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Our Top 10 401k Blogs of 2016: What Topics Were the Most Popular?

Posted by Eric Droblyen on Dec 28, 2016

Our Top 10 401k Blogs of 2016: What Topics Were the Most Popular?

Happy Holidays from the Frugal Fiduciary! As 2016 comes to a close, we looked back through this year’s blogs to find the most read.  It turns out our most popular blogs related to the following topics:

  • Plan design – Explanations of common retirement plan options and their rate of use by small businesses.
  • Plan administration – How to easily meet 401k fiduciary responsibilities and avoid common pitfalls
  • Providers fees – How much 401k providers are charging and instructions for calculating 401k fees.

So, in case you missed them the first time, or just want a refresher, here are our top 10 most read blogs of 2016.

  1. Safe Harbor 401k Plans: Answers To Common Questions - Safe harbor 401k plans are the most popular type of 401k used by small businesses today. They automatically pass annual ADP/ACP and top heavy when certain contribution requirements are met. For many employers, that trade-off is well worth the cost
  2. Is Your Company Part of a Controlled Group?  You Need to Know or Risk 401k Plan Disqualification - Under IRS controlled group rules, two or more employers with common ownership are considered a single employer for purposes of 401k nondiscrimination testing. Controlled group problems are easily avoided when these rules are understood.
  3. 401k Plan Design Study: What 2,767 Small Business 401k Plans Are Doing - The process of matching a company’s 401k goals to available options is called 401k plan design. 401k fiduciaries should understand this process because it can save their company thousands of employer contribution dollars annually.
  4. Managing 401k Deadlines for the 2016 Plan Year – A Checklist Can Help - A myriad of tasks must be completed each year to keep a 401k plan in compliance with ERISA. When considered together, these tasks can easily seem overwhelming. When they are unpacked, however, it’s clear they are manageable.
  5. 401k Eligibility: When to Let Employees Join Your 401k Plan - Who 401k fiduciaries let into their plan can have a dramatic effect on the plan’s cost, ease of administration, and perceived value to existing or prospective employees.  401k fiduciaries should understand their eligibility options to best match them to company 401k plan goals.
  6. Understanding a 401k Plan’s Fiduciary Hierarchy Can Make It Easier for Employers To Meet Fiduciary Responsibilities – Meeting 401k fiduciary responsibilities is easier when an employer knows the parties responsible for the day-to-day administration of their 401k plan.
  7. Small Business Retirement Plan Options: 401ks vs. SIMPLE and SEP IRAs - 401ks are not the only retirement plan option for small businesses - IRA-based alternatives exist. These alternatives should be considered when a business does not need the key virtues of a 401k plan – high contribution limits and design flexibility – but wants to help employees save for retirement.
  8. John Oliver Should Be Upset; His Hancock 401k Fees Are Too High! - John Oliver lambasted the 401k industry and his own 401k plan with John Hancock on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. It’s tough to get to the bottom of John Hancock 401k fees.  To do so, you need to understand their service delivery model and sources of compensation.
  9. 401k Document Retention Rules Made Simple - In general, 401k plan records must be kept for a period of not less than six years after the filing date of the IRS Form 5500 created from those records. To organize this information, I recommend using three files – a file to store documents that govern plan operation (a “Plan Document File”), a file for participant records (a “Participant File”), and a file for plan year information (a “Plan Year File”).
  10. (Possibly) The Biggest Small Business 401k Fee Study Ever! -  Meaningful 401k fee data is hard to come by – and that’s a big problem for small businesses with a fiduciary responsibility to keep 401k fees reasonable for plan participants. In 2016, we completed a fee study, summarizing the fees for 121 401k plans with less than $2M in assets.

Want to know our top 10 blogs of 2015?  You can check them out here.

Have a Joyous New Year. We’ll see you in 2017!

Download the 2017 Annual Compliance Review checklist for your 401k plan.

Written by: Eric Droblyen

Eric Droblyen began his career as an ERISA compliance specialist with Charles Schwab in the mid-1990s. His keen grasp on 401k plan administration and compliance matters has made Eric a sought after speaker. He has delivered presentations at a number of events, including the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) Annual Conference. As President and CEO of Employee Fiduciary, Eric is responsible for all aspects of the company’s operations and service delivery.

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