Facing a $3.6 billion deficit for the state's 2011-13 budget, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he knew he had to do something and didn't really like the choices. The budget shortfall was the largest the state had ever seen, and Walker says he didn't want to raise taxes, fire anybody or cut services.
Considering that state and local pension systems are staring at $4 trillion in unfunded liabilities, it's no wonder that pension reform is on the minds of legislators across the country. Workforce Management takes a state-by-state look at the mounting problems and potential solutions being considered. Read More
With the continued downward spiral of the number of defined benefit plans, employers are becoming more concerned about workers having enough money to sustain their retirement. They are looking at guaranteed defined benefit-like investment options, mostly referred to as retirement income solutions, to help employees have more secured savings to tap throughout retirement.
According to a December 2011 study by Mercer and CFO Research Services, 59 percent of 192 senior-level financial executives surveyed say their defined benefit pension plan poses at least a moderate risk to their companies' short-term financial performance. High plan liabilities coupled with a weak market are causing plan sponsors to explore new strategies for protecting assets.
As part of our 90th anniversary, Workforce Management is talking to some of the people and organizations that helped influence today's workplace. In this installment, Workforce Management contributor Patty Kujawa speaks with Ted Benna, the "father" of the 401(k). In the early 1980s, Benna, a benefits consultant saw an opportunity in the tax code that ultimately made 401(k) plans flourish. It earned him the "father" title. Benna says at the time there wasn't a strong incentive for employees to contribute. So in 1981 he asked the Internal Revenue Service to change certain rules, which led to today's 401(k)s. Benna is currently the president of the 401(k) Association and chief operating officer at Malvern Benefits Corp.Read More
Southwest Airlines took the No. 1 spot on BrightScope Inc.'s third annual year-end list of top 30 401(k) plans in 2011. Companies making the list are continuing the trends of improving participation rates, increasing employer matches and lowering total plan costs.Read More
The Employee Benefit Research Institute did a state-by-state analysis to see whether it was possible to pinpoint financially savvy states and ranked them in two categories: financial literacy and financial behavior.Read More
Nearly half of defined contribution plan sponsors either offer or plan to soon offer some type of inflation protection strategy to their participants, a Mercer study shows. Stand-alone Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS, are the most widely used option, ahead of combining multiple asset classes.Read More
Two plans to cut the federal deficit could drastically change the tax treatment of 401(k) plans. The first, called the ‘20/20 cap,’ would limit annual 401(k) contributions to $20,000 or 20 percent of salary. The second would end tax deductions for 401(k) plans and replace them with a flat-rate refundable credit.Read More
Nearly 96 percent of participants enrolled in target-date funds in 2007 were still using them in 2009. And because more target-date fund products are in the marketplace, expenses are dropping. Despite their popularity and lower prices, target-date funds have their critics.