Happy New (401k) Plan Year!

Where did the time go? It’s 2017 already – are you ready for the New Year?

Clients tell us that competition for top employee talent in the marketplace is intense. Congrats on offering a 401k Retirement Savings Plan to your team! Do you know how it “stacks-up”? Consider making a New Years Resolution to get answers to these questions:

  1. How is your performance?

Did you know the S&P 500 was up +12.0% for the calendar 2016? (Or that +5.0% of this was following the US Presidential Election on November 8…) BUT if you missed the 3 best percentage gains days in 2016, the +12.0% gain falls to +4.4%. WOW! Further, the S&P 500 has been “up” the past 8 consecutive years, 13 out of the last 14 years, and 40 of the past 50.1

  1. Do you know how much your 401k plan costs?

If not, don’t panic, you’re not alone. 401k providers can mask various plan costs. Record-keeping. Administration. Custody. Mutual fund costs + other investment expenses. Trading fees. Broker commissions or plan consultant fees. Perhaps an even more relevant question to ask is “How muchshould my plan cost?

  1. Do your employees give a hoot?

How engaged (or not) are your employees in saving for their retirement? Do they “get” how much you are contributing on their behalf in matching or profit sharing? Do they get answers to top questions, like How much should I be saving? Am I on-track? Should I use Pre-tax or Roth after-tax dollars? Remember the adage, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

  1. Do you expect to be audited?

Did you know 1 in 3 plan sponsors experienced a retirement plan audit by a government agency in the past 2 years.2(Not surprising, since the Obama administration beefed-up US Department of Labor staff.) Bottom line is BE PREPARED. Demand regular plan reviews from your advisor. Keep notes – or take Minutes. Know how much your plan costs. Remit employee deferrals timely. Have a written Investment Policy Statement – and follow it!

  1. Has your 401k advisor told you about the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule?

This sweeping reform is causing brokerage firms, insurance agencies and banks to decide how – or even “if” – they will permit their reps to continue to sell and service 401k Plans. Just recently, giants like Merrill Lynch & Edward Jones announced significantchanges to their policies. For example, Merrill says it will no longer allow its reps to be paid a commission on retirement plan accounts3. The rule is scheduled to kick-in on April 10, 20174 and will likely impact you. You deserve to know how.


—Geoff Huber, CFP®, ChFC, CLU, CKA® leads Triune’s Corporate Retirement Plans practice. His partners and clients think of him as a “401k Geek” – and he’s proud of it! Triune Financial Partners, LLC is an independent financial advisory firm serving retirement plans, family businesses, professional practices and partnerships. We are your Partner in Conversation. Learn more about 401k Benchmarking here.


  1. BTN Research; January 2, 2017.
  2. Willis, Towers, Watson; September 2016.
  3. Wall Street Journal; October 6, 2016.
  4. Fact Sheet, U.S. Department of Labor. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/fact-sheets/dol-final-rule-to-address-conflicts-of-interest.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Diversification neither assures a profit nor guarantees against loss in a declining market. Investing involves risks including potential loss of principal and fluctuating value. This content is provided for informational purposes, and it is not to be construed as tax or legal advice, nor as an offer, solicitation, recommendation or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services. Triune Financial Partners, LLC is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copyright 2017, Triune Financial Partners, LLC. We are likely to allow you to reproduce – please just ask us first. Thank you.