Independent Actuaries Blog Author: Sara Ark

Simple, Easy Plan Hygiene

As a plan fiduciary, one of your duties is to follow the provisions of the plan. It seems simple. It should be easy. Practically speaking, it is a daunting task to read, understand, and follow all the terms of the … Continue reading

Death Benefits? That Depends.

“That depends” is often the answer I give when my clients ask seemingly simple questions. My statement is followed by a series of questions that help me answer their original question. Alternatively, I could talk for hours on the myriad … Continue reading

Death, Taxes, and Pension Actuaries

Benjamin Franklin noted that “nothing is certain but death and taxes”. That phrase has particular irony for pension plan actuaries. While ultimately certain, we use mortality assumptions to calculate pension liabilities that in turn determine tax advantages. The mortality assumptions … Continue reading

IRS Prohibits Lump Sum Offerings to Current Retirees

On July 9, 2015, the IRS issued notice of their intent to amend regulations prohibiting defined benefit plans from offering a lump sum option to participants already in pay status (Notice 2015-49). At first glance, this seems like an extreme … Continue reading

Full Disclosure

Have you ever talked with an actuary at a cocktail party? They are easy to spot; generally they are the ones who cannot answer a simple question directly. They feel it necessary to put disclaimers around their answers. I say … Continue reading

The Uncertainty of Retirement

The Society of Actuaries’ Committee on Post Retirement Needs and Risks recently published a set of briefs outlining major decisions in retirement. They are written with the intent of creating thought provoking discussions prior to retirement. I have been surrounded … Continue reading

Another Election? Plan Sponsor Elections in PPA

  Let’s face it; defined benefit plans are complicated to begin with. I personally like to keep the day-to-day administrative tasks as easy as possible for my clients. I am finding that more difficult as we drive into the fourth … Continue reading

Putting a Price Tag on Risk

I struggle when asked what I do for a living. Sometimes I outright fib when asked the question. It’s not because I don’t like what I do, it just sounds technical and boring. Recently, I’ve worked up an explanation of … Continue reading