Retirement Benefits & Planning

What are retirement benefits?

A retirement benefit plan is an employee leave package intended to support the employee financially during retirement. Common examples include 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, profit-sharing plans, pension plans, and more.

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Types of Retirement Plans

401(k) Plan - Employees contribute a portion of their wages to individual accounts.
403(b) Plan - Offered by public schools and tax-exempt organizations. Similar to 401(k).
Profit-sharing plan - Discretionary employer contributions or a share in the profits of a company.
Pension plan - Employers contribute to a pool of funds set aside for a worker’s future benefit.
Retirement benefits and planning

Retirement Service and Plan Design

Your responsibility is to make sure your retirement plan meets the needs of your employees. We work with you to determine the appropriate plan design based on your company’s goals and objectives.

When it comes to preparing employees for retirement, the same approach doesn’t work for all companies. We work with your business, to create a custom education program that benefits your employees, relieves stress, and increases productivity.

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Compliance & Administration

Administration and compliance can create unnecessary burdens for employers. It is crucial to have accurate and timely processing to ensure that plan compliance is maintained for reduced risk. Our best in class Third Party Administration service expertise handles this for you and ensures you can focus on the growth of your business.

Let’s Get Ready To…Retire!

Transcript:

Let's Get Ready to…Retire!

Hey, are you looking forward to the gold watch, cake in the conference room, and handshakes from all your teammates, and then never having to send an alarm clock again? It takes time, discipline, and a plan. And we are here to help. 

Roger here, human capital management consultant, marketing coordinator, and podcast host for this episode of Inside Connect & Simplify, sponsored by The Benefit Companies. And today we are talking about planning for retirement. Let's be clear, we're not giving advice or counsel on investing. What we're going to talk about is our retirement team, our process, and how our retirement plan solution integrates in our human capital management platform, Connect & Simplify. Joining me today is our subject matter expert on our retirement plan team, Neil Decker. Thanks for sitting in today, Neil. 

Neil:

Hey, Roger, it's my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Roger:  

So let's start with what we offer and dig in along the way. Benetrak started over 40 years ago, and truly helps companies from concept through implementation, including consulting, administration, and record keeping, compliance testing, and employee education - and now integrating with our human capital management platform. I think we have plenty to talk about.

Neil:

I would agree with that, especially in a world filled with changing regulations and employee standards for retirement plans and being knowledgeable about them. I'm excited to dig in with you.

Roger:  

Cool, let's get started with…the start. When we're starting a new plan... You know what? I recently joined you on a meeting regarding that. A client wanted to add a 401K plan to help attract and retain employees. Talk about how that came about, and how they settled on the options and design of the plan.

Neil: 

Yeah, that was a really great experience and love having you out there with me. This business is one that experience a lot of turnover…food industry business. And it's tough to find health out there for anyone, but especially in that industry, we're seeing a lot of pain points around trying to attract and maintain employees. And they wanted not only to reward those who have been with them over the years - for example, they had a cook that's been with him for eight years, and that's just not something you see every day - but also attracting new people who will stick around, not just for a summer, but in years to come as they grow. So it's a really great starting point to go in and educate the person running this to show them what this can do not only for their current employees, but how it's going to bring new people in. And it really comes down to the employee relation with their employer. You know, employees want someone that's going to care about their future, not just what they can do for the company today, and a retirement plan is a fantastic place to start for that. And it was really apparent that the person starting this plan for his employees had that mindset. He wanted to give back to them and make sure that, not only the business was successful, but those who are spending their time to help the business run, were also going to be successful in their life.

Roger:

So, it was a great meeting. Let's talk a little bit about how he kind of settled on the options, or the overall design of the plan. I mean, it's a startup, so we're starting from scratch, but just give an overview of how that went.

Neil:  

Yeah. So what we really like to do for any plan, especially startups, is understand what they want the plan to do for their employees. For example, this plan, they wanted to include people who would stick around and not just come for three months. So we set it up so that if you're there at the company for four months, you're eligible to get into the plan. He also wanted to have options to reward people who stick around for more than that four months, and have a discretionary employer match. So if you're an employee that's been there for a year, you know, and the company is doing well, they will also start contributing to the plan with you. This makes it attractive to people to come in and to stick around. And that was the main focus he had was to reward people who are going to be loyal to that company.

Roger: 

And again, as you mentioned, they're in the food service industry. I happen to have a personal relationship with a couple of folks that work there. It's pretty cool to see how they've done over these last two years, when a lot of food service companies didn't do so well. And now they're on the other side of that and continue to grow. It's gonna be cool to see how this continues to take off. So then give an outline of just how long it took to start that conversation to actually getting the plan live. I mean, what, how long of a timespan are we talking about?

Neil: 

According to the person we went out there to meet, his employees have been begging him for a 401k plan for a long time. So I can't speak on that, but from the moment that he reached out to us saying, ‘hey, I need help, please help me set this up for my employees,’ It takes about 8-12 weeks from saying that to being able to have somebody put money towards their retirement. And that comes down to conversations about designing the plan, because it is a living thing, it is something that will evolve with your business as your business grows, as you get more employees, and as you decide the direction of where you want to go. So we really like to design it in a way that can morph with your business's growth. So that takes time to fill out to make sure we're on the same page, and then we reach out to our partners at Voya to make sure we're setting up the investment options that are going to be the best fit for, not only you and your company, but your employees and their futures. And that takes some time to setup as well. So after all is said and done, we get the investments in line, we get all the paperwork signed and in, we sign that dotted line, we're looking at the short end, eight weeks, the long end, if there's some communication issues and need some catching up to do, someone takes a vacation in there, and we need them to sign the line, it all can take up to 12 weeks. But all that time is dedicated to making sure that, out of the box, this plan is going to be what your company wants, and what your company needs and a retirement plan.

Roger:   

So contrast that, then, to taking over an existing retirement plan that's already in place. But they now want us to be their partner. How does that work? 

Neil:   

Yeah, it's a very similar process to a new plan. The only big difference on the front end is reaching out to their current providers and getting the data that of how their plan currently runs. And making sure we change the things that they want to change in their plan. This involves eligibility who they want in, a match, or just anything. So it's really a great 10,000 foot look at their plan, and the great opportunity for education for them. And we can go over everything that's involved, and make sure they understand what the change is going to do, not only for their business, but for them and their employees. And the timeline is relatively the same. It might be a few more weeks on the front. But overall, it's that 8-12 weeks to be safe to get all of the paperwork in and get everything lined up so that it's good to go when you open that box.

Roger:   

Okay, does it matter what time of the year you make that conversion over to being the new vendor?

Neil:   

It really doesn't matter. It comes down to when you have the time. And honestly the best time to do it  is today, as soon as you can. 

Roger: 

That makes sense. All right. So now that we're in charge, we're the vendor, administration and record keeping of those retirement plans is our responsibility, which of course frees up the client to do other stuff and focus on business. Describe how our team takes care of the admin and the record keeping.

Neil:  

Oh, it's fantastic. Honestly, we have a great team looking out for you. When you call in, you're not having to press 1 or 5, you get a real person right away. And what we do is we look over your contributions, we make sure that we're on your website to check if things are going in, we make sure that your loans, if you offer them, are getting repaid, and are on time, and on track. And we also watch out for distributions, to make sure that everything going on in your plan is completely transparent to you who's running the business.

Roger:   

And then let's not forget about compliance testing. Now I have a little experience of that in my past. Talk about what our Benetrak team does to monitor that during the year and then, of course, the complete testing at year end to make sure that we're meeting all the rules and not screwing anything up that’s set in the guidelines. Talk about that. 

Neil:   

Oh yeah, compliance is a word that people far and few between like to hear. And it's great that we have such an incredible expert on our side when it comes to looking after your plan, when it comes to compliance. What we do is if we are running your payroll as well, which this is all about connecting and simplifying your life and your business, what we can do when we are in charge of payroll and your employee retirement plan, is we can do a preliminary test halfway through the year to make sure that your plan at that point is set up to be compliant come year end, when the testing happens. This makes sure there's no surprises, it makes sure we're ahead of the game, and it gives you time to prepare if there's something on your end, or lets you breathe a sigh of relief halfway through the year, so you know you're good to go, and you can get back to running your business instead of staying up at night thinking about how the 401K is working.

Roger:    

And not to get too much into the weeds, but really, that's solving the problem if somebody's contributing too much, and we don't want refunds, and we don't want to deal with too much money in a plan. So that's really what we're solving for.

Neil:   

Correct. We are running it to make sure that no money will be bounced back. Or if there does have to be a bounce back, how much, and when it'll need to happen by. And it really just comes back to being transparent with you on how this 401K is working for your business.

Roger: 

So then there's one more piece that we really excel at, and we do for all of our clients, and that's the education piece. So when we work with a company, we create a custom education schedule, however you want to describe it, for their employees. They tell us what they need, and we work with them. Talk about how we educate.

Neil:  

Yeah, education is such a huge part of retirement planning. Most people in the United States, and even the world, don't really understand how even $30 every two weeks can add up. If you start saving $30 a pay period, let's say you're paid every two weeks, when you're in your 30s, that's an extra $100,000 in your pocket when you retire. And really driving that home when we're talking with people about setting up retirement plans is huge, and it's great to see when people get really involved in that, because we're showing them what their future can be like if they just start saving now. And it's not just that, it's giving them the confidence that they're going to be able to retire and not have to work until they're 80. Someday they’ll be able to trade in their steel toed boots for flip flops. It's a great way to get people actively involved in planning. And it's a great way to get them talking about a 401K, or retirement, even to family or friends because people like being confident in their life. And if we can educate them enough to be confident in retirement, it'll let more people see how successful they can be, and get more people to save. And that's really what it's all about, is making people realize that they have the power to honestly stop working when they want to.

Roger: 

Nice. So we've talked about how we take care of people. But let's take a minute and just talk about what's bothering employers right now as far as their current vendor. What are their vendors not giving them that they're looking for? 

Neil: 

The biggest issue and conflict we run into is service. Over and over, I hear ‘I have this issue, I just don't have the time to wait on hold,’ and that is so powerful. I come from a background of having first hand experience with call centers. And it is not a fun experience when you're trying to run a successful business to sit on hold for even 30 minutes, when you have so much else you need to do. And that's really where we separate ourselves. I mean, it's just no one wants to hear that, dare I say, bad music, during their day when they could actually be being productive and get something done. And that's really just what drives home what we do here is we really add a personal touch. And we take that pain point away and are just taking more stress off your plate.

Roger:   

I can appreciate that because I am currently on a chat hold right now as we're recording, you know, they'll probably still be there when I get back. Sadly. When we talk about all the things that we offer here at The Benefit Companies, we talk about our human capital management platform, which is Connect & Simplify, where we can integrate our retirement plan with our payroll and human resources, and employee benefits. What do you think are some of the opportunities an employer should consider when they're thinking of getting a human capital management platform to help integrate the retirement plan with the other admin functions they have?

Neil:  

I would honestly ask them how valuable even an extra hour would be to their week. Because that's what it comes down to. In this world of everything at your fingertips at a click of a button, we want things done now. We want it done fast, and we want it done right. And we can see a side by side of everything that our business is doing when it comes to human capital management, your retirement plan, your payroll, why wouldn't you want to see that? Why wouldn't you want to save an hour instead of getting all the papers together on your desk and a breeze rolls by and it's an extra 30 minutes trying to pick them up again. Having these at your fingertips, even on your mobile phone and being able to check in and make sure that contributions are on time, that Joe Dirt has paid back his loan on time, and that your plan can still be running, and still be a tax deferred safe haven for you and all your employees hard earned money. I mean, it's a no brainer.

Roger:

I'm not going to argue with that. I mean, I agree. I've long said that, as far as I'm aware, at least, we're the only human capital management platform that can integrate human resources, time labor management, payroll, a lot of them do that, but we can also do retirement plans, and employee benefit plans. We can do it all in one single sign on, cloud based system, and I'm not aware again of any other company that can do that. So shout out to UKG, our tech partner, on that. Many vendors in the human capital management space can integrate some, but nobody does it like we do all in-house. In your opinion, how's that make us an optimal solution for companies looking at HCM?

Neil:  

Yeah, it circles back to service. A lot of these big companies that offer multiple, you call one department, you're on hold as they transfer you to the next department, because your call had one technicality in it that didn't make it a payroll call, but made it an HR call. And it's just taking time away from you, taking time away from your business, and taking time away from your life that you could be spending on going on vacation, or rock climbing, or putting in some extra hours in the office, if you really wanted to. But no one does it like we do. We're real people. We're local. We understand the pain of having to deal with these things, because we're real people, we've lived it. We're not just a recorded computer voice telling you to press 2. We’ll go out, we'll find that answer for you. And with everything in one spot, including our teams working so close knit together in the office, it's easier on you, and, honestly, easier on your business.

Roger:  

Alright, so I said at the beginning, we're not going to give any investment advice. We haven't done that yet. But if I was to ask you, what advice would you give to an employer looking to start a retirement plan for his company? So he doesn't have one. Now he thinks it's time. What's your best advice?

Neil:  

It's never too late to start one, and the sooner the better. Honestly, that is just tried and true. If you look at the power of compounding interest, you can really change people's lives over the course of even 10 years. And it's never too late to start. And you shouldn't be ashamed if you haven't started yet, because there is still time.

Roger:

All right, so let's put that and say, okay, the employer has a plan, but maybe he's looking to upgrade or is just seeing if there's a better vendor out there. Why? Well, what would you say to that employer who may be out shopping around?

Neil:   

Yeah, that is a fantastic point to make, because so many of us have this familiarity bias with what we know. And it's hard for us to break away from that. But if what you know is call centers and bad hold music for hours on end, when your payroll company that isn't attached to your 401K company misses a contribution, then it's time to start looking for a change. It's just easier on everyone involved when the people who are taking care of your 401K care. And that's why we partnered with Voya. They've been rated in the top 5 retirement plan companies for the last 10+ years. I mean, that's over half my life. And I'm honestly, with all the work I've done with them, incredibly happy with how involved they've been. Because they are actually looking out for how it's going to work for the business, and not just ‘oh, we have assets coming in, great, sign them up.’ They want this to run for you. And that's also why they partner with Morningstar. Morningstar is the industry standard when it comes to investment choices, when it comes to monitoring those and making sure that everything available to you and your employees inside your retirement plan is going to be the best option for your situation. It's not cookie cutter. It's not the same houses side by side. It's unique to you. And why wouldn't you want someone that cares looking after your 401K?

Roger:  

Seems to me this might be the first time that we've name dropped as much as we have in this particular episode. In all the other ones combined, I don't know if I've said UKG, Morningstar, and Voya all at one time and they're all big hitters and everybody knows who they are. Which is kind of cool, we work with all these great vendors, great companies. All right, so let's take one minute and shout out to the team you’re on. So Benetrak team. What do they give that our competition just can't measure up to? I think you've already said service. But talk about the team.

Neil:

Yeah, the team is fantastic. Every day, we have conversations with each other about our current plans, about who we are servicing, and about what's going on in their lives, and how we can work to make sure that, when that payroll comes around that's going to do a contribution, it's going to run smoothly, and you won't even know what happened, because that's how smooth it's running. I mean, they put in so much time and care. It's incredible. And we're on first name basises with everyone who is working on the plan from the companies that we run with. They know us. It's not just a business relationship. We’re the shepherd. We're watching after that company's future for them, and it's just a great feeling, and you can feel the passion when you talk to them about it. Because they'll drop what they're doing, if there's an error, and make sure that it gets done. Even if they're eating lunch, they'll sign onto their computer, they'll make sure that your company is running at peak performance, even if it's just the 401K part of it. They want to make sure that there's no more stress that you have to handle except for running your business.

Roger: 

All right, well, we've touched on a ton of stuff, and I'm not gonna argue with anything you said, because I agree. But is there anything else we didn't cover you want to make sure we talked about?

Neil:

I think this was a great starting point, and if people have questions, we are more than happy for them to reach out where we can elaborate even more on what we can do for them and their business.

Roger: 

And so we'll share that information in just a second. Thanks again for being here today, Neil. Appreciate you being here.

Neil: 

Hey, thank you, Roger. I really hope this helps people out. And again, if they have questions, you'll tell them where to go.

Roger:  

We'll do that right now. For more information about retirement plans, go to connectandsimplify.com and then to the “Retirement Plans” tab, or call Neil at 262-207-1999, extension 165. And remember that integrating processes does not end with payroll and time and attendance. We can also integrate benefits, human resources, and retirement plans in one platform. And we are the only vendor that can integrate them all in our own house. Think of the time, energy, money, and frustration that can be saved by eliminating all the redundant steps. It's what Connect & Simplify does. Thanks for listening today. Be well.