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Recent Articles From John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

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.

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

How can a plan participant determine how much can safely be withdrawn from an account after retirement? What is your clients’ risk tolerance? Find out at the 2014 NTSA 403(b) Summit, to be held in Washington, D.C., June 22–24. 

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in U.S. v. Windsor — in which it said that retirement plans must treat a same-sex spouse just they would any other spouse for purposes of benefits under the retirement plan — one year ago, on June 26, 2013. That makes this an opportune time for Ellie Lowder in MarketBeat to review some of the latest guidance that implements the Court’s ruling and with which you must comply. 

By John Iekel6/9/2014 • 0 Comments

The federal government and U.S. workers agree that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a.k.a. Obamacare — will affect the timing of retirements. However, IFAwebnews reports that there’s a wide gap between what the government and many workers expect that effect to be, according to a survey conducted for MoneyRates.com.

By John Iekel6/3/2014 • 0 Comments

Simplified investment platforms are becoming more common for 403(b) plans, and target date funds are among the most widespread investment options, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America’s sixth annual 403(b) plan survey. The Principal Financial Group sponsored the study.

By John Iekel6/2/2014 • 0 Comments

State pensions have been in the news a lot lately, and not always in a good way. The ways in which states meet the challenges of providing pensions for their employees are as numerous and varied as the states themselves. In the latest MarketBeat, Michael A. Webb takes a state-by-state look at what the states are doing and how they are changing the way they provide pensions — including turning to mechanisms other than traditional DB plans. 

By John Iekel6/2/2014 • 0 Comments

If a teacher remains employed within the state, but by a different school district, could the teacher be considered to be still employed by the same employer?  Ellie Lowder has the answer in this week’s Tech Talk.

By John Iekel5/28/2014 • 0 Comments

More often than not, employees who obtain investment advice do not follow it. And that’s among those who bother to seek it in the first place. The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey suggests that advisors have some work to do in boosting plan participants’ interest and confidence in professional advice. 

By John Iekel5/25/2014 • 0 Comments

In order to help your plan participants maximize their savings, you have to know how to best read and navigate the financial markets. The NTSA 403(b) Summit, to be held June 22 - 24 in Washington, D.C., will provide a unique opportunity to benefit from the insights of Peter Ricchiuti, a professor at Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience on the markets. Don't miss out; you can still register at the discounted rate through Friday, May 30!

By John Iekel5/24/2014 • 0 Comments

If a worker receives Social Security benefits before normal retirement age and earned more than $15,120 in 2013 through part-time employment, can he contribute the balance above that figure to his 403(b) so as to avoid the loss of Social Security benefits? Ellie Lowder has the answer in this week’s Tech Talk.

By John Iekel5/22/2014 • 0 Comments

Have you made a mistake in administering your 403(b) plan? Does this mistake put you at risk of IRS action? If so, you are not alone — not only in the sense that others have made mistakes, but also because the IRS has updated its 403(b) Plan Fix-It Guide, a resource that tells plan sponsors how to identify errors in 403(b) administration and correct them. Equally important: the IRS also says how to avoid the mistake in the first place. 

By John Iekel5/22/2014 • 0 Comments

The IRS took the industry by surprise with the definition of severance of employment (specifically for public school districts) contained in the Listing of Required Modifications (LRMs) posted in March 2013 to provide guidance on the preparation of plan documents for the IRS 403(b) pre-approval program. In this week’s MarketBeat, Ellie Lowder discusses the issues the IRS' new position raises. 

By John Iekel5/15/2014 • 0 Comments

Some states and cities have found that cutting cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to the pensions they provide their employees is a way to loosen the financial vise of pension liabilities. The Center for Retirement Research of Boston College in its recent study, “COLA Cuts in State and Local Pensions” discusses this child of the Great Recession and generous pension plans whose context has changed. 

By John Iekel5/14/2014 • 0 Comments

Change is coming to the “once each 12 months” rule for indirect IRA-to-IRA rollovers. The federal Tax Court, in Bobrow vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, held that you can’t make a non-taxable rollover from one IRA to another if you have already made a rollover from any IRA that you own. In MarketBeat, Ellie Lowder discusses the ramifications of the ruling and what you need to do.

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