Independent Actuaries Blog Author: Sara Ark

Ripple Effect of Delaying DB Contributions

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The most prominent pension funding relief provision is an automatic extension for cash contributions due during 2020. All defined benefit plan contributions originally … Continue reading

A Cautionary Tale of Low Interest Rates with Lump Sum Distributions

Defined benefit plans can offer lump sum distributions to participants when they terminate employment. This option is common as a method for plan sponsors to lessen administrative costs and offer portable benefits. The lump sum is equal to the present … Continue reading

Required Minimum Distribution Time

A reminder that Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are payable for anyone over the age of 70-1/2. These rules can be complicated. For money held in an IRA, 401(k) or Profit Sharing Plan, the amount of the distribution is based on … Continue reading

New E-Delivery Safe Harbor

In response to an Executive Order issued last year to strengthen retirement security, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed rules for disseminating pension plan notices electronically. Participant notices for pension plans include Summary Annual Reports, Individual Benefit Statements, Annual … 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

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