In the wee hours of this morning, Congress passed a spending bill to end the most recent government shutdown that had just begun at midnight. Although the bill was focused on funding the government and dealt with military spending and other items, a couple of retirement-plan-related provisions managed to find their way in.
Author Archive: Adam C. Pozek
Whether we’re talking fashion or music or architecture or barber shops, it seems things that have faded from existence eventually come back around. See if this cycle looks familiar: cutting edge becomes status quo becomes so last week becomes so [insert decade] becomes retro becomes vintage.
At the end of August, I made my first trip to Burning Man, an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada. With 10 guiding principles, it involves art, music and free-spiritedness. This experiment in temporary community sees 65,000+ attendees converge on a dried-up lake bed, build a temporary city and leave behind no trace that it ever existed only a couple of short weeks later. Katie Couric, Chris Taylor and Grover Norquist describe it better than I could.
The TJX Companies, Target, and AT&T are just three of the big names to have been victims of massive data breaches in which sensitive personal and financial information was compromised. Although it might seem that large companies are the only potential victims, the risk is shared by any organization that houses or transmits such information.
If you think about it, the data necessary for ongoing administration of employee benefit plans is enough to make an identity thief’s mouth water—names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses—pretty much everything except mother’s maiden name, favorite pet and name of first grade teacher.
With the rapid evolution of technology and the sophistication of the bad guys who wish to exploit it to their advantage, it is increasingly critical that we take steps to prevent them.
When I was kid, I used to love Schoolhouse Rock during the commercial breaks of Saturday morning cartoons. Even now, I have them all on DVD as well as a CD of covers by various rock musicians, and I still sing along with all of them word-for-word!
If you’ve spent any time working with retirement plans, you know how complicated they can be. It seems like every rule has an exception and an exception to that exception. It is no wonder that accidents occasionally happen despite everyone’s best efforts to follow the rules.
Ever see the movie Men In Black? One of my favorite lines is when Tommy Lee Jones says to Will Smith, “Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat; and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.”
Back in March, Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis Borzi testified before a Senate committee, expressing concern about whether open MEPs can be treated as single plans under ERISA since there is no commonality among adopters. A recording of her testimony is here, with the MEP comments beginning around the 36th and 43rd minutes. Some commentators thought the testimony was a sign of what DOL’s official position would be, while others suggested it gave no cause for concern, because the Internal Revenue Code does not require the commonality that Asst. Sec. Borzi described.
In Part 1 of this post, I discussed some of the DOL rules that can make real estate not all it’s cracked up to be as a 401(k) investment. Here in Part 2, we will take look at some IRS wrenches that get thrown into the works.