The 7-Point DIY 401k Plan Audit Checklist

7-Point DIY 401k Plan Checklist

Companies that set up retirement plans for their employees are expected to understand and comply with the complex regulation known as ERISA (The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974).

Failure to demonstrate adherence to the rules outlined in ERISA can result in penalties, fines, or even disqualification of your plan completely. The Department of Labor (DOL), who is responsible for enforcing ERISA, takes this very seriously as evidenced in the fact sheet published annually on their website identifying the amount of fines imposed, investigations that resulted in penalties, and number of individuals indicted for benefits-related crimes.

To help you avoid becoming another statistic on the DOL’s annual report, I’ve put together a 7-Point DIY 401k Plan Audit Checklist to make it easy to understand where most compliance issues are found and identify your gaps so you can close them before it’s too late.

Download the checklist using the form to the right and let me know if you have any questions or need help closing the gaps.

Retired? Don’t Stop Saving Yet!

When it comes to retirement savings, a lot of emphasis is put on saving money leading up to retirement. But what happens after you retire? It’s important to know that your money will last as long as you need it to, so don’t throw your financial plan out the window just yet. Here are 5 reasons to keep saving after you retire:

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Borrowing From Your 401(k): A Financial Sin

When we put money into our retirement accounts we do so for a specific purpose: retirement.  All the money you have funneled into your 401(k) is supposed to buy you that dream retirement lifestyle you spent your entire life working toward.  But unfortunately, more and more people are finding that life can throw them curveballs that, in turn, can throw off their financial plan.  Often times, when people find themselves in a financial bind, they find it hard to ignore that shiny apple hanging in front of them in the form of their 401(k).

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Retirement Planning: A Recipe For Success

Planning your investments to build a retirement fund can be a dizzying prospect.  The various questions and options and details and accounts and amounts are enough to make anyone’s head spin.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a generic recipe for success?  A nice neat list of step by step instructions on how to make the best decisions on where, when and how much when it comes to investing for your retirement.  Unfortunately, this list of steps is incredibly dependent upon each individual and their current situation and future plans, so a sure fire success route doesn’t exist.

But before you stop reading, there are a few broad steps that most financial professionals agree will most likely lead you down the right path.  By investing your money in retirement accounts by the priority of which will give you the most return, you can take advantage of what each has to offer.  Here’s the order that is suggested for the majority of people in terms of retirement accounts.

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How To Take Advantage of Your 401(k)

So, you’ve been saving for retirement for years, spending your entire career penny pinching and saving every morsel you can, hoping to live out your years in a stress-free, fully-funded lifestyle.  You started young and have been saving ever since.  Most importantly, you have invested in the magical program people call a 401(k) at your company and have gritted your teeth as you watched a bit of every paycheck funnel into it.  Good for you!  You have taken an initiative that many people avoid.  As a reward for your planning and diligence, you will be granted, no, not three wishes, but three tips to using your 401(k) in the most productive way. [Read more…]

What is a 401K?

Of course you’ve heard of a 401k, but what exactly is it, and how do you manage one successfully?  401k plans are an excellent addition to your retirement planning and serve as a dual-feeding investment between you and your employer.  And even though there is an equal monetary deposit between both you and your employer, there are other aspects of the 401k plan that may or may not bode well for your financial plan.  In the very least, we will break down the nuts and bolts behind the 401k and give you the tools you need to decide whether it is right for you.

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2014 Financial Resolutions

This time of year, a lot of us start making New Year’s resolutions. We want to get in shape, quit smoking, spend more time with our families, etc. As 2014 quickly approaches, it’s important to consider making resolutions that will keep you financially fit as well. Here are a few resolutions to help you kick those bad habits that may be holding you back from reaching your financial goals:

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The Skeletons In The Closets Of Your 401(k)

401(k) plans have been the longstanding backbone of most retirement plans, and for good reason with their contribution matching programs, tax exempt contributions and tax free earnings during growth.  They seem like the perfect fit for most investment plans, but as most of us learn the hard way, anything that seems perfect means there is something we don’t see.

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About Mike Pierce

For nearly 25 years, Mike Pierce, a thought leader in the retirement plan industry, has been helping business owners, HR managers, CEOs and Retirement Plan Committees find cost-effective solutions to their companies’ retirement plan needs. The result of Mike’s work is a retirement plan program that uses tools, processes and structure to ensure that well-informed decision-making produces a high probability of success.