2016 Pension Plan Limits Announced

UnknownThe Internal Revenue Service last week announced the 2016 cost-of-living adjustments for the dollar limitations under qualified retirement plans, 403(b) plans and 457(b) governmental plans. Most pension plan limits remain unchanged for 2016. Click here to see 2016 limits as well as the limits for the previous two calendar years.

Jamie Kertis, AIF®, QKAjamie kertis headshot
Retirement Plan Specialist
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 /Birmingham, AL 35242
Office: 205.970.9088 / Toll-Free: 866.695.5162
www.grinkmeyerleonard.com

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Who Does What? – 401k Administration Roles

firstSometimes it can feel like you are trapped in that famous Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” act (check out this link for the full transcript and a little comedic break: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/humor4.shtml) when trying to figure out who in your organization is responsible for the plan and what are the roles of the vendors that you have hired to service the plan.   Even though it can be challenging and at times a bit maddening to determine all of the players, it is a must in order to hold all parties accountable for the proper administration of the plan.

My advice is to start within your organization. First and foremost identify the individuals who are fiduciaries to the plan. A fiduciary is any individual or entity that has, or exercises discretionary control over the management of the plan or the plan’s assets. It is important to note that a plan can have more than one fiduciary and an individual can serve in more than one fiduciary capacity. An owner or Board of Directors/Trustees member is almost always a fiduciary. We will further explore the definition and role of a fiduciary in a later blog. Next, determine who within the organization is responsible for the ministerial, day-to-day operation of the plan. This person more than likely processes payroll, approves distributions, and assists with plan enrollment. While ministerial functions like these do not make this person a fiduciary, the importance of this role cannot be underestimated since the timely contribution of employee deferrals after they are withheld from the employee’s pay is one of the most audited items in plan administration.

Once you have established the basic roles and responsibilities, I would strongly urge your company to go a step further and officially name a retirement plan or benefit committee. This should be done by having your Board of Directors/Trustee select and appoint members of your organization that have some working knowledge of your benefit plans and of the general principles behind investing. In order to help guide your committee’s investment related decisions, I would also advise that you put an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) in place. If your organization has already taken these steps, bravo, if not, we certainly can help.

The final component of determining who does what is to clearly define and understand the roles of all of the providers that you have hired to help with the administration of the plan. This may include your third party administrator (TPA), recordkeeper, financial advisor, and auditor and ERISA attorney, if applicable. It should also be noted that your TPA and recordkeeper may be the same company. While you may be able to easily identify each of these providers, it may be less clear what role they each play when it comes to the operation of the plan. If it safest to never assume that someone is “doing that for me” or “is handling that”, but rather to get in writing what to expect from each.

If you need some direction in determining who is on the 401(k) playing field for your team, please give me a call at 205-970-9088 or email jamie@grinkmeyerleonard.com.

Jamie Kertis, AIF®, QKAjamie kertis headshot
Retirement Plan Specialist
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 /Birmingham, AL 35242
Office: 205.970.9088 / Toll-Free: 866.695.5162
www.grinkmeyerleonard.com

Contact Jamie

Follow Jamie on LinkedIn

Follow Jamie’s Blog

October 16th – It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for accountants

Untitled design-2People often forget that for the accounting profession, this time of year can be very chaotic. The September and October 15th deadlines create a couple of months of heightened stress.  Everyone thinks April 15th ends the long days until New Years but accountants and anyone  lives with them knows better.   October 16th marks a big sigh of relief from accountants and CPAs (and their families).

We want to offer a list of things to do after October 15th to unwind and relax.  You deserve it!

  1. Catch on up world events.  Did you know Apple released the IPhone 6s while you were buried in tax forms this fall?
  2. Go to the movies.  The newest Hunger Games sequel should be out soon.    Aren’t you glad you  are an accountant instead of an actuary.   Can you imagine how many times people say to them, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”?
  3. Dine out.  Red Lobster is offering endless shrimp for a limited time only.   Better hurry.
  4. Watch the tube.   Now would be a perfect time to watch those Presidential debates that you DVRed.  If you haven’t grinned in a while, The Donald ought to elicit some stress-relieveing laughs.    The hair alone is worth a good chuckle.
  5. Start your Christmas shopping.   Only 70 days until Christmas.  Wait, scratch that as relaxing – THERE ARE ONLY 70 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!   Perhaps you should grab a glass of wine (or 2) and start cruising Amazon to get that shopping started.
  6. Spend some time with your spouse/significant other.   In case you are unsure, it is that person that sleeps on the other side of the bed from you.
  7. Visit with friends over coffee.   You probably haven’t heard but Starbucks has their Pumpkin Spice Lattes back on the menu.
  8. Play with your kids.  Remember those cute little humans running around your house that you’ve been “shhhhhing” the last several months; they are in fact fun to play with.  And they’ve missed you.
  9. Take a vacation.  Your next couple of months should be much slower.   Vacation deals are plentiful during hurricane season.   (another benefit of your career that no one told you in college)
  10. Throw a party!  Have fun.  You deserve it.  You have worked hard, now play hard.   Enjoy time with your family and friends.   Savor every moment of the holidays with loved ones because…tax season starts up again in January.

In January, we are offering an exciting leadership education for that will be eligible for continuing education credits in Mobile that coincides with the Reese’s Senior Bowl and Mardi Gras.     Space is limited.   Email us for more information: info@grinkmeyerleonard.com

Jamie Kertis, AIF®, QKAjamie kertis headshot
Retirement Plan Specialist
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 /Birmingham, AL 35242
Office: 205.970.9088 / Toll-Free: 866.695.5162
www.grinkmeyerleonard.com

Contact Jamie

Follow Jamie on LinkedIn

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What am I doing here?

What Am I Doing Here?401kbiz

Growing up as a child, how many of you dreamed of becoming a 401(k) administrator or committee member? My guess NONE! If you’re like me, you probably didn’t even know that the position existed until you were thrust into it. Leaving you wondering to yourself, “What am I suppose to be doing with this plan and how in the world do I effectively manage it?” This blog will help you answer those basic questions and many more concerning your company’s benefit plans, specifically focusing on the 401(k).

I first developed a love for the 401(k) plan when I became a Junior Financial Advisor at Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney). It was painfully obvious to me from the get-go that I was different from the average financial advisor that worked there; I was not a good ole’ boy from the south, I did not come from money and I did not have a parent that paved the way in the business for me. It struck me that most Americans are like me – we have to work hard for every dollar that we earn and we have to rely on “me, myself and I” to make it. This is where my passion for the 401(k) plan was born. The 401(k) plan, when used effectively, represents the greatest opportunity for any average hard-working American to grow wealth in today’s world. Thus, my passion for helping the average American worker was born.

The next phase of my career found me at DailyAccess Corporation, a third party administration and recordkeeping shop in Mobile, AL. There I learned the power of 401(k) plan design. Effectively using the right plan design provisions and understanding how those provisions can impact your plan participants is paramount to effectively managing your company’s 401(k) plan. DailyAccess also taught me that the plan must be in compliance before it can be anything else. Here I learned the power of plan design and essentialness of compliance.

Today, I am honored to be a team member of an amazing company, Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial, where we strive to empower all of the clients that we have the privilege of working with through positive, meaningful interactions. My one and only focus is to work with the plan sponsor to make your job easier, more effective and more fun. As Strategic Plan Coordinator, I will partner with you to do the heavy lifting for the plan and perform oversight.  Now, I get to do what I love; partner with plan sponsors.

So to answer my question, “What am I doing here?” I would have to say, working with plan sponsors, just like you, to design, implement and maintain an effective 401(k) that serves the needs of your employee population. And hopefully through this blog and other communication, I can help you answer the question of what you are doing with your benefits plan as well.

Jamie Kertis, AIF®, QKAjamie kertis headshot
Retirement Plan Specialist
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 /Birmingham, AL 35242
Office: 205.970.9088 / Toll-Free: 866.695.5162
www.grinkmeyerleonard.com

Contact Jamie

Follow Jamie on LinkedIn

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The Truth of the Matter – {Dream Job}

truth6 401k

You may have played a game or a variation of this game at a party or maybe even in school when you were younger.   The jest is a person tells a series of facts about themselves and then it is up to the others in the group to sort out which fact is ACTUALLY true.   I think it is a refreshing way to get to know someone rather than just a list of facts.  So, every so often, I intend to post some “Truth of the Matter” posts about myself.  If you have any questions you would like to ask me, I would love to hear from you and I would certainly consider answering your question online or even giving you a call and telling you the answer.   So here it goes….

I am absolutely love my job and I cannot really picture myself doing anything else and feeling as accomplished at the end of a work day but if I had to say one career that I would probably have enjoyed at least half as much, it would be…

Which of these is the “truth of the matter?”

  1. A  high school teacher –  My husband teaches high school and I can relate completely to what he does and why he does it.
  2. A web developer  – the internet fascinates me especially the nuts and bolts of it all.
  1. A neuro-psychologist – The human brain is incredibly intriguing concept to me.

Click here to find the truth.

Jamie Kertis, AIF®, QKAjamie kertis headshot
Retirement Plan Specialist
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 /Birmingham, AL 35242
Office: 205.970.9088 / Toll-Free: 866.695.5162
www.grinkmeyerleonard.com

Contact Jamie

Follow Jamie on LinkedIn

Follow Jamie’s Blog