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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The most expensive thing you’ll probably buy during your lifetime is retirement. Perhaps you’ve never thought of “buying” retirement, but that’s exactly what you do when you participate in a 401(k) plan – you’re saving now to buy retirement income later. When you consider that income may need to last 10, 20, even 30 years, it’s easy to understand why retirement is not cheap. However, by following a simple 3-step plan during your working years - save early and often, invest appropriately, minimize account fees - you can reduce the out-of-pocket cost of your retirement by a lot.
Tens of thousands of dollars are on the line. This might sound a bit sensational, but when it comes to choosing the right type of 401(k) plan, this is true a lot more often than many small business owners realize.
401(k) or SIMPLE IRA? Whether you’re just looking to confirm a choice or haven’t even begun to make one, you know this is an important decision. The kind of plan you pick could have an enormous impact on the finances of everyone involved in your business.