Retirement Gets A (Small) Pay Raise!

In a move that should make retirees and retirement savers at least somewhat cheerful, both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are providing small increases in income and savings limits.  

On October 22, the SSA announced a 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for both Social Security payments and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The nearly 60 million Americans receiving Social Security benefits will get increases that average about $20 per month.

The increases for Social Security benefits will begin with the December 2014 benefits (payable in January) and the January SSI payments will also be paid at the end of December (due to a holiday falling on January 1, 2014).  

Also, the IRS announced on October 23 that 401(k)/403(b)/457/TSP elective deferral limits will increase from $17,500 to $18,000 after remaining steady for 2013 and 2014 and the catch-up contribution limit for workers over 50 increases from $5,500 to $6,000.  Interestingly, the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contribution limit did not increase and remains at $5,500 as does the $1,000 catch-up contribution.

The threshold for highly compensated employees (HCEs) increases to $120,000 from $115,000 in 2012-2014 and the Social Security wage base increases from $117,000 to $118,500.  

Rick Meigs from has put together a handy chart with additional details.

The Fixing the 401(k) Blog Is Back!

The Fixing the 401(k) Blog Is Back!

Have you ever stopped doing something you really enjoyed because other things became a higher priority?  And then you wake up one day and say to yourself "You know, I really should start (insert thing) again now that I have more time."

Well, a few months back I realized how much I missed blogging about 401(k) issues, especially with so many changes that have taken place over the past several years...

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Mourning the Passing of My Dad, Phil Itzoe

I wanted to acknowledge the passing of my dad, Phil Itzoe, last Wednesday, February 10.  My dad was a truly amazing guy and one of the finest men I ever knew.  He spent a total of 45 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, coordinating the team's travel plans for the last 41.  His last season was 2008 and at the time he had (and I believe still has) the longest tenure of any traveling secretary in the four major sports leagues.  

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Josh Itzoe Featured on the Cover of Maryland Investor Magazine

I was pleased to be featured on the cover of the November/December issue of Maryland Investor Magazine. The magazine is a relatively new publication created by Bill Slaughter and Stephanie Pietry and is dedicated to informing HNW Marylanders about investment, legal and tax issues while providing a lifestyle element as well.

The article is written in Q&A fashion and takes an in-depth look at understanding the Fixing the 401(k) approach.  Here's the article and be sure to check out the Maryland Investor Magazine website.

Josh Itzoe and BrightScope Quoted in November issue of SmartMoney Magazine

I was pleased to be quoted along with Mike Alfred from Brightscope in November's issue of SmartMoney Magazine.   Janet Paskin interviewed Mike and I for her article entitled "Meet the People Who Run Your 401(k)". Interestingly, there were some plan fiduciaries who were actually quoted in the article as well (although I'm not so sure their employees will take comfort in their comments.) 

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A (Nearly) Perfectly Implemented Investment Strategy for a 401(k) Plan

We recently transitioned a client to a new, fully "open-architecture" plan provider - smoothest conversion we have ever been through. One of the benefits this particular provider allows us is the ability to build pre-allocated, model portfolios that we as the investment advisor and ERISA 3(38) "Investment Manager" have the responsibility to manage and rebalance on an ongoing basis.  

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Does Better Fiduciary Process Lead to Better Performance?

Here's an interesting post titled "Does Adherance to the Practices Really Make a Difference?" from the Fi360 Blog.  One of the mantra's of the Fixing the 401(k) Approach is that "better process leads to better decision-making which, over time, increases the probability of better outcomes."  

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