had assets... READ MORE
The industrial revolution, 21st century-style, mass-produces information—but at the same time makes it an individual experience. And that includes information about retirement plans and one’s own retirement plan and account. One of the ways in which that information is delivered is via apps. But... READ MORE
CalSavers has expanded the range of services for which it is seeking professional assistance.  On Sept. 5, CalSavers issued an RFP (request for proposals) announcing that it is seeking a contractor to provide investment consulting services. CalSavers, the state-run program that provides retirement... READ MORE
Those lazy, hazy, days of summer lived up to their name this year: Private-sector pension plans showed only slight changes in status in August by a range of measures, according to multiple reports.  Funded Status  Funded ratios for private-sector defined benefit plans showed slight changes from... READ MORE
Starting a state-run program could result in private-sector employers dropping their existing retirement benefit plans, warned some soothsayers. Not so, says an industry expert.  Kim Olson, Senior Officer of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Retirement Savings Project took issue with such doom and gloom... READ MORE
ASPPA Connect will not be published on Monday, Sept. 4, as the ASPPA offices will be closed in observance of Labor Day. It will return on Wednesday, Sept. 6. And in keeping with the theme, here are some facts concerning labor in the United States.  The Department of Labor was established on... READ MORE
Taking action in advance to protect vital documents can be helpful when a disaster strikes, a principle that applies to retirement plans and administration as well as other records and functions.  The IRS issued a reminder in Tax Tip 2023-107 about the importance of such steps on the heels of... READ MORE
Pension risk transfers (PRTs) are, at their core, financial transactions. But there are other important factors to keep in mind when contemplating and conducting a PRT—among them, fiduciary responsibility.  With PRTs heating up lately, a discussion of how fiduciary duty factors in may be timely... READ MORE
The Maine Retirement Savings Program is getting closer to implementation. The Maine Retirement Savings Board has proposed a rule that would set the nuts and bolts of program operation.  Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed the Act To Promote Individual Retirement Savings through a Public-Private... READ MORE
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has updated certain information and rates relevant to premiums. Premium Funding Targets The PBGC has updated the information it makes available concerning the interest rates used to determine the "premium funding target" (that is, the present value... READ MORE
The Department of Labor (DOL) on Aug. 28 announced that its Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will extend the grace period to obtain new credentials for the EFAST2 filing system until Dec. 31, 2023. The ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2) is the system by which the... READ MORE
Social Security—often cited as a “third rail”—has been a staple of the retirement landscape for almost 90 years. But that doesn't mean that it’s free of misconceptions. A recent commentary highlights some to avoid.  In “5 Social Security Myths Debunked,” Fidelity points out some common assumptions... READ MORE