401k Best Practices

In an effort to keep clients and business partners up-to-date on 401k best practices, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC suggests the following resources.

Resources: 401k Best Practices

401k Decision-Making And Documentation Best Practices.
Are you making retirement plan decisions using a prudent process? Do you always put the interests of plan participants ahead of the company’s when considering plan issues? This article contains a list of the 401k best practices related to decision-making and documentation.

401k Fees Best Practices. Are your plan fees market competitive? Do you meet your fiduciary obligations regarding provider fee review each year? Consider these 401k best practices relating to fees.

401k Investment Adviser Annual Reviews – What Employers Should Expect. At least once each year, retirement plan sponsors should be meeting with their 401k plan investment advisor to review what happened in the plan during the prior year. Those plan sponsors that are already meeting with their advisor on a quarterly basis take note – the annual review should be a little different. All annual reviews should cover the items outlined in the article.

401k Investment Menu Best Practices. Interested in how your investment menu stacks up versus this marketplace? Take a look at this article which outlines current 401k best practices for investment menus.

401k Plan Design Best Practices. Are you questioning whether your plan design is still market competitive? A leading-edge 401k plan currently has the 401k best practices plan design features outlined in this article.

401k Plan/Financial Wellness Education Best Practices. Have you started planning your annual 401k employee education sessions? Generally, most plan sponsors conduct employee education sessions during the early part of the new year to explain changes that went into effect on January 1. As you think about your annual education sessions, keep the 401k education best practices in this post in mind.

401k RFP Tips For Employers. Recently my Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm has been fortunate to receive a number of Requests For Proposals (RFPs) for investment advisory services. While I am grateful to receive these RFPs, I continue to be puzzled by how some plan sponsors choose to manage their RFP process. So, outlined in this post, I have provided some tips on how plan sponsors can optimize their 401k RFP process to ensure it produces the best possible result.

Bad Idea: Rolling A 401k Account Into An IRABad Idea: Rolling A 401k Account Into An IRA, Part II and Bad Idea: Rolling A 401k Into An IRA, Part III. Is it a good idea for participants to roll their 401k account balance into a rollover IRA? In most cases, the answer is no.

Best 401k Plans Have These Six Features. Each year Brightscope, an independent financial information company that aggregates retirement plan data, releases a list of what it believes are the best large 401k plans. This article shares the six plan features that Brightscope says result in a 401k plan receiving a high ranking, along with my comments on each feature.

BlackRock Interview With Robert C. Lawton (PDF). Robert C. Lawton, President of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, is interviewed by former Wall Street Journal editor and current BlackRock executive Kelly Greene on how to design the best 401k plan.

Congress Should Consider These Eight 401k Plan Fixes. As Congress continues to explore ways of making our retirement system stronger, legislators should consider the fixes outlined in this article. I have ranked these suggestions from 1 to 10 (with 10 being a major impact) based upon how I feel the fix would impact participant retirement readiness.

Employee Education Policy Statement Can Help Set Goals (PDF). Rather than just abandoning your employee education program, or resigning yourself to mediocre results, consider taking a harder look at your process by constructing an employee education policy statement.

Five Low-Cost Ways To Improve Your 401k Plan. After working with thousands of 401k plans for more than 30 years, I have consistently run into a relatively small number of easily fixable problems that can make a big difference in many 401k plans. Check out this list to see if your 401k plan can be improved.

Five Reasons To Benchmark Your 401k Plan This Year. Are you in the practice of benchmarking your retirement plan on a regular basis? Have you ever benchmarked your 401k plan? This article explains why you should benchmark your plan this year.

Five Reasons To Re-Enroll Your 401k Participants Now. A number of plan sponsors re-enroll all their participants each year into managed account options. This article explores the reasons why they do that.

How To Avoid A DoL 401k Audit. According to PLANSPONSOR, there are an average of 3,600 Department of Labor (DoL) qualified retirement plan audits per year. Annual settlements related to violations typically total more than $1.5 billion annually. This article contains some suggests that may help you avoid a DoL audit of your 401k plan.

How To Hire A 401k Investment Adviser. Employer plan sponsors often ask me which investment adviser credentials are most important to look for when hiring a 401k investment adviser. As a 401k investment adviser myself, I have observed a number of plan sponsors hiring the wrong advisers because they aren’t looking at the right investment adviser credentials and are using an incorrect set of criteria to judge who is best. In this post are some universal, common sense criteria that plan sponsors can apply when hiring a 401k investment adviser along with important investment adviser credentials to evaluate.

How To Tell If You Are Receiving Good Investment Advice. How do 401k plan sponsors know if they are receiving good investment advice? That question is more difficult to answer for plan sponsors than it is for individual investors since plan sponsors need to be more concerned about process than performance. It is not necessary for plan sponsors to offer the best performing funds in their 401k plans. Rather, they should be more concerned that the process used to select and monitor the investment options offered is compliant and sound. Check out this article to learn if you are receiving good investment advice.

Is Your 401k Loan Program State-of-the-Art? Loans are a significant source of 401k plan leakage. Compare your loan program to the best to ensure your program is state-of-the-art.

Plugging 401k Plan Leakage. Significant amounts of participant balances are leaking out of 401k plans and not being replenished, with potentially disastrous results.

Roth 401k, Pre-Tax 401k Or Both? Most retirement plan participants have the option of making regular pre-tax 401k contributions or Roth 401k after-tax contributions. Which is best?

Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts In 401k Plans – Generally A Bad Idea. Does it make sense to offer a self-directed brokerage account option in your 401k plan? In most cases, the answer is no.

Seven Signs Of A Successful 401k.  Over the 30 years that I have spent consulting with plan sponsors about their 401k retirement plans, I have noticed that the best plans have the seven attributes outlined in this article.

Should 401k Plan Sponsors Worry About The Roth Promise? Whenever I talk with 401k plan sponsors or participants about making Roth 401k contributions, at least half of them tell me they would never do it. They all cite the same reason. They don’t trust the federal government to keep its Roth 401k promise to allow tax-free distribution of Roth balances. I think they are wrong — not about trusting Uncle Sam, but about whether the government will keep its Roth 401k promise.

Should Your 401k Plan Offer ESG Investment Options? At the very least, your Investment Committee should have a discussion about the topic. This post explains why.

Socially Responsible Investing Ratings Can Boost Your 401k’s Value. Recently Morningstar, creator of the Morningstar Star Ratings for mutual funds, introduced Sustainability Ratings to gauge an investment’s adherence to SRI principles. 401k plan participants, millennials especially, have become interested in socially conscious and impact investing. A recent U.S. Trust survey found SRI factors are important to 93% of millennials when making an investment decision. Your 401k plan can have greater value to your employees if you begin sharing Morningstar’s Sustainability Ratings for your 401k investment options.

Ten Attributes Of A Retirement Ready 401k Plan. Is your 401k plan retirement ready? Take a look at this checklist to make sure.

The 10 Biggest 401k Plan Misperceptions. Distilled from a career spent counseling retirement plan sponsors and participants, this article shares the 10 biggest misperceptions I have heard about 401k retirement plans.

The Worst Investment Anyone Could Possibly Make. What is the worst investment you could possibly make? You might be surprised at the answer!

Top Ten 401k Trends For 2017. Competition for qualified employees is becoming intense. As a result, firms that you compete with for talent will be buffing up their benefits packages in 2017. Listed in this post are the changes that leading-edge employers will make to their 401k plans as a result of the most important 2017 401k trends.

Using Behavioral Finance To Help With 401k Decision-Making (PDF). Recent behavioral finance studies have shed new light on how investors cope with the challenges of making financial decisions. Study results shared by Fidelity illustrate why many 401k plan participants make such poor decisions. Learn what is keeping your participants from making better decisions and what you can do to help.

Using HSAs In Retirement Planning. If you offer a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to your employees, they probably have the ability to contribute to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). I believe that nearly everyone eligible to contribute to an HSA should max out their HSA contributions before making any 401k retirement plan contributions. Here’s why.

What To Look For In A Top 401k Investment Adviser. Most employer plan sponsors use an investment advisor to help them with their 401k plans. This is a smart decision since most advisors are able to save plan sponsors at least as much as they charge. How can you tell if you are working with a good investment advisor? This article provides some tips.

Why All 401k Sponsors Should Use BrokerCheck. Are you working with an honest investment advisor on your 401k plan? One way to find out is by using BrokerCheck — a free service provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This article outlines how you can use BrokerCheck to research the background of your investment advisor. Don’t worry, your financial advisor will not be informed about whether you used the service to check his/her background.

Why Every 401k Plan Needs An Updated IPS. Does your 401k plan have an updated Investment Policy Statement (IPS)? Although you aren’t required by law to have one, the IPS is one of the primary documents the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor request when they visit employers for plan audits. This article explains why you should have an IPS and make sure it is up-to-date.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Custom TDFs In Your 401k. Custom TDFs can be expensive and constructed based upon dubious assumptions. You may want to think twice about using them in your plan.

DoL Resources: 401k Best Practices

Reporting And Disclosure Guide For Employee Benefit Plans (PDF). Wondering whether you have met all of your required disclosure and reporting requirements? Uncertain about whether you have missed a deadline? Consider downloading this booklet from the U.S. Department of Labor, which outlines reporting and disclosure requirements for all ERISA plans. Information is presented in easy to read charts, which allow you to find answers to your questions quickly.


Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC
342 North Water Street
Suite 600
Milwaukee, WI 53130
(414) 828-401k (4015)