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401(k) cash out leakage blog posts
Auto portability is a new “automatic” plan feature that is rapidly gaining acceptance by large defined contribution recordkeepers serving almost 10 million participants. While the feature is relatively new, it has received a great deal of attention in the media and has also been the beneficiary of definitive regulatory guidance, promulgated by the Department of Labor (DOL). Despite this, significant misconceptions persist about auto portability. The top five misconceptions are presented here, which includes a link to a short video.
RCH's Tom Hawkins examines “second order effects” that can occur with retirement savings public policies currently that would dramatically expand access to, and participation in, defined contribution plans. While the benefits are impressive, additional undesired consequences can arise that are antithetical to the policies’ original intent, including increased cashout leakage, missing participants, uncashed checks and forgotten/stranded accounts. Understanding these highly predictable second order effects, Hawkins identifies plan-to-plan portability as a means of addressing them, while significantly boosting the overall policies’ benefits.
RCH’s newly-appointed EVP of Public Policy, Renée Wilder Guerin finds a lot to like in the 7/28/21 Senate Finance Committee hearing, where lawmakers heard testimony on how to increase retirement savings, including tackling the longstanding problems of cashout leakage, missing participants and “forgotten” retirement savings accounts. Wilder Guerin notes that auto portability was favorably mentioned twice by Aliya Robinson (SVP, Retirement & Compensation Policy for ERIC), as a policy initiative her organization – comprised of the nation’s largest plan sponsors – supports. Coming on the heels of EBRI’s 21st Annual Retirement Confidence Survey, where nearly 9 in 10 participants indicated their preference for the feature, Senate Finance Committee testimony “bodes extremely well for auto portability’s widespread adoption, as well as the enactment of public policies that further enhance it.”
Don’t Relegate Lost & Missing Accounts to the Lost & Found—Consolidate Them in the Retirement System
RCH’s President & CEO Spencer Williams, writing in the Consolidation Corner Blog, opines on draft provisions in SECURE 2.0 legislation that call for establishment of a “lost & found” – including housing sub-$1,000 balances for all terminating 401(k) participants. As proposed, Williams observes that simply moving sub-$1,000 balances to the PBGC does little to reduce cashouts or stranded savings and offers auto portability as a “far more constructive method” to reduce cashouts and to promote consolidation of retirement savings.
Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner, Tom Hawkins compares & contrasts the issue of ‘forgotten’ 401(k) accounts to its more problematic relative, 401(k) cashout leakage. In the piece, Hawkins takes the position that recent attention given forgotten accounts – via draft SECURE 2.0 legislation and the release of a drama-laden white paper – have created the mistaken impression that there’s a massive problem with forgotten 401(k) accounts, when in fact ‘forgotten’ 401(k) accounts are dwarfed by 401(k) cashout leakage, in terms of both their size and severity.
Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner, RCH EVP Tom Johnson reports on the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) 5/13/21 hearing on retirement security. With testimony from a blue-ribbon panel of witnesses, the hearing had a broad focus, but the topic of retirement savings leakage, and its most-promising solution, auto portability, were prominently featured in testimony by EBRI CEO Lori Lucas, and echoed by other witnesses and Committee members.
America’s 401(k) system, long plagued by friction, produces $92.4 billion of excessive cash-out leakage annually. In recent years and culminating in 2021, the private sector has finally “cracked the code” and is delivering innovative fintech solutions, combined with education and personal assistance to reduce friction and to enable true 401(k) portability.
Following on to the 2013 study by Boston Research Group (now Boston Research Technologies), a new study released by Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) revisits a mega plan sponsor’s ongoing experience with a program of 401(k) retirement savings portability, and finds that not only have the benefits of the original program persisted, they’ve grown, with plan participants continuing to realize significant, measurable benefits.