Creating Your Own Luck in Retirement Plans: Advice from Our Experts

It’s the month of luck: bring on the green beer, blarney stones, and pots of gold. But if you’re having a hard time finding a four-leaf clover, we’ve got the next best thing: the ingredients for making your own luck! We’ve asked a few of our best and brightest to provide the top three pieces of advice they’d give business owners for making their own luck when it comes to retirement plans. So grab your favorite beverage, cozy up, and let’s see what they said!

Words of Wisdom from:

Linda Neylon, Regional Vice President, Sales & Consulting

Never hesitate to ask questions.  Have a trusted point of contact you feel comfortable going to with questions and who will either have the answer or can get the answer.  It’s so much easier (and cheaper!) to ask questions upfront than assuming or guessing, and having to go back and make corrections. 

Understand the roles and responsibilities of your retirement plan providers (plan sponsor, financial advisor, recordkeeper, third party administrator).  Have each party’s name and contact information on hand.  Also, have an idea of when important retirement plan tasks take place (submission of contributions, submission of census data, notice distribution, form 5500 filing). If you’re not sure, we have resources for you! Check out our defined contribution and defined benefit compliance calendars.

Know the basics of your retirement plan provisions: eligibility, types of contributions, definition of compensation, types of distributions.  Know where your plan’s Summary Plan Description and Plan Highlights are housed. Remember, EGPS has a resource library and is here to help if you have questions!

Lucky Charms from:

Debi Chun, Retirement Plan Consultant

Pay attention to service provider communications. With the numerous deadlines surrounding retirement plans, we communicate reminders regularly. Penalties for missing deadlines can be severe, so our goal is always to ensure employers are aware and help as much as possible.

When in doubt, always ask us first! Retirement plan lingo and regulations can be difficult to understand, but we have experts on staff to help! If employers have any questions about their plan, deadlines, wording, etc. – they should reach out to us before taking any action. We can review, explain, and ensure correct action is taken. This can save a lot of headaches and expenses down the road.

Ensure salary deferrals are deposited timely. The Department of Labor rules require that the employer deposit deferrals as soon as they can. They issued a small plan safe harbor of 7 business days from the date the funds are separated from payroll as the latest date they can be deposited. This is a common error I see in working with retirement plans.

Golden Nuggets from:

Stacya von der Osten, Regional Vice President, Sales & Consulting

Choosing qualified partners. Who you partner with for your retirement plan is huge. Make sure you find experts in the field who know the ins and outs of all retirement plan rules, regulations, and can present you with the best options for YOU. Check out our blog on the best questions to ask a third-party administrator for advice when vetting providers. 

Providing good education. Ensure you provide good education to your employees regarding the plan is critical. This will help them see the full value of the benefit you’re providing and allow them to make the best financial decisions possible for their future.

Having a good plan design. The options aren’t quite limitless, but they’re close. The amount of options available for employers when setting up their plan are vast. Select a third-party administrator who knows all these options and can help find the best solution for you, based on your goals. A good plan design can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars more saved, bigger tax benefits, and happier employees. Make sure you know your options and get the best one for you.

Pot of Gold from:

Greg Sarabia, Retirement Plan Consultant

Hire a great TPA (cough… EGPS… cough). There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to a retirement plan – and they continue to change year after year. Having people that work on retirement plans for a living is a wonderful resource.

Educate yourself and your employees. While it is beneficial to have a TPA guiding you, the more that you and your employees learn and know, the better!

Do not be afraid to ask questions. Whether you are asking your TPA, CPA, or FA, when in doubt, ask! Being involved with a retirement plan can be overwhelming and those resources are there to help you in times of need.

Four Leaf Clovers from:

Kaitlin Watson, Retirement Plan Consultant

Engage someone to help you explore your design options. What are your overall goals? What plan design would most encourage employee participation? Tailor it to fit the needs and goals of your company.

Sit in on any enrollment meetings! Get good insight to what employees are learning, what questions they’re asking, and if there are any components that deter anyone from participating, etc.

Data, Data, Data! Did I mention good data? 😊 A timely and top notch valuation/plan review hinges on timely and accurate census data. Any data provided should also reconcile with payroll records, and if you’re questioning something or aren’t sure if it’s relevant to the plan – ask! That might even be a bonus piece of advice – ask questions! Let the financial advisor and TPA you’ve engaged to help you do just that.

We’re here to help!

A key point in all these lucky charms? EGPS is here to help! We’re available to answer questions, educate, and provide resources to ensure employers feel confident in their retirement plans. Fill out the form below to learn more about our services and how we can help!

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