Independent Actuaries Blog

It’s Bracket Time! How Did You Fill Yours Out?

Have you filled out your NCAA bracket yet? If so, how did you choose your winners? Did you go through each bracket game by game? Did you have a few brackets, each with a different winner? Did you make your … Continue reading

Access Social Security Statements Online

Did you know you can view your Social Security Statement online? In the past, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sent annual paper statements to update participants on their earnings record and estimated benefits. However, in an effort to reduce costs, … Continue reading

Tax Reform and Retirement Plans

We’re getting a lot of questions these days about how the proposed tax reform bills might impact retirement plans. For reference, this Forbes article provides a good summary and comparison of current law versus the House and Senate bills. Here … Continue reading

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

IRS Announces Retirement Plan Limits for 2018

The IRS has announced the new retirement plan limits for 2018. Some limits increased from 2017 to 2018, and some stayed flat. Highlights include: The compensation limit used to determine benefits and contributions for both defined benefit and defined contribution … Continue reading

What Does a Pension Actuary Do Anyway?

When I’m asked what I do for a living, I tell people I’m a pension actuary. I explain that I work on defined benefit pension plans for employers, calculating the employers’ contribution obligations and calculating benefits for plan participants. I … 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

What OJ Simpson Can Teach You About Retirement Security

Last week ESPN posted an article that “OJ Simpson may have made more than $600K while incarcerated.” Initially, I was amazed to think he was still receiving endorsement money. But when I clicked on the article, I discovered the money … Continue reading


We frequently mention ERISA bonds in our communications with plan sponsors. An ERISA fidelity bond insures the plan against losses due to fraud or dishonesty by those who have access to those funds. Because such losses are rare, the cost … Continue reading