Auto Portability - Media Coverage
As a key retirement savings public policy initiative, auto portability is receiving a lot of media attention. Find out who is saying what about auto portability.
RCH Founder, President and CEO Spencer Williams speaks with Rick Unser of 401(k) Fridays, taking on the old problem of missing participants, as well as auto portability, the new solution that may help keep participant information current, prevent cashout leakage and consolidate participants' retirement savings within the 401(k) system.
In his August 2018 article in 401k Specialist, RCH's Tom Hawkins reveals new research predicting 401(k) participant outcomes following separation for two balance segments – those above & below $15,000. Using logic developed in the Auto Portability Simulation to track & tally participant outcomes 8 years following separation, the results reveal a startling contrast between the two segments – with participants in the over-$15,000 segment experiencing far-superior outcomes to those in the under-$15,000 segment. To address the disparities, Hawkins advocates for a new “automatic” in the form of auto portability.
401k Specialist features a July 2018 article by RCH's Tom Hawkins, addressing recent public policy activities on the issue of retirement savings portability. In his article, Hawkins examines three developments, all taking place in late June, and looks ahead to the anticipated delivery of an Advisory Opinion by the Department of Labor on auto portability.
At a May 22nd, 2018 Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) roundtable, RCH EVP Tom Johnson debuts new women's 401(k) cashout leakage statistics. This important new data highlights the challenges that women face in preserving their small-balance 401(k) retirement savings when changing jobs, and also points to the promise of auto portability to preserve these savings in order to achieve higher balance levels, where more virtuous behaviors can prevail.
In his 4/02/18 article for 401k Specialist, Tom Hawkins asks plan sponsors to consider where they stand on encouraging rollovers into their 401(k) plan ("roll-ins") from new participants. Presenting the historical progression of roll-ins from 2012 to present, Hawkins then describes 3 levels of roll-in support that plan sponsors can offer. The most effective, says Hawkins, is Level 3, where plan sponsors adopt a facilitated roll-in service, which makes the process worry- and hassle-free for participants.
In his March 14, 2018 article in 401k Specialist, Editor John Sullivan covers the new, joint survey conducted by Boston Research Technologies (BRT) and RCH on the problem of missing participants. The article quotes RCH Founder, President and CEO Spencer Williams and Sullivan notes that the findings are "another arrow in the quiver for 401k auto portability."
In his latest article in 401k Specialist, RCH's Tom Hawkins makes the case for creating a 'sustainable' 401(k) defined contribution system. According to Hawkins, the current 401(k) system is unsustainable due to 1) rampant cashout leakage, 2) an explosion of small-balance accounts and 3) a surge in missing participants. Auto portability, says Hawkins, can address these problems and bring sustainability to our defined contribution system.
With "Rothification" in the rear-view mirror in 2017, retirement savings policymakers have begun turning their attention to other, more-promising initiatives in 2018 -- namely, auto portability and missing participants.
Great all by itself, auto portability also makes other retirement savings public policy initiatives a lot better.
New research shows that the number of active, small-balance 401(k) accounts is growing, creating problems for plan sponsors and participants.
401k Specialist introduces Retirement Clearinghouse's National Retirement Savings Cash Out Clock, which depicts 2017 401(k) cash out leakage in real time.
In his 4/6/17 article in 401kSpecialist, John Sullivan highlights the latest EBRI research that places the value of Auto Portability to 401(k) participants at $2 trillion.
In a March 2017 article in 401kSpecialist Magazine, RCH EVP Neal Ringquist contends that Auto Portability has begun to emerge as a "stealth" solution for the serious problem of 401(k) cashout leakage.
In his 2/28/17 article in 401kSpecialist, RCH's Tom Hawkins addresses the big changes ahead for small 401(k) accounts, driven by Auto Portability.
In 401KSpecialist Magazine, Neal Ringquist takes a hard look at a legislative recommendation to increase the limit for automatic rollovers to $10,000.
In his 1/24/17 article in 401KSpecialist, RCH's Tom Hawkins summarizes the issue of 'friction' in our 401(k) system, focusing on the recent, joint EBRI-RCH testimony before the ERISA Advisory Council by Tom Johnson and Craig Copeland.
RCH's Tom Hawkins addresses how Auto Portability will help increase minority 401(k) participation by increasing auto enrollment.
Tom Hawkins shares with 401k Specialist Magazine, "Why the industry is losing steam?"
Does 401(k) Auto Portability really work? The answer -- according to RCH's Spencer Williams and Neal Ringquist -- is an emphatic "yes." In their joint article in 401KSpecialist, Williams and Ringquist point to the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) model to support their claims.
RCH in 401K Specialist Magazine: Why Small Balance 401k Distributions Are Falling Through The Cracks
Cash-outs are at epidemic levels; Why are small 401(k)s getting swallowed?
Closely examining the year-by-year results, we noticed something odd; Does 401(k) auto-portability really pay off?
The problem is particularly acute for small-balance 401(k) accounts; Leakage can make a 401(k) go splat.
What happens when participants change jobs? The next big 401(k) issue to hit Washington lawmakers could be auto-portability.
401kTV's Robyn Kurdek examines Boston Research Technologies' research on the initial launch of auto portability.
401kTV's Tim Kelly explores Auto Portability, and makes a strong case that it's important to every plan sponsor, due to America's mobile workforce and adverse outcomes at job change. Kelly quotes Spencer Williams and also embeds video from the recent forum in Washington, DC: "Retirement Plan Portability & Public Policy: Unlocking the potential in portability."
On 11/7/16, 401KTV.com featured the RCH video "What Plan Sponsors Can Do to Plug 401(k) Leakage."
401kTV features the educational video "Five Common Misconceptions About 401(k) Leakage, designed to present plan sponsors with the fact and common misconceptions that surround the topic of leakage from the 401(k) system.
In her 3/21/18 article, 401KWire’s Bridget Doyle extensively quotes RCH’s CEO Spencer Williams on the 401(k) industry’s missing participant problem. As Williams explains, there was little or no existing research on the problem, which spurred his decision to conduct a survey and to “do it from the plan participant’s perspective.” The new study, The Mobile Workforce's Missing Participant Problem, was released this month, and revealed that the problem is “very dynamic and growing” according to Williams. As Williams notes, new solutions are likely to emerge, best practices are hard to define -- but account consolidation will play a critical role.
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401kWire's Cat Felle reports on the recently-released white paper by Boston Research Technologies.
401kWire's Chelsea Tyson reports on RCH's completion of the "first fully automated, end-to-end transfer of retirement savings from a safe harbor IRA into a participant's active account."
401kWire's Chelsea Tyson reports that Retirement Clearinghouse has recently launched its National Retirement Savings Cash Out Clock.
On 8/8/18, ASSPA Net's John Iekel reviews the 7/26/18 article in BenefitsPRO by RCH's Tom Hawkins, which draws a comparison between 401(k) missing participants and cashouts. In making the argument that 401(k) cashouts could be "orders-of-magnitude worse" than missing participants, Iekel summarizes Hawkins' logic, including: 1) missing participants have preserved their savings, 2) participants cashing out are far more numerous than those going missing and 3) almost two-thirds of cashouts are unnecessary. Hawkins' answer to address both problems, says Iekel, is the "introduction of auto-portability."
In his 4/13/18 article, ASPPA Net's Ted Godbout examines key findings from the March 2018 RCH / Boston Research Technologies survey "The Mobile Workforce's Missing Participant Problem". Godbout covers the key highlights from the study, including the "remarkable" finding that 1/3 of the respondents had learned about accounts that they didn't realize they had, as well as the high percentage of respondents (60%) who would prefer an automated solution to update their address or consolidate their balances.
In his latest article in BenefitsPRO, RCH EVP Spencer Pringle offers job-changing 401(k) participants important tips on how to avoid becoming a 401(k) DIY “horror story.” Pringle examines three DIY scenarios for participants to avoid, including cashing out, stranding a 401(k) balance at a previous employer and finally, attempting a DIY roll-in. Auto portability, education and assistance, says Pringle, are keys to overcoming the traps.
In his 7/26/18 article in BenefitsPRO, RCH's Tom Hawkins addresses the dual problems of missing participants and 401(k) cashouts, which both share common causes – a mobile American workforce and a lack of retirement savings portability. While missing participants are bad and have been receiving a great deal of attention, the issue of 401(k) cashouts is actually much worse, as annual cashouts outpace new missing participant accounts by a factor of almost 25-to-1. Fortunately, retirement savings portability, in the form of auto portability, delivers a “two-fer” by providing a strategic solution to both.
Plan sponsors know that an explosion of small-balance 401(k) accounts held by terminated participants can create problems, but few sponsors are clear on the underlying causes, and fewer still understand how they can utilize consolidation programs to solve the problem. In his 6/6/18 article in BenefitsPRO, RCH’s Tom Hawkins offers plan sponsors a framework to understand and address the small account problem, applying proven solutions that promote account consolidation.
In his article in BenefitsPro, RCH’s Tom Hawkins draws attention to the modern-day waste that occurs when 401(k) participants change jobs and prematurely cash out their retirement savings. Similar to America’s post-World War II “throwaway” culture which gave rise to modern recycling initiatives, Hawkins argues that the solution to 401(k) cashout leakage is auto portability, and predicts that it will catch on as key stakeholders acknowledge the severity of the problem, accept responsibility for solving it and act collaboratively to hasten auto portability’s widespread adoption.
BenefitsPRO's Marlene Satter adds her voice to the retirement industry media covering the ground-breaking Missing Participant Survey (link) by Boston Research Technologies and Retirement Clearinghouse. Satter cites key findings from the survey and quotes executives Warren Cormier and Spencer Williams.
In a 7/5/17 article in BenefitsPRO, RCH's Tom Hawkins makes the case that 401(k) cashout leakage should be plugged, prior to expanding access to workplace retirement savings accounts.
The African-American community faces a retirement crisis. Auto portability may be able to help resolve the crisis by helping to prevent cashouts and move retirement savings balances forward.
In his 2/6/17 article in BenefitsPRO, RCH EVP Neal Ringquist makes the case for Auto Portability. Ringquist likens Auto Portability to a "small step in the right direction" for 401(k) plans, yet one that produces a highly-positive impact on retirement readiness.
In his 11/30/16 article in BenefitsPro, RCH's Tom Hawkins makes the case that reducing cashout leakage is one of America's most-beneficial infrastructure projects, saving trillions while costing taxpayers nothing.
Neal Ringquist and Tom Hawkins discuss how we can save retirement itself for National Save for Retirement Week via BenefitsPRO.
Marlene Y. Satter addresses retirement plan leakage, topping the agenda at the 78th EBRI Policy Forum in May.
Marlene Y. Satter, in her 8/11/16 article in BenefitsPro, takes a deeper look into the study from Boston Research Technologies and RCH.
BenefitsPro's Nick Thornton interviews RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams as RCH unveils the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) model at EBRI's annual Policy Forum.
Spencer Williams provides BenefitsPro's Nick Thornton with his reaction to President Obama's call for retirement plan portability.
BenefitsPro's Nick Thonrton quotes RCH's CEO Spencer Williams on the problem of plan leakage through cash outs.
Bloomberg BNA's Sean Forbes covers the unveiling of the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) model at the 78th EBRI Policy Forum, and likes what he sees.
RCH's Tom Hawkins reveals new research that predicts 401(k) participant outcomes following separation for two balance segments – those above & below $15,000. Using logic developed in the Auto Portability Simulation to track & tally participant outcomes 8 years following separation, the results reveal a startling contrast between the two segments – with participants in the over-$15,000 segment experiencing far-superior outcomes to those in the under-$15,000 segment. To address the disparities, Hawkins advocates for a new “automatic” in the form of auto portability.
In November, we will celebrate an important milestone in the history of the 401(k)—the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Revenue Act of 1978, which added Section 401(k) to the Internal Revenue Code. Section 401(k) allowed employees to defer compensation without being taxed, and gradually popularized the concept of the employer-sponsored defined contribution plan.
It may surprise many to learn that there’s another problem that’s orders-of-magnitude worse, which silently devastates millions of Americans’ prospects for a timely or comfortable retirement every year. I’m referring to 401(k) cashouts, and it’s time we took serious action to address them head-on.
The most important portability development on the horizon is the DOL’s auto portability Advisory Opinion, which will provide guidance for plan sponsors on the automatic roll-in of small account balances previously forced-out into safe harbor IRAs.
Auto portability has become a leading retirement savings public policy initiative due to its proven ability to preserve small-balance defined contribution accounts. Now, research is indicating that, when it comes to women, auto portability could deliver even greater benefits by making it easier for women participants to preserve their 401(k) savings and help to put them on par with men to achieve financial wellness.
Plan sponsors intuitively know that a proliferation of small-balance 401(k) accounts can create problems. But few sponsors are clear on the factors that give rise to small accounts, and fewer still understand how they can utilize portability programs to solve the problem.
At a May 22nd, 2018 Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) roundtable, Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) EVP Tom Johnson debuts new women's 401(k) cashout leakage statistics. This important new data highlights the challenges that women face in preserving their small-balance 401(k) retirement savings when changing jobs, and also points to the promise of auto portability to preserve these savings in order to achieve higher balance levels, where more virtuous behaviors can prevail.
As we continue to make our way through the second quarter of 2018, now is a good time to reflect on defined contribution (DC) plan sponsor priorities for this year.
Over the past six years, there has been a steady drumbeat pointing the way to increased portability and in-plan consolidation (roll-ins) as the next big strategic focus for 401k plans.
Just as no man is an island, no employer-sponsored retirement plan is an island. New hires who join a plan all come from other companies, where they were likely enrolled in their former-employer 401(k) plans. Similarly, participants who leave a plan when they change employers have accrued 401(k) savings that they will likely want to take with them.
Today, Boston Research Technologies (BRT) and Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) issued a joint press release announcing the key findings from a survey examining the retirement industry’s missing participant problem. The survey, The Mobile Workforce’s Missing Participant Problem, is the first to examine the problem from the perspective of the participant and offers unique insights into its various dimensions.
The problem of missing participants has taken on a new sense of urgency in light of widespread reports that the Department of Labor is focusing heavily on missing participants when auditing plan sponsors and record-keepers.
America’s defined contribution system is unsustainable – urgently requiring an upgrade to effectively deliver on its intended goal – helping millions of Americans enjoy a timely and comfortable retirement.
Two retirement savings public policy initiatives – auto portability and the problem of missing participants – are very likely to see significant progress in 2018. Both initiatives enjoy strong bipartisan support, promise to streamline and strengthen America’s defined contribution system, and will preserve the retirement savings of millions of Americans by ensuring that their savings move forward when they change jobs.
RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams offers plan sponsors 3 crucial resolutions for 2018, including: 1) ending automatic cash-outs, 2) offering roll-ins as part of a financial wellness program, and 3) engaging all participants on crucial decision-making.
RCH President & CEO addresses a blueprint for improving retirement security, incorporating the widespread adoption of auto portability.
On 11/7/17, Warren Cormier of Boston Research Technologies published a white paper “Making the Right Choice the Easiest Choice: Eliminating Friction and Leaks in America’s Defined Contribution System.” The key findings of the research confirm that auto portability is a winner, with significant pent-up demand in our defined contribution system.
Small Accounts Continue to Plague Plans.
This article focuses on the American Benefits Council’s specific recommendations to the DOL as set forth in their October 2nd, 2017 letter. The Council’s recommendations, if adopted, could establish a more complete, consistent and reasonable framework for plans to address the missing participant problem, going forward.
The American Benefits Council delivered a letter to the Department of Labor (DoL), urging the DoL to act on the problem of unresponsive or missing participants.
Protect yourself by embracing auto portability.
On May 12th, Retirement Clearinghouse announced the National Retirement Savings Cashout Clock, a virtual clock that calculates 2017 year-to-date cashout leakage from America’s defined contribution system in real time.
Senator Scott Letter, auto portability received an endorsement during a hearing on Capitol Hill this week.
If you think of retirement savings as a key part of a healthy retirement, then anyone who has prematurely cashed out 401(k) savings during their working life has suffered a compound fracture that will require several stages of therapy to fully rehabilitate. But a cash-out isn’t the only impediment to a financially secure retirement for these hardworking Americans.
In recent months, our attention has been drawn to some deserving public policy initiatives that would dramatically expand access to workplace retirement savings accounts and address the “access gap” encountered by millions of American workers who are presently offered no such option.
RCH President and CEO Spencer Williams exhorts the American retirement system to eradicate the scourge of 401k leakage, which deprives millions of Americans of a timely or comfortable retirement.
Watch video of the 80th EBRI Policy Forum, where the latest research on auto portability is delivered by Jack VanDerhei and Spencer Williams.
Retirement Clearinghouse has now launched a National Retirement Savings Cash Out Clock, focusing attention on the problem of 401k leakage.
On Thursday, May 11th, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) will conduct their 80th Policy Forum, sponsored by the EBRI Education and Research Fund (ERF). Hosted at the 20 F Street, NW Conference Center, the Forum is scheduled from 8:30am to 12:30pm.
In the spirit of Financial Literacy Month, retirement plan sponsors are to be commended for their commitment to enhance financial wellness among participants.
As much as $2 trillion could be retained in the U.S. retirement systems if Auto Portability were fully implemented, according to new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
With millions of Americans suffering from fractured retirement savings, plan sponsors should take the initiative—and fulfill their fiduciary duty—by providing restorative care to their participants and eliminating obstacles to seamless retirement savings portability.
RCH EVP Tom Johnson previews the upcoming 3/30/17 event "Retirement Plan Portability & Public Policy" to be hosted by the Financial Services Roundtable.
Best of all, it can be implemented across the entire retirement system voluntarily, with little cost—and significant upside—to the private sector.
Neal Ringquist, RCH EVP, addresses the US Chamber of Commerce's legislative recommendation to increase the Automatic Rollover limit to $10,000.
Today, America faces a different, more down-to-earth challenge: delivering our citizens a comfortable and timely retirement. And similar to the moon landing – a ‘small step’ in the right direction can have a huge impact on the course of our lives.
RCH's EVP Tom Johnson notes LIMRA's research and support of Auto Portability.
The recent U.S. Presidential election brought renewed focus upon large infrastructure projects: massive, capital-intensive efforts required to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, railways and airports. Desperately needed, these projects could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions, perhaps even trillions of dollars.
The easiest way for a plan participant to achieve lifetime participation in the U.S. retirement system is to work for the same employer for 40 years or more.
This video presentation is designed to provide qualified retirement plan sponsors with an overview of key actions that they can take in order to help reduce 401(k) plan leakage.
When it comes to the 401(k) plan feature known as automatic enrollment, most industry observers seem to agree that it’s a good thing.
As we prepare to observe National Save for Retirement Week (also known as “National Retirement Security Week”), scheduled for October 16-22, it’s a great opportunity to remember why we, as individuals, need to save for our retirement. But the sobering reality is that we are all being called upon to save retirement itself—by rescuing a retirement system that doesn’t work for millions of hardworking Americans.
There is one topic that everyone in Washington, D.C. seems to agree upon: the importance of consolidation in protecting Americans' retirement security.
"Make the smart decision the easiest decision" seems like an obvious goal for plan sponsors when designing participant-directed retirement plans, and it's certainly driven the rapid adoption of the autos auto enrollment, auto deferral escalation, and auto investment options, such as target-date funds and managed accounts.
Time Sensitive! Open Immediately! A significant majority (65%) of participants will make their distribution decision within the first 365 days of their termination from their former employer.
According to the recently released 2016 Willis Towers Watson U.S. Retirement Governance Survey, a major trend in retirement plan governance is the growing concern employers have for employees' retirement benefit adequacy and financial well-being.
In the first half of 2016, not only has the retirement industry awakened to the problem of cashout leakage, but it's begun to acknowledge its root cause: a lack of retirement savings portability. At the same time, Auto Portability has emerged as the only viable solution to cashout leakage, delivering portability for the small-balance (less than $5,000) job-changer, automatically moving their balances forward when they change jobs and enroll in a new plan. Let's look-back at the first half of 2016 and see how Auto Portability may now be poised to become an "overnight success" in the not-too-distant future.
In the wake of the Fiduciary Rule, providers of all stripes are broadly reevaluating their strategies for the participant and asset retention that is essential to growing their retirement plan businesses. Over the past two decades, providers have primarily looked to capture IRA rollovers as a means to grow retirement assets. The Department of Labor's new Fiduciary Rule creates challenges to that model. However, there is another, largely untapped, pool of assets within providers' reach that can fuel growth premature cash-outs. Auto portability, and portability solutions in general, represent a new and unique way to tap that potential source of growth.
In his 6/30/16 MarketWatch article, RCH President and CEO Spencer Williams suggests an inter-generational dialogue on the pitfalls to avoid when saving for retirement.
On June 8th, 2016 Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) teamed up to present consolidated testimony to the ERISA Advisory Council on Auto Portability, the automation of plan-to-plan transfers for small accounts, when participants change jobs.
Cash out leakage, the premature withdrawal of retirement savings for non-retirement expenses, is a persistent problem in the retirement industry, and growing more pervasive as employee mobility increases.
When the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) model was recently unveiled at EBRI's 78th Policy Forum, a lot of attention was paid to the "marquee" numbers, and rightly so. I am referring here to the $154 billion reduction in cashout leakage, as well as the $115 billion increase in plan-to-plan roll-ins that occur under the adoption of Auto Portability.
First, let's review the definition of "leakage." If we think of total 401(k) savings as a bucket of water, "leakage" refers to those retirement savings that, like water in a leaky bucket, are withdrawn from the U.S. retirement system every year. There are three holes in the bucket: cash-outs at the point of job change, hardship withdrawals, and loan defaults. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, one of these holes is much bigger than the other two combined nearly 89% of all leakage is attributed to cash-outs that occur when a participant changes jobs. Hardship withdrawals and loan defaults together account for the remaining 11%.
As they set out into the working world, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams counsels the Class of 2016 on the importance of developing good saving habits from the very beginning. Using the phrase "Strive for 25" Williams notes that the $25,000 retirement savings threshold is a critical milestone that all graduates should target.
On May 12th, Retirement Clearinghouse President & CEO J. Spencer Williams unveiled the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) at the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 78th Policy Forum. The APS was developed by Retirement Clearinghouse in conjunction with Dr. Ricki Ingalls, Chair of Computer Information Systems at Texas State University, and Principal at Diamond Head Associates, Inc.
In virtually any area of specialty, a unique jargon evolves that is highly-specific to that field. To insiders using the lingo every day, it seems familiar and perfectly normal. To outside observers, it can feel like a foreign language -- with words, terms and acronyms that make no sense.
As we observe the 46th annual Earth Day this April 22nd, we appreciate the awareness that this event has brought to the need to protect our environment, the urgency that it is instilled in all of us, and the tangible results that have been achieved in so many important areas. Although we have much work to do, we have clearly come a long way since the "throwaway" culture that emerged following World War II.
When trying to shape our future, it is often helpful to understand our past.
Clearly, Washington DC is now "getting it" when it comes to retirement plan portability. In November 2015, Senator Patty Murray and other influential members of Congress delivered a letter to Department of Labor Secretary Perez urging action on Auto Portability. Now, we have strong comments from President Obama in his final State Of The Union address on the need for more portable retirement savings.
In his December 1, 2015 article (The unintended consequence of 401(k) auto-enrollment), RCH CEO Spencer Williams exposes the linkage between auto enrollment and lower average account balances. Based on Form 5500 data, Williams' analysis presents some excellent examples of industries where average balances are significantly lower in plans that have adopted auto enrollment compared to plans that have not. RCH's Tom Hawkins follows up that article with his own analysis, extending Williams' earlier work.
In his December 11th article in BenefitsPro (Addressing the Critical Problem of 401(k) Cash Outs), Nick Thornton draws much-needed attention to the magnitude of the 401(k) cash out leakage issue, due to the frictions associated with account portability when plan participants switch jobs. Thornton's article rightly emphasizes the need for automated portability similar to automatic enrollment and deferral increases - to effectively address the cash out problem.
Every day, we are reminded that recycling is the responsible thing to do: from the recycling bins we walk by, to the paper we use, and the cans and bottles that we drink from. All of us would agree that conservation of our precious resources is critical, so we gladly pitch in and do our part.
How many of us will be so fortunate as to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan every day of our working careers? Or, for an even more uncommon scenario, how many of us will work for the same company for 30 or 40 years? Yet, as has been amply established by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), those who can raise their hands and respond yes to either of these questions routinely show up in the top decile of savers who are well-prepared for retirement and these participants provide a clear blueprint for retirement-saving success.
WISER Fall Forum to Explore Auto Portability As Solution to Reducing Cash Outs and Preserving 401(k) Assets
On Wednesday, September 30th, the Women's Institute For a Secure Retirement (WISER), in collaboration with Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH), hosts a Forum entitled The Leading Edge - Auto Portability: Solution to Prevent Cash Outs & Preserve 401(k) Assets.
The mandatory distribution-to-Safe Harbor IRA plan feature as commonly utilized today was conceived in 2001 and launched in 2005 with good intentions, and for valid reasons. A mobile workforce, combined with a lack of retirement savings portability, had created a burgeoning problem for plan sponsors.
Plan sponsors can help themselves and their participants over the long term by rolling balances of $5,000 or less from inactive participants into safe harbor IRAs. However, for various reasons discussed below, many safe harbor IRAs do not live up to their name and could leave sponsors with unexpected fiduciary liability.
Mandatory distributions from employer-sponsored plans are a creation of regulation's specifically, a section of ERISA that allows plan sponsors to distribute accounts with less than $5,000 out of a qualified plan and into a safe harbor IRA.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 created a safe harbor for retirement plan sponsors to automatically enroll employees in their plans. This provision was designed to help plan sponsors and participants over the long term, and it has but it also unintentionally fueled a surge in small accounts, hurting both constituencies. Auto Portability is a solution that promises to address the problems associated with automatic enrollment. The benefits are huge -- particularly for high-turnover industries.
Mandatory distributions of small 401(k) accounts when participants separate from service provide many benefits for plan sponsors, including lower administrative costs and higher average account balances.
In his latest article in Employee Benefit Adviser, RCH Founder, President & CEO Spencer Williams urges plan sponsors to adopt two critical, but often overlooked priorities for defined contribution plans: reducing cashout leakage and enabling auto portability. Today, plan-to-plan portability is both time-consuming and expensive, resulting in a large number of stranded accounts and cashout leakage, particularly for small accounts. Citing EBRI and other research, Williams demonstrates that enabling seamless plan-to-plan portability through auto portability could dramatically improve participant outcomes, enhance financial wellness and even reduce the incidence of missing participants.
In his April 5th 2018 article in Employee Benefit Adviser, RCH’s Founder, President & CEO Spencer Williams argues that just as no man is an island, no employer-sponsored retirement plan is an island. He continues on to detail that new hires who join a plan all come from other companies, where they were likely enrolled in their former-employer 401(k) plans; and similarly, participants who leave a plan when they change employers have accrued 401(k) savings that they will likely want to take with them.
In Employee Benefit Adviser, RCH President and CEO Spencer Williams describes a blueprint for retirement security that includes obtaining behavioral research confirmation, guidance from Washington, and commercial implementation – a blueprint currently being followed by auto portability.
In his 4/6/17 article in Employee Benefit Adviser, RCH's Spencer Williams likens the pain of ill health to the pain that many 401(k) participants suffer when they cash out or leave savings accounts behind at their former employer.
Employee Benefit Adviser's Cort Olsen covers the recent DC forum co-hosted by Retirement Clearinghouse, EBRI, WIser and Financial Services Roundtable.
RCH Spencer Williams debunks two common myths about retirement savings: 1) that employees are on their own when transitioning retirement savings after changing jobs and 2) that IRAs are better than 401(k) plans due to "free and ....unlimited investment options."
As the 40th anniversary of legislation enabling the 401(k) draws near, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams predicts that the next big advancement for the 401(k) will be the “seamless portability and consolidation” brought about by auto portability. The benefits that auto portability will deliver, estimated by EBRI to be as much as $1.5 trillion, could be “right around the corner” and will help millions of Americans achieve a financially secure retirement.
Auto portability has become a leading retirement savings public policy initiative due to its proven ability to preserve small-balance defined contribution accounts. RCH CEO Spencer Williams summarizes new research indicating that, when it comes to women, auto portability could deliver even greater benefits by making it easier for women participants to preserve their 401(k) savings, helping put them on par with men to achieve financial wellness.
In his latest article in Employee Benefit News, RCH Founder, President & CEO Spencer Williams urges plan sponsors to adopt two critical, but often overlooked priorities for defined contribution plans: reducing cashout leakage and enabling auto portability. Today, plan-to-plan portability is both time-consuming and expensive, resulting in a large number of stranded accounts and cashout leakage, particularly for small accounts. Citing EBRI and other research, Williams demonstrates that enabling seamless plan-to-plan portability through auto portability could dramatically improve participant outcomes, enhance financial wellness and even reduce the incidence of missing participants.
In his latest article in Employee Benefit News, RCH’s President & CEO Spencer Williams takes on the predicament of missing participants, making the case that widespread adoption of auto portability is the most effective solution to the problem. Supporting his views with foundational research, Williams points to auto portability’s twin benefits of locating current addresses and consolidating small, stranded accounts as outcomes that collectively satisfy plan sponsors' fiduciary responsibilities, create financial wellness for participants and preserve $1.5 trillion in retirement savings over a generation.
In his March 29th 2018 article in Employee Benefit News, RCH’s Founder, President & CEO Spencer Williams argues that just as no man is an island, no employer-sponsored retirement plan is an island. He continues on to detail that new hires who join a plan all come from other companies, where they were likely enrolled in their former-employer 401(k) plans; and similarly, participants who leave a plan when they change employers have accrued 401(k) savings that they will likely want to take with them.
Just as no man is an island, no employer-sponsored retirement plan is an island. New hires who join a plan all come from other companies, where they were likely enrolled in their former-employer 401(k) plans. Similarly, participants who leave a plan when they change employers have accrued 401(k) savings that they will likely want to take with them.
In his latest article in Employee Benefit News, RCH's Spencer Williams breaks new ground in addressing the age-old problem of missing participants. Citing new research from RCH and Boston Research Technologies showing that 67% of inactive plan participants can be found via "auto locate" technology, Williams argues that the auto locate process will revolutionize the location of missing participants and finally bring an end to the insanity of "doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result."
In his latest article in Employee Benefit News, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams offers plan sponsors 3 crucial resolutions for 2018, including: 1) ending automatic cash-outs, 2) offering roll-ins as part of a financial wellness program, and 3) engaging all participants on crucial decision-making.
In his latest article for Employee Benefit News, RCH President and CEO Spencer Williams describes a blueprint that’s already been established for implementing a best practice default retirement plan feature, such as auto enrollment. The blueprint Williams describes includes obtaining behavioral research confirmation, guidance from Washington, and commercial implementation – a blueprint currently being followed for auto portability.
In his latest byline in Employee Benefit News, RCH Founder, President & CEO J. Spencer Williams addresses the need for an industry-wide retirement infrastructure, in the form of a private-sector clearinghouse.
RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams makes a compelling case that links recent cyberattacks to the need for auto portability.
RCH Founder, President & CEO Spencer Williams addresses the problem of small accounts in his latest article in Employee Benefit News.
Just as the global community united a half-century ago to eradicate smallpox, RCH's Spencer Williams makes the case that plan sponsors and providers can join together in common cause to put an end to 401(k) cashout leakage.
In his 4/6/17 article in Employee Benefit News, RCH's Spencer Williams likens the pain of ill health to the pain that many 401(k) participants suffer when they cash out or leave savings accounts behind at their former employer.
When the scope of the Auto Portability Simulation (APS) model was recently expanded to include accounts under $15,000, RCH uncovered astounding data regarding the size and extent of the "small account challenge."
Retirement Clearinghouse President and CEO Spencer Williams answers both questions in his recent commentary on Employee Benefit News.
RCH CEO Spencer Williams shares the results of over 300,000 individual decisions made by participants over an eight-year period. The results confirm that portability services are desperately needed to address the cashout leakage problem.
In his July 21st article in Employee Benefit News, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams highlights the Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule challenges and urges that it's time to consider another source of growth: portability solutions.
In his 6/9/16 article in Employee Benefit News, RCH CEO Spencer Williams reminds us that leakage is a big problem for the U.S. retirement system.
Auto enrollment, codified in law by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, was drafted with the best of intentions to increase Americans' retirement savings but it has had the unintended consequence of impairing plan effectiveness. By proliferating small accounts in plans, auto enrollment has caused a decrease in average account balances throughout the U.S. retirement system. Adding to the urgency of this issue is the rising rate of auto enrollment adoption across defined contribution plans of all sizes, but particularly among larger plans.
Spencer Williams identifies portability as the solution plan sponsors should embrace.
RCH's CEO Spencer Williams identifies four features that will deliver more-complete fiduciary protection for a mandatory distribution program, including auto portability.
In his latest Employee Benefit News article, RCH's CEO Spencer Williams contends that Auto Portability is Auto Enrollment's natural complement, particularly in high-turnover industries.
RCH's CEO Spencer Williams continues to make the case for Auto-Portability, a new plan feature that recycles mandatory distributions, increases average balances and lowers plan costs.
Williams advocates a new "recycling" approach for mandatory distributions from plan.
On 8/9/16, EBRI released new research focusing on the recurring issue of leakage from defined contribution savings plans. The August 2016 EBRI Notes summarizes policy forum discussions on the leakage issue, and include an extensive discussion of the RCH Auto Portability Simulation model that addresses outcomes of Auto Portability as workers change jobs.
2012 EBRI research indicates that a 50% reduction in cashout leakage could result in an incremental $1.3 trillion in retirement savings, over 10 years.
RCH and EBRI teamed up to present consolidated testimony to the ERISA Advisory Council on Auto Portability, the automation of plan-to-plan transfers for small accounts, when participants change jobs.
The testimony was presented jointly by Tom Johnson, RCH's EVP and Head of Policy Development, and Craig Copeland, EBRI's Senior Research Associate. Johnson and Copeland not only addressed the basics of Auto Portability -- what it is, why it's needed and how it works -- but also covered the latest key research findings and EBRI data that are highly-supportive.
Forbes' Ashlea Ebeling quotes RCH job-changing, cashout leakage statistics
Forbes' Ashlea Ebeling uses RCH's Auto Portability Simulation (APS) model to illustrate how Millennials are sabotaging their retirement.
Forbes and Next Avenue contributor Kerry Hannon covers WISER's 9-30 Forum "The Leading Edge - Auto Portability: A Solution to Prevent Cash Outs & Preserve 401(k) Assets."
ForexTV's Timothy Kelly chronicles some of the woes experienced by 401(k) plan sponsors and suggests that Retirement Clearinghouse -- through portability -- can help solve the problems.
ForexTV's Tim Kelly explores Auto Portability, and makes a strong case that it's important to every plan sponsor, due to America's mobile workforce and adverse outcomes at job change.
In her article entitled "The Next Step for 401(k) Innovation: Auto-Portability" -- Institutional Investor's Frances Denmark highlights auto-portability and includes quotes from RCH's Spencer Williams and Northern Trust's Sabrina Bailey.
In a 1/17/17 article by Frances Denmark in Institutional Investor, Northern Trust's Sabrina Bailey, head of defined contribution at Northern Trust, cites auto-portability as "another factor that may aid 401(k) asset retention."
InvestmentNews examines how plan sponsors and service providers, rather than waiting on guidance from Washington, are taking the lead in advancing solutions to deal with the missing participant problem in America's defined contribution system. RCH CEO Spencer Williams and EVP Neal Ringquist are both quoted in the article, which also mentions recent research conducted by RCH, as well the promise offered by auto portability's "auto locate" mechanism.
In his 1/8/18 article in the Journal of Accountancy, Lou Carlozo examines auto portability, which has the potential to "impact the retirement plans of millions for the better." Carlozo details the progress auto portability is making with the Department of Labor, referencing the July 2017 letter from Senate Republicans. Carlozo extensively quotes RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams, as well as other industry experts, on the positive outlook for auto portability and its potential for solving the 401(k) "leakage" problem.
In LIMRA's Secure Retirement Review, RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams makes the case that Auto Portability incubates & preserves small-balance retirement savings. As such, it has the potential to grow the market for advisers whose business model relies on IRA rollovers.
LIMRA's Secure Retirement Institute is promoting research that supports Auto Portability. LIMRA showcases the research in DConversations, including video from the 2016 Retirement Industry Conference, as well as multiple infographics providing important research.
In his latest MarketWatch RetireMentors column, RCH CEO Spencer Williams modifies the familiar proverb “a stitch in time saves nine” for the benefit of 401(k) savers who have multiple retirement savings accounts.
In his 6/03/16 MarketWatch column, RCH CEO J. Spencer Williams gives the Class of 2016 advice theyâ€™re not likely to hear in a Commencement Speech:"Strive for 25"
Alicia Munnell -- Boston College's Director, Center for Retirement Research -- comes down squarely in favor of a clearinghouse for the nation's 401(k) system.
In her 12/06/17 article "Here's Why Cashing Out a 401(k) Is the Worst Money Mistake You Might Ever Make", The Motley Fool's Maurie Backman cites RCH cash out research, mentioning that "nearly 6 million employees are expected to cash out their 401(k)s within eight years of leaving their employers, according to data compiled by Retirement Clearinghouse."
Covering the WISER forum "The Millennial Perspective: An Intergenerational Discussion on Retirement Savings", NAPA Net's Ted Godbout includes reporting on RCH EVP Tom Johnson, who wowed the WISER crowd with 401(k) cashout leakage and portability statistics. Citing data from the GAO, the EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model (RSPM) and other sources, Johnson made the point that Millennials, including gig workers, will stand to benefit greatly from retirement savings portability solutions, including auto portability.
NAPA Net's Ted Godbout covers the May 22nd WISER roundtable, where RCH EVP Tom Johnson revealed new statistics highlighting the cashout problem for women with small 401(k) balances. Godbout goes on to examine the "portability solution" -- where auto portability could preserve the savings of 1 million women, on an annual basis, and 42 million women over a generation.
In his 5/17/18 article for NAPA Net, noted industry researcher Warren Cormier takes a deep dive into the problem of missing participants, summarizing the findings of a recent Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) study that measured the magnitude of the problem, identified participant behaviors and uncovered important demographic trends. In search of solutions, Cormier turns to RCH CEO Spencer Williams, and their discussion focuses on "Auto Locate" as the most-promising financial technology to address the problem.
NAPA Net's Ted Godbout covers the recently-released survey of missing participants, joint research conducted by Boston Research Technologies and Retirement Clearinghouse. Godbout highlights the survey's key findings, quoting BRT's Warren Cormier, and drawing attention to the high percentage of respondents (60%) who expressed a preference for an automated solution to update their address and/or consolidate their retirement savings.
In his 12/6/17 article in NAPA Net, Ted Godbout covers the recent Boston Research Technologies white paper “Making the Right Choice the Easiest Choice: Eliminating Friction and Leaks in America’s Defined Contribution System” -- which documents the key findings of the initial market launch of auto portability.
Testifying before a July 19 House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, NAPA Vice President Jania Stout offered her support for auto portability.
NAPA Net's Ted Gobbout reports that U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will deliver a letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, urging DOL guidance on auto portability.
NAPA Net's Ted Godbout attends the 6/21 WISER Forum on retirement issues, extensively quoting RCH President & CEO Spencer Williams.
Addressing the latest research conducted by EBRI on Auto Portability, and presented at the 3/30/17 FSR event in Washington, DC, NAPA Net's Nevin Adams discusses the benefits that Auto Portability can deliver in reducing 401(k) cashout leakage.
On 12/12/16, ASPPA Net staff included the 11/30/16 BenefitsPro article “Preventing retirement plan leakage: An infrastructure project that saves trillions” by RCH's Tom Hawkins in their website's news headlines, reiterating the major points in the article.
In her 7/26/16 article in the National Law Review, Michelle Capezza addresses the fundamental changes in our workforce (the "Gig Economy") that are driving the need for portable benefits. Capezza states that RCH -- through promotion of Auto Portability -- is one of the ways that this new portability is becoming manifested in the Gig Economy.
In Northern Trust's research entitled "The Path Forward: Defined Contribution Plans Can Achieve More" Auto Portability is identified as one of two key DC plan features that will positively impact DC plan performance.
P&I's Meaghan KIlroy examines how plan sponsors and service providers, rather than waiting on guidance from Washington, are taking the lead in advancing solutions to deal with the missing participant problem in America's defined contribution system. RCH CEO Spencer Williams and EVP Neal Ringquist are both quoted in the article, which also mentions recent research conducted by RCH, as well the promise offered by auto portability's "auto locate" mechanism.
In an article featured on the cover of Pensions & Investments, P&I's Meaghan Kilroy interviews RCH executives Spencer Williams and Neal Ringquist on RCH's auto portability program, and its promise to address the issue of missing, terminated participants. Williams and Ringquist provide an update on auto portability, including the recent implementation with a mega plan sponsor, the pending DOL advisory opinion and participation by DC recordkeepers,
Pensions & Investments highlights President Obama's call for more retirement savings portability, in his final State of the Union address.
PlanAdviser's Rebecca Moore reviews research by Retirement Clearinghouse that looks at the related problems of 401(k) missing participants and cashouts. The RCH analysis is based upon RCH's Auto Portability Simulation and Boston Research Technologies' March 2018 Missing Participant Survey comparing and contrasting the two problems from a systemic perspective, The article concludes that auto portability could serve as a strategic solution to minimize both. Moore's piece also references a previous article by RCH CEO Spencer Williams, and quotes RCH's Neal Ringquist and Tom Hawkins.
PLANADVISER covers the 3/13/18 release of the joint Boston Research Technologies / Retirement Clearinghouse Missing Participant Survey, recapping the survey's key findings, and mentioning earlier research conducted by Retirement Clearinghouse on simulating the effects of auto portability.
Spencer Williams, from Retirement Clearinghouse, says the findings show the potential to preserve trillions of future retirement savings dollars for retirement plan participants through the widespread adoption of auto portability.
In their Sept/Oct 2017 edition, PLANADVISER's Compliance News recounts activities aimed at moving Auto Portability forward, including Sen. Tim Scott's letter to DOL Secretary Acosta.
PlanAdviser reports on the newly-published recommendations by the ERISA Advisory Council, which include facilitating Auto-Portability.
PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore examines recent analysis by Retirement Clearinghouse that looks at the twin problems of 401(k) missing participants and cashouts. The RCH analysis, based upon RCH's Auto Portability Simulation and Boston Research Technologies' March 2018 Missing Participant Survey, compares and contrasts the two problems from a systemic perspective, and offers auto portability as a strategic solution to minimize both. Moore's piece also references a previous article by RCH CEO Spencer Williams, and quotes RCH's Neal Ringquist and Tom Hawkins.
PLANSPONSOR’s Rebecca Moore examines the Center for Retirement Research’s (CRR) report “An Analysis of Retirement Models to Improve Portability and Coverage,” presented to the Department of Labor in February 2018. One of the report’s key recommendations includes the establishment of a clearinghouse to automatically move small balances forward, a framework now widely-known as auto portability.
PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore covers the 3/13/18 release of the joint Boston Research Technologies / Retirement Clearinghouse Missing Participant Survey, recapping the survey's key findings, and mentioning earlier research conducted by Retirement Clearinghouse in simulating the effects of auto portability.
Results from the firm’s product use by one plan sponsor found that upon consolidation, workers' median plan account balance increased by 46% and the combined future value of their preserved savings was more than $3 million at normal retirement age.
PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore reports on the letter from US Senator Tim Scott, urging Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to provide guidance on auto portability "as soon as possible."
PLANSPONSOR's Judy Hartnett interviews SPARK's Tim Rouse, gaining his perspective on Auto Portability as a means to prevent small accounts from "leaking out of the system."
PLANSPONSOR covers the groundbreaking new EBRI Auto Portability projections, which indicate that full implementation of Auto Portability could generate an additional $2 trillion in retirement savings for Americans.
PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore reports that the ERISA Advisory Council has released its final recommendations on facilitating lifetime plan participation related to plan-to-plan transfers and account consolidation. RCH's Tom Johnson, EVP of Policy and Development is quoted.
PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore sits down with RCH's CEO & President, Spencer Williams, to address the most serious DC plan leakage problem.
Safe Harbor IRAs: Searching for an appropriate IRA provider By Judy Faust Hartnett of PLANSPONSOR
PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore covers the highlights of RCH CEO J. Spencer Williams' May 3rd presentation at PSCA's 69th Annual Conference on Auto Portability, the industry solution to cutting cash out leakage in the sub-$5,000 balance segment.
A 1/27/16 article by PLANSPONSOR's Rebecca Moore addresses President Obama's portability initiatives, quoting RCH CEO J. Spencer Williams.
In conjunction with Boston Research Technologies, Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH) announced the findings of a groundbreaking research study on America's mobile workforce, providing insights into participant behaviors regarding retirement savings portability. The study offers plan sponsors with strategies to stem cashouts and to improve retirement outcomes.
PLANSPONSOR's Sara Kelly interviews RCH CEO Spencer Williams, exploring Auto-Portability.
Jill Cornfield of PLANSPONSOR chronicles the dilemma faced by the Millennial demographic, those aged 24 to 32.
Quicken Loans' Dan Rafter discusses upcoming changes to 401(k) plans in 2018 with Edward Dressel, including auto portability.
On 8/9/18, the Editorial Staff of the Retirement Income Journal reported that the Treasury Department will transfer remaining, unmoved assets from the myRA program (discontinued in 2017) into Roth IRA accounts at Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH). The article references the notice posted on the myRA.gov website, which provides current myRA accountholders with instructions on how to withdraw or transfer their balances prior to the deadline of August 31, 2018, as well as providing information about going-forward arrangements for account balances that are moved to RCH. Also highlighted are RCH's ongoing efforts to obtain regulatory approval for auto portability, a clearing system that will "automatically transfer 401(k) assets....when a participant changes jobs."
In his weekly Anecdotal Evidence column entitled "How Much Retooling Does the 401(k) Need?", Retirement Income Journal publisher Kerry Pechter covers two important weekly events -- the ERISA Advisory Council meeting and the EBRI webinar on their Retirement Security Projection Model (RSPM). For the EBRI event, Pechter notes that auto portability is a key public policy initiative in the "EBRI super model" and cites auto portability's benefits as reducing "retirement shortages for ages 35-39 by between 17% and 23%."
Retirement Income Journal's Kerry Pechter reports on the progress towards solving cash-out leakage, with auto-portability recently going live with a large recordkeeper and a mega plan sponsor. Pechter interviews RCH founder, president & CEO Spencer Williams.
Two 4/6/17 articles by Retirement Income Journal address the growing & influential coalition backing auto-portability.
In the 6/23/16 edition of Retirement Income Journal, RIJ's editorial staff give RCH, the Bipartisan Policy Center and Auto Portability an "Honorable Mention" for "technology (that) enables 401(k) accounts to follow their owners from plan to plan automatically."
Retirement Income Journal's Kerry Pechter goes in-depth into Auto Portability with RCH executives Spencer Williams and Tom Johnson.
A 9/25/14 Retirement Income Journal features RCH, citing its leadership in bringing Auto Portability to the 401(k) industry, a solution that help could solve the industry's "leakage" problem.
Williams writes to the editor the Retirement Income Journal.
In a July 15th article, the San Antonio Express-News features Retirement Clearinghouse and Auto Portability, RCH's solution to curb cashout leakage among small-balance job changers.
SHRM's Stephen Miller, CEBS, reports that there's a "new approach" to reducing leakage - Auto Portability., and goes in-depth, quoting RCH's president & CEO Spencer Williams from his presentation at EBRI's 78th Policy Forum.
The Wall Street Journal's Anne Tergesen takes a look at the latest research on auto-enrolled participants in 401(k)-style plans, which finds that these workers tend to treat these savings "like automated-teller machines" -- a phenomenon known in the retirement industry as "leakage." To support her point, Tergesen uses data supplied by Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH), indicating that 60% of 401(k) participants with balances below $10,000 will cash out their savings, paying income taxes and a 10% penalty. Tergesen also notes that "policy experts recommend automating the process of transferring money from an old employer's plan to a new employer's plan" -- a process known as auto portability.
As the 401(k) turns 40 years old, the Wall Street Journal’s
Anne Tergesen examines five ways that the 401(k) could do a better job of
creating retirement security, including reducing 401(k) leakage. To
address the 401(k) leakage problem, Tergesen describes Retirement
Clearinghouse’s ongoing efforts to implement auto portability, which
automatically consolidates small balance accounts and moves retirement savings
forward into a new employer’s 401(k) plan. Tergesen reports that RCH’s
CEO Spencer Williams “expects to receive the green light” from the Department
of Labor “as soon as this summer.”
The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) features a guest article by RCH's Tom Hawkins, showcasing research presented at a 5/22/18 WISER forum, indicating that women with small 401(k) balances cash out more frequently than their male counterparts. As women’s 401(k) balances grow, they become more likely than men to preserve their retirement savings. These behaviors, along with the results of the Auto Portability Simulation, suggest that a program of retirement savings portability could incubate women’s small 401(k) balances, allowing them to more effectively grow their savings to higher balance levels, where more beneficial behaviors can prevail.
In her 2/14/18 article, Workforce Magazine's Patty Kujawa examines the ongoing dilemma of 401(k) cashout leakage, quoting RCH's Spencer Williams as well as Keith Overly, Executive Director of the state of Ohio's defined contribution plan. Both agree that cashouts are a big problem and emphasize different aspects of its prevention, with Williams focusing on measures that make it easier to move retirement savings forward when participants change jobs.