Small Business 401(k) Blog

The Frugal Fiduciary Small Business 401(k) Blog

Get the latest industry news, deadlines and tips you need to know to help tackle your fiduciary responsibility needs.

Eric Droblyen

Eric Droblyen began his career as an ERISA compliance specialist with Charles Schwab in the mid-1990s. His keen grasp on 401k plan administration and compliance matters has made Eric a sought after speaker. He has delivered presentations at a number of events, including the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) Annual Conference. As President and CEO of Employee Fiduciary, Eric is responsible for all aspects of the company’s operations and service delivery.

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Plan Design | Thought Leadership | Fiduciary Responsibility

How to Simplify Your 401k Admin with a Cycle 3 Plan Restatement

By: Eric Droblyen
July 21st, 2021

As a business owner, you must operate your 401(k) plan according to the terms of a written plan document. Most plans use an IRS preapproved document for this purpose. All preapproved documents must be fully rewritten (or restated) every six years to reflect recent law changes. The last 6-year restatement cycle was called “PPA” after the Pension Protection Act. A new cycle - called "Cycle 3" - opened last year. Between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2022, all pre-approved 401(k) plans must be restated from a PPA to a Cycle 3 plan document. That means now.

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Provider Shopping | Thought Leadership | Fiduciary Responsibility

401(k) Plan Oversight - Understanding Your Fiduciary Hierarchy is Key

By: Eric Droblyen
July 7th, 2021

As a business owner, you want to understand the basic fiduciary hierarchy applicable to all 401(k) plans and the responsibilities of each role within it. This understanding can make the oversight of your 401(k) plan – basically ensuring that your fiduciary responsibilities are met – much more straightforward.

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401(k) Plan Design Checklist

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Subscribe to the The Frugal Financial Small Business 401(k) Blog and receive this free checklist for help in determing the best 401(k) plan design options and fit for your company.

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Retirement Planning | 401(k) Distributions

401(k) Rollovers - How to Evaluate Your Options

By: Eric Droblyen
June 23rd, 2021

Switching jobs and unsure what to do with your 401(k) account? If you’d like to keep growing your retirement savings on a tax-deferred basis, you can leave your account in your former employer’s plan or roll it into your new employer’s 401(k) plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Rolling your account can seem like the obvious choice, but in some cases, leaving it could grow your retirement savings faster.

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Testing | Plan Design

401(k) Earned Income – What Employers Need to Know

By: Eric Droblyen
June 9th, 2021

Owners of a partnership or sole proprietorship (or an LLC taxed as either) are considered “self-employed individuals” for 401(k) plan purposes. 401(k) plans must allocate and test the annual contributions made to self-employed individuals using a special definition of plan compensation called earned income. When applicable, earned income is calculated by the plan’s Third-Party Administrator (TPA) based on information prepared by the employer’s Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The CPA, in turn, will use the TPA's calculation to finalize the employer’s year-end tax returns. 

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Plan Design | Controlled Groups | Plan Setup

Is Your Company Part of a Controlled Group?  You Need to Know or Risk 401(k) Plan Disqualification

By: Eric Droblyen
May 26th, 2021

When two or more companies with common ownership meet the IRS’ controlled group definition, they are considered a single employer for 401(k) plan purposes. 401(k) plans must often benefit the employees of all controlled group members to pass the IRC section 410(b) “coverage” test annually. Put differently - overlooking a member can often mean a failed coverage test. Steep IRS penalties - including plan disqualification - are possible when a failure goes uncorrected for years. A basic understanding of the controlled group rules can help employers avoid this trouble.

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401(k) Fees | Provider Shopping | 401(k) Studies | Fiduciary Responsibility

How Much Lower 401k Fees Can Grow Your Retirement Savings

By: Eric Droblyen
May 12th, 2021

There are few industries where the phrase “you get what you pay for” is less applicable than the 401(k) industry. Equally competent 401(k) providers can charge dramatically different fees for comparable administration services and investments. This variability is a big problem for employers – who have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of plan participants by paying only “reasonable” 401(k) fees. Employers that fail to meet their responsibility can be personally liable for restoring participant losses due to excessive fees.

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