401(k) cash out leakage blog posts


The Risky Business of Cashing Out Plan Balances Below $1,000

Writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins examines the “risky business” of automatically cashing out sub-$1,000 balances of separated participants. Hawkins writes that the practice, “may seem like an expedient approach to rid a plan of small balances” but “carries undesirable side effects for both the plan and for its participants” including uncashed distribution checks and unnecessary cashout leakage. The best approach, continues Hawkins, is to “adopt auto portability, which delivers all of the benefits but none of the flaws of old-school automatic rollovers.”


Safe-Harbor IRAs Don’t Offer a Long-Term Saving Solution for Plan Participants

Writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, RCH and PSN President & CEO Spencer Williams reflects on the 20-year history of safe harbor IRAs, which were intended to be "a temporary solution to the problem of too many small, stranded accounts in defined contribution plans." Williams provides readers with examples of the dysfunction that has occurred when safe harbor IRAs have failed to act as long-term repositories of savings, or worse, when participants cash out completely. With the advent of auto portability, Williams maintains that the new auto feature will "allow participants to maximize the time retirement savings are invested in their plan accounts—and minimize the time those balances are languishing in underperforming safe-harbor IRAs along the journey to retirement."


The Truth About Old-School Automatic Rollovers

Writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, RCH’s Tom Hawkins takes on “old-school” automatic rollover programs which produce massive amounts of cashout leakage and strand millions of participants’ balances in safe harbor IRAs. While old-school automatic rollovers have one foot in the past, Hawkins writes: “automatic rollovers that incorporate auto portability are the way of the future, with the industry-led Portability Services Network leading the way forward.” For plan sponsors, contends Hawkins, “auto portability delivers all the plan optimization features of old-school automatic rollover programs but goes one key step further” by automatically rolling-in eligible balances for new plan participants.


Harness the Power of Retirement Savings Consolidation

Consolidation is a powerful force in our world, and when it comes to retirement savings, 401(k) account consolidation is inherently efficient and exerts a protective effect on retirement savings as participants change jobs. Writing in RCH’s Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins offers readers six key facts about retirement savings consolidation, providing ample evidence on the efficacy of consolidation in improving participants’ retirement outcomes.


Four Key Findings from the New Auto Portability Simulation

Writing in the RCH Consolidation Corner blog, RCH's Tom Hawkins summarizes the four key findings from the firm's Auto Portability Simulation, a discrete event simulation that models the impacts of auto portability over a 40-year period, and are detailed in a new white paper, Revisiting the Auto Portability Simulation: The Impact of the Portability Services Network, SECURE 2.0 and Expanded Access. Hawkins contends that the new APS analysis has improved the model’s predictive accuracy by incorporating new parameters that reflect “changing realities” driven by three major developments: 1) the advent of the Portability Services Network, 2) the passage of the SECURE 2.0 Act and 3) ongoing progress in expanding access to workplace retirement savings plans. The paper's four key findings highlight the growth of the participant population that will be subject to mandatory distributions, as well as auto portability’s effects on reducing cashout leakage, generating incremental retirement wealth, and delivering benefits to minorities and lower-income workers.


Auto Portability: It’s About the Participants

Writing in RCH's Consolidation Corner blog, Tom Hawkins reminds readers what auto portability is all about -- improving the retirement security of marginalized defined contribution participants. These participants -- comprised largely of minorities, women, younger and lower-income participants -- not only need auto portability the most, but there's solid evidence that they want it as well. To support his claim, Hawkins cites three highly-regarded surveys that have found a strong participant preference for auto portability and for consolidating small balances within the defined contribution system, and believes that recent developments will "augur well for Americans’ retirement security."


A Perfect Storm is Brewing—But Automated Portability Could Defuse It

RCH and PSN President & CEO Spencer Williams, writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, notes that a rising incidence of hardship withdrawals and 401(k) loans – as reported by Bank of America – combined with a pending increase in the account-balance limit for automatic rollovers effective 12/31/23, could create a “perfect storm” for depleting Americans’ retirement savings. “Fortunately,” writes Williams, “sponsors and recordkeepers have access to a solution that can help them clean up their plans without automatically rolling terminated accounts into safe-harbor IRAs.” Auto portability, continues Williams, is a “capability [that] is more essential than ever, with 401(k) plan enrollment continuing to increase” and could serve to defuse the brewing storm of potential cash-outs.


Focus Shifts to Plan Sponsors as Portability Network Set to Go Live

Writing in the Consolidation Corner blog, RCH's Tom Hawkins describes the coming "shift" that will occur when the Portability Services Network (PSN) goes live at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2023. Describing PSN's network-building achievements to date as "nothing short of phenomenal", Hawkins adds that "integration had proceeded apace" and that "plan sponsors will take center stage as they begin to adopt auto portability and witness its tangible results." Plan sponsor adoption will accelerate as auto portability demonstrates its obvious benefits to plans, to participants and to society at large, where adoption will eventually serve as a "positive indicator of a socially responsible enterprise."