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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Provider Shopping | Plan Design | Plan Setup

Starting a 401k? A Short Initial Plan Year is Probably a Bad Idea

By: Eric Droblyen
April 14th, 2021

401(k) plans must define a 12-month “plan year” for annual administration purposes. Most plans choose a calendar year for administrative ease. A new plan can specify a period that’s shorter than a full 12-months for its initial plan year by choosing a mid-year effective date. However, establishing a short plan year with a mid-year effective date is often a bad idea. Most plans are better off making their effective date retroactive to the first day of the normal plan year - January 1 in the case of a calendar-based plan – to establish a 12-month initial plan year.

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Provider Shopping | Plan Design

Design a 401(k) Plan Like a Pro in 6 Steps

By: Eric Droblyen
March 31st, 2021

Small businesses can have dramatically different goals for their 401(k) plan. The process of matching business goals to available 401(k) plan options is called plan design. Expert plan design can help a business minimize contribution expenses, improve employee participation, and/or avoid nondiscrimination test failures. As a business owner, you should settle for no less than expert plan design guidance from your 401(k) provider. The entire process can take 30 minutes or less.

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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

How to Lobby Your Employer for a Better 401(k) Plan

By: Eric Droblyen
March 17th, 2021

Not all 401(k) plans are created equal. Plans with minimal administration fees and top-rated investments can deliver dramatically higher returns for participants than plans with excessive fees and underperforming investments. Over time, these higher returns can help participants retire years sooner. Given the stakes, I recommend you settle for no less when saving for retirement.

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Retirement Planning | Provider Shopping | Thought Leadership

The Benefits of a 401(k) Plan for Employers and Employees

By: Eric Droblyen
March 3rd, 2021

When a small business offers a 401(k) plan, it’s often a win-win for business owners and employees. A 401(k) plan can help businesses attract and retain talent, incentivize performance, and lower taxes, while helping employees – including the business owner – meet their retirement goals. If you're a business owner, you've probably asked yourself at some point what you and your employees stand to gain by offering a 401(k) plan. The answer is probably a lot. Here are some of the top benefits.

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401(k) Fees | Retirement Planning | Provider Shopping

Want to Retire Early? Three 401(k) Features That Can Help

By: Eric Droblyen
February 17th, 2021

To plan for retirement, 401(k) participants should set a savings goal and develop a strategy for reaching that goal. To reach their goal at the lowest out-of-pocket cost, I recommend participants follow a simple 4-step strategy – start early, contribute regularly, invest appropriately, and lower fees. However, to reach their goal as soon as possible, participants will need some help from their 401(k) plan. Here are the three 401(k) plan features that can help any saver – including you – retire years sooner.

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401(k) Fees | Plan Design | Fiduciary Responsibility

401(k) Plan Restatements - Save Fees With These Amendments

By: Eric Droblyen
February 3rd, 2021

401(k) plans must operate according to the terms of a written plan document to meet IRS qualification requirements. Most plans use an IRS “preapproved” document for this purpose. These 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 of 2006. A new cycle - called "Cycle 3" or "Post-PPA" - opened last year. From August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2022, all pre-approved 401(k) plans must be restated onto a post-PPA document.

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