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401(k) Fridays Podcast

The 401(k) Fridays Podcast features a weekly conversation with an expert guest to help employers and their service partners keep up with workplace retirement plan topics and trends. Listen today, improve your retirement plan tomorrow!
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Now displaying: August, 2019
Aug 30, 2019

Should employers focus their efforts to help employees on the journey to retirement by providing true investment advice or more in the trenches financial support?  To debate the finer points and provide his in the trenches experience, I was excited to welcome back Peter Dunn, aka Pete the Planner to the podcast.  Pete has a pretty unique vantage point as he provides employers with a suite of financial wellness tools but he also has a support center for employees of his clients to speak, email or text with.  During our conversation, Pete shares some common real life questions and challenges his team gets from real life employees.  We hit on why honesty and empathy is important in financial conversations, examples of how investment advice only scratch s the financial surface for most employees, a few thoughts on where plan design fits in the conversation, a few sanity checks for me and strategies to move farther down the path towards providing holistic financial support to help improve employees financial wellbeing.  Also, don’t miss where I was actually more eloquent in describing something than Pete, defiantly a first for me. 

Before we get started, a few of the suggestions I have received to improve the podcast was to share more of my personal opinions.  This episodes definitely gets there.  If you have further ideas or suggestions to improve the podcast please shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com.  

Guest Bio

Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning comedian and an award-winning financial mind. He’s a USA TODAY columnist and the author of ten books, six of which were featured in a nationwide launch at Barnes & Nobles stores in January of 2015. He is the host of the popular radio show The Pete the Planner Show on 93 WIBC FM and is a columnist for the Indy Star. Pete has appeared regularly on CNN Headline News, Fox News, Fox Business as well as numerous nationally syndicated radio programs. In 2012, Cision named Pete the fourth most influential financial broadcaster in the nation. Pete lives in Carmel, Indiana with his wife and two young children.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 23, 2019

Wars have been started over words, and retirement outcomes for employees can also be impacted by words.  My guest today, Steve Jenks, a Senior Vice President and the Chief Marketing Officer at Empower shares his over 20 years of experience on how word choice can make a big difference to someone’s ability to retire.  Key words you find commonly in retirement plan communications like match, assets, participants, deferral percentage don’t have the meaning or impact you think it should have with your employees.  We also hit on the differences in impact of illustrations vs. words, the importance of keeping calls to action simple, how automatic plan features have changed communications, measuring results, social media strategies and much more.  Also, he had a surprising conclusion on how employees like to receive information about their retirement plans and their desire for in person meetings, don’t miss that.  

Steve also references a few white papers from studies he and his team have conducted at Empower.  You can find links to those along with his answer to a bonus question, the transcript from the episode and much more at www.401kfridays.com/words.  

Guest Bio

Steve Jenks is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Empower Retirement and Great-West Financial®.

Steve has 28 years of marketing, product and business leadership experience. He joined Empower and Great-West in 2014. Previously, Steve served as Head of Defined Contribution Product and Marketing for Putnam Investments, where he helped shape and execute growth strategies for the organization’s defined contribution, investment-only and rollover businesses. Steve began his investment industry career in 1990 with Fifth Third Bank. From there, he held leadership roles in marketing, product, finance and relationship management for Fidelity Investments from 1992 to 2009. Steve also co-founded Acceleration Retirement, a marketing analytics and outsourcing firm, and Stable Two Financial, a registered investment advisory company. He served as CEO of both companies.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree with distinction in business analysis from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He is a registered representative of GWFS Equities, Inc. and maintains FINRA Series 6, 26 and 63 securities registrations. Steve is currently on the boards of the American Red Cross, Mile High Chapter; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado; and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) Colorado.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 16, 2019

Could retirement plan loans be the next big fiduciary concern for plan sponsors?  Hard to tell, but my conversation today with Bruce Ashton, ERISA Attorney and Partner in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice at Drinker Biddle, will certainly help you understand why multiple regulators are taking a harder look at the retirement plan loans, especially defaults.  We cover a ton of ground including my opening question which is likely the first thing that would come to the minds of most employers, we delve into how loans become a fiduciary concern and much more.  I also ask Bruce the inevitable question of whether the time has come to eliminate loans in workplace retirement plans.  

Before we get started, don’t forget that we have bonus question on the website, a full transcript of the episode, a copy of the white paper Bruce authored on the loan challenges we discuss today and much more. You can find it by going to 401kfridays.com/ashton.  

Guest Bio

Bruce L. Ashton has more than 35 years of experience handling employee benefits matters. His practice concentrates on representing plan service providers (including RIAs, independent record-keepers, third-party administrators, broker-dealers and insurance companies) in fulfilling their obligations under ERISA. His experience includes representing public and private sector plans and their sponsors, negotiating the resolution of plan qualification issues under IRS remedial correction programs, advising and defending fiduciaries on their obligations and liabilities, and structuring qualified plans, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements.

Combining his employee benefits and transactional experience, Bruce is also active in the installation and funding of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

Bruce is a contributor to Drinker Biddle’s Broker-Dealer Law Blog, which provides practical insights on litigation, regulatory, compliance and fiduciary issues impacting broker-dealers. He has co-authored four books on employee benefits issues and a quarterly column in the Journal of Pension Benefits on IRS remedial programs, and is a frequent contributor to various tax and pension publications. He is a frequent speaker on employee benefits issues ranging from fiduciary responsibility to ESOPs, and is a regularly featured speaker at conferences sponsored by ASPPA, and other organizations.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 9, 2019

There are three state run retirement plans that are now live.  Despite the fact they have been in the news, there are still a lot of questions about what they are, how they work and how they impact employers and employees who already have a 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan.  To help provide some information and clear up misperceptions I am excited to have Katie Selenski, the Executive Director of CalSavers, the newly launched California state retirement plan join on the podcast.  During our conversation, Katie takes care of the basics and also shares the highlights of some research they did when preparing to launch their plan, some of which might be a bit surprising and other points could help employers with some decisions about their own retirement plans.  We also discuss the profile of the businesses that will benefit from state plans, how wage theft laws provide some protection to employees who participate in them, whether there might be a national plan at some point in the future and what’s next for state plans.  

As we did on last week’s episode, Katie answers a written bonus question, we have a full episode transcript,  how to get in touch with Katie and more on the website.  You can find that by going to www.401kfridays.com/calsavers2019.  

Guest Bio

Katie Selenski was appointed in 2017 by the California State Treasurer to serve as the first Executive Director of the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board which operates CalSavers, the state’s pioneering retirement savings program. The program will provide a path to retirement security for millions Californians who currently lack access to a retirement savings vehicle at work.

Prior to taking the helm at CalSavers, Ms. Selenski was the State Policy Director for pension policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., where she managed Pew’s efforts to help fiscally distressed states and cities undertake data-driven pension system improvements.  Previously, she was a senior manager with the nonpartisan public sector consulting firm Harvey M. Rose Associates, based in San Francisco, where she advised policymakers on a wide array of budget, management, and policy matters, including pensions. She has also worked as a municipal bond rating analyst, a legislative fellow in the California Assembly, and the director of an historic statewide nonpartisan youth voter turnout initiative. Ms. Selenski is a member of the advisory board of the Aspen Institute’s Leadership Forum on Retirement Savings. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 2, 2019

After a quick hiatus in July, we are back and excited about what we have in store! To kick things off, this episode features my conversation with Jeff Holt, CFA and Director, Multi-Asset & Alternative Strategies with Morningstar Research Services and a lead author of the annual Morningstar Target Date Landscape Report.  This is the third time Jeff has been on the podcast and his return does not disappoint.  The broader theme of our conversation was the importance of avoiding oversimplifications when evaluating target date funds.  As you will hear, this ranges from cost, glide path, the classic too vs. through distinction, mutual funds vs. CITs and many more.  With the prevalence of target date funds in workplace retirement plans, I thought this would be a great way to get things going again.  

Before we get started, a few tweaks to look forward to going forward.  First, we will provide a transcript on the 401(k) Fridays website for each episode.  Second, also on the website each guest will provide a written answer to a bonus question.  For this specific episode, we have a link to the 2019 Target Date Landscape Report we discussed today.  You can find all this and more by going to www.401kfridays.com/holt2019. If you have any other ideas to improve the podcast please share them with me via email, feedback@401kfridays.com. 

Guest Bio

Jeff Holt, CFA, is director of multi-asset and alternative strategies for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. He covers target-date funds and other multi-asset funds from various asset managers.

Before joining Morningstar in 2014, Holt spent nearly nine years at Jeffrey Slocum & Associates (since acquired by Pavilion Financial), where he was responsible for investment research to support the firm’s defined-contribution practice. He covered target-date funds, stable value funds, and other asset classes specific to defined-contribution clients.

Holt holds a bachelor’s degree in management, with a concentration in corporate finance, from Brigham Young University. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

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