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Recent Articles From John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

By John Iekel7/11/2014 • 0 Comments

Defined benefit plans, DC plans and 403(b) annuity arrangements, take note: July 31 is right around the corner. That’s the day by which most plans must file the dreaded and onerous Form 5500. The clock is ticking on filing the form that reports on 2013. 

By John Iekel7/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has announced that its ERISA Advisory Council will be examining issues and considerations related to facilitating lifetime retirement plan participation. In explaining its rationale for doing so, it cites the recent movement of participant assets out of defined contribution and defined benefit plans, and into retirement accounts not covered by ERISA — such as IRAs or other savings accounts — or as plan distributions. 

By John Iekel7/7/2014 • 0 Comments

An agent working with a public school superintendent to include retirement benefits in his individual contract reviews the wording the district plans to use. She sees that they have given the superintendent a choice of medical insurance OR an employer contribution to the 403(b) plan. In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder tells us whether there is a problem with providing this choice. 

By John Iekel7/7/2014 • 0 Comments

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia allow charter schools. They tend to treat their benefits packages in the same way as a typical for-profit employer and not in the way a traditional K-12 school does. In MarketBeat, Diane D. Capone of Lincoln Investment writes that it is important to know who is working with charter schools in your area and to develop a relationship, including one with third party administrators, that will facilitate a 403(b) retirement plan and allow you to help in properly establishing and running a charter school’s retirement plan. 

By John Iekel7/2/2014 • 0 Comments

The Treasury Department issued a rule July 1 that essentially allows employees to convert part of their IRA or 401(k) balances into a longevity annuity. Under the rule, an IRA or 401(k) can allow participants to use $125,000 or up to 25 percent of their IRA or 401(k) — whichever is less — to buy a longevity annuity. The dollar limit will be adjusted for inflation in $10,000 increments. 

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

Are you passionate about 403(b)s? We are, and if you were among the attendees at the 2014 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C., you no doubt recall the video that outlined how and why. We’ve posted that video so attendees and those who couldn’t be there can see it. 

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

An agent with a product provider insists that an employee can take distribution from his 457(b) plan and roll it over into the same employer’s 403(b) plan; he is under 70 ½ and actively employed with that employer. The agent says there is new guidance making this permissible. In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder discusses whether the agent is correct. 

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

Controversy persists in the Tar Heel State over the way information is disclosed — or not disclosed — about how state pension funds are invested and the deals behind those investments. 

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

In nearly half of the states, state pension benefits have changed —  often in a way that reduces them. This not only hurts retirement accounts and income, it also heightens a sense of urgency in boosting participation in 403(b)s and 457(b)s in order to bolster employees’ savings. One of the ways to do that, writes Ellie Lowder in MarketBeat, is to focus on employees’ financial literacy. 

By John Iekel6/27/2014 • 0 Comments

Cash and securities holdings of the 100 largest public employee pension systems in the United States —   which account for 89.4 percent of domestic public pension financial activity — grew during the first quarter of 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions.

By John Iekel6/25/2014 • 0 Comments

The federal government, a purveyor of regulations and legislation, has set before the 403(b) community a veritable blue plate special — and one with a long shelf life to boot. NTSA President Susan Diehl of PenServ Services, Inc., outlined what’s on that plate at NTSA’s 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C., on June 24.

By John Iekel6/25/2014 • 0 Comments

That’s the specific — and implied — message of three experts offering their take on how to increase plan participation. TSA Consulting VP Steve Banks, Hendershot Financial Group’s Tom Hendershot and Teresa Ward, Retirement Plans VP at OppenheimerFunds, made their remarks to attendees at a June 23 session of the NTSA 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C.

By John Iekel6/24/2014 • 0 Comments

The watchword of the day is patience. And detailed preparation. Speaking to a packed room at a June 23 general session of the NTSA 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C., Kristi Cook, head of an eponymous law firm, and Ellie Lowder, of TSA Consulting, outlined the challenges facing the 403(b) industry. 

By John Iekel6/23/2014 • 0 Comments

“High tech and high touch” characterizes the approach of Generations X and Y’ to financial planning and advice. Greenwald & Associates Research Director Lisa Schneider delivered that message to attendees at the NTSA 403(b) Summit on June 23. While younger workers are tech-savvy, they also want a human touch and dimension. 

By John Iekel6/23/2014 • 0 Comments

“They cannot beat us when we work together!”, NTSA Executive Director Chris DeGrassi exhorted attendees at the June 22 opening general session of NTSA’s 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C. DeGrassi and NTSA Associate General Counsel/Director of Government Affairs Ronald J. Triche provided a summary of progress — and challenges facing NTSA members — in making sure the clients they serve have the freedom to choose how best to invest for their retirement. 

By John Iekel6/17/2014 • 0 Comments

A measure that would reform the pension system serving the Keystone State’s public-sector employees is coming closer to a vote. HB 1353, introduced by Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks), would offer a new hybrid plan to new employees and seeks to reduce the burden the system places on Pennsylvania taxpayers. 

By John Iekel6/17/2014 • 0 Comments

If the holder of a Roth 403(b) is over age 59½ and has held his account for more than five years, is the plan administrator required to withhold 20 percent for federal income tax since the distribution is eligible to be rolled over?  In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder says yea or nay. 

By John Iekel6/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Funds held in inherited IRAs are not retirement funds and must be included in a bankruptcy estate, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 12. The Court’s 9-0 ruling in Clark v. Rameker, No. 13-299 (U.S. 6/12/14), aff’d 714 F.3d 559 (7th Cir. 2013)) was definitive in drawing a distinction between inherited IRAs and retirement funds, and between inherited IRAs and other funds to which the Bankruptcy Code’s exemptions apply. The Court’s ruling ended years of ping-pong litigation in which successive courts reversed decisions by lower courts. 

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

Many sobering reports have been issued regarding the degree to which U.S. workers are preparing — or not — for retirement. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Personal Savings Initiative (PSI) may not be the first effort that seeks to help turn the tide of poor savings rates, but it has heft and features a far-reaching and ongoing discussion of the problem and ways to address it. 

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

If a client is age 72, and has worked for three years for an employer that offers a 457(b) plan, what are the rules regarding when he can retire with an unreduced benefit? In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder explains what he needs to do and whether any catch-up contributions are possible.

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