Auto features: If you offer auto-enrollment, auto-escalation and other features to help your employees get to a successful retirement, you become a real partner and advocate for your employees.
If you offer a match: You want to be sure ALL of your employees are contributing enough to get the full match. We do reach out to all of our 401k participants to be sure they understand that we want them to get the most from this 401k benefit. A conversation goes a long way!
Building a portfolio: Many employees feel “analysis paralysis” when putting a portfolio together. This is not their expertise and sometimes, employees will try to sort the data on peer rankings, expense ratios, performance and target date funds. This is our job. We can assess their risk and help them build a portfolio that is right for them. The owner needs to stay out of these conversations since they are not a fiduciary and do not want to give advice that they are not equipped to do.
If you have a Roth option: Many employees have a misconception around this. They think they earn too much money to contribute to the Roth 401k. There are no income limits in a Roth 401k, unlike the Roth IRA. We need to remind them that this is tax free growth and a great benefit!
Employee debt: We often ask about the debt load of the employees of each group. Sometimes they have a lot of young folks that still have student loans, or others have a heavy debt burden. We can give them advice on how to pay off their debt, and how to address other financial decisions in their life.
Education: Many times, an owner of a business feels like a “parent” to their employees. Often, an employee will go to the owner and ask financial questions, because it is the owner that pays them, and they look for financial advice from someone they respect. The owner should NOT try to answer these questions, and send them to a professional. We educate and hold workshops for all of our retirement plan participants.
As any 401k plan business owner knows, there’s the chance of audits. These are generally random, but can also result from information submitted on the Form 5500 or employee complaints. Here are the top 10 Most Common 401k Audit Failures:
1. Failure to update plan document
2. Failure to follow the terms of the plan document
3. Incorrect eligibility determination
4. Incorrect hardship withdrawal approvals
5. Incorrect application of loan provisions
6. Failure to make required contributions
7. Failure to file Form 5500
8. Uncorrected testing failures
9. Untimely or failure to send required notices
10. Failure to manage involuntary distributions