Eric Lazzari

2024 Trends in Retirement Plans

As we step into 2024, the world of retirement planning continues to evolve. It’s a great time to look ahead and understand what will guide us in improving retirement outcomes for our clients and their participants. This year, we expect to see a mix of familiar trends from the Secure Act 2.0 and new focuses on personalization and financial wellness. Also, we’re keeping an eye on how the economy will influence our strategies, especially with the upcoming election and the Federal Reserve’s actions against inflation. Here are the major themes we are working on this year:

1. Secure Act Updates

Changes continue to be implemented with the passage of the Secure Act 2.0. Some changes were delayed such as the Roth Catch-up requirement which will take place after 2025, however, there are some mandatory and optional that we are focusing on.

Long Time Part Time Employees.

Employers will now be required to allow long-time part time employees to defer into their 401k if they have worked at least 500 hours of service in each of three consecutive 12 month periods and have attained age 21. That requirement is reduced to two consecutive 12 month periods for plan years after 2025. Additionally, for plan years after December 31, 2024, 403b’s will be required to adopt these new provisions.

Matching contributions on student loan payments

Starting this year, Retirement Plans may treat certain student loan payments as plan contributions for the purpose of match contributions. This provision may mean that employees who make qualified payments on student loans can receive a match even if they were not able to contribute to their plan.

Emergency savings accounts linked to retirement plans

Starting in 2024 the Secure Act 2.0 allows for plan participants to make pre-tax payments to a linked emergency savings account up to $2500 and withdraw up to $1000 without penalty. Providing access to participants to emergency savings when they need it and still save for retirement could help alleviate the anxiety of saving in a retirement plan for lower income workers.

The Secure Act has many other provisions being implemented in 2024 as well. It is important that you discuss with your Administrator to ensure compliance.

2. Personalization

A key area of improvement in the defined contribution space is the increase in levels of personalization at the participant level. By using key demographic information already known by the plan and information received directly from plan participants, 401k and 403b providers can create personalized saving and investment plans for employees at scale. Our approach to personalization is to utilize a tiered approach depending on the level of engagement from plan participants.

Plan-level personalized reporting and engagement

Often times participants are disengaged or recordkeepers don’t have the necessary technological solutions for detailed personalized planning. When that happens, we are finding innovative ways to use readily available plan demographic data to create personalized reports. This strategy enables us to identify participants who need help, so we can proactively reach out to them.

Increased use of Managed Accounts for engaged participants

When participants are engaged and the recordkeeper has appropriate and cost-effective technology solutions, managed accounts can provide an advanced level of personalization for retirement savers. Managed accounts allow professional third-party management of a participants retirement account based on demographic data and input from engaged participants.

When utilizing managed accounts in a retirement plan it is essential to monitor the program to ensure that participants who are paying extra for the service receive additional value through personalization.

3. Focus on Financial Wellness

Technology improvements and engagement

In 2024, there’s a heightened focus on financial wellness within 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Technological solutions are playing a key role, offering sophisticated tools that provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s financial health, including retirement readiness. More providers are entering the market increasing engagement and reducing costs. These new tools are increasing engagement and helping participants create healthier relationships with their money.

Retirement Income hits the mainstream

There is a growing momentum for in-plan retirement income strategies. Plans are increasingly incorporating features that help participants transition their savings into a stable income stream for retirement, addressing concerns about outliving their resources. This shift underscores the evolving role of 401(k) plans from mere savings vehicles to comprehensive retirement planning tools.

As the retirement income market evolves, platforms and investment managers are creating innovative retirement income products at lower costs to benefit more participants.

4. Economic Disruption

The 401(k) landscape in 2024 is also navigating through economic disruptions. The influence of the Federal Presidential election is sure to be contentious and could potentially mean social and economic disruptions through the 2024 election season. 

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve’s efforts to achieve a ‘soft landing’ amidst economic uncertainty are crucial. The Fed’s monetary policies, aimed at stabilizing inflation while avoiding a recession, play a significant role in shaping the investment landscape. Participants and plan sponsors must stay vigilant, adapting their strategies to these evolving economic conditions to safeguard retirement assets.

Conclusion

The 401(k) and 403(b) landscape in 2024 presents both challenges and opportunities. Staying informed and adaptable is key to navigating this dynamic environment. Whether you’re a plan sponsor or a participant, understanding these trends is vital for making strategic decisions that secure a comfortable retirement.

3 Essential Traits to Look for in Your 401k Plan Advisor

Navigating the labyrinth of corporate retirement plan regulations isn’t for the faint of heart, and that’s precisely where a knowledgeable 401k plan advisor comes into play. As HR managers and corporate executives, entrusting your company’s retirement plan to the right person is a responsibility you can’t afford to take lightly. But how do you distinguish a top-tier advisor from an average one? Look for these three crucial traits: fiduciary responsibility, robust governance, and absolute transparency.

The Importance of Fiduciary Responsibility in Your 401k Plan Advisor

One of the most essential characteristics of a proficient 401k plan advisor is their commitment to fiduciary duty. As a fiduciary, an advisor has the legal and ethical obligation to act in your Plan’s best interests. This critical responsibility goes beyond providing sound financial advice – it means putting the participant’s needs above everything else, even their own personal interests.


The best advisors prioritize their fiduciary duty, continually proving their worth through actions, not just words. Remember, a fiduciary duty isn’t something to be taken lightly – it’s a vital factor that protects your employees’ hard-earned retirement savings from potential mishandling.

Why Robust Governance is Critical for your plan.

Next, strong governance structures are crucial for the efficient management of your company’s 401k plan. Advisors with an effective governance strategy will work closely with you to design a plan that aligns with your organization’s vision and values. A robust governance structure ensures that your retirement plan is managed in a manner that minimizes risks, maintains compliance with regulations, and delivers the desired outcomes for your employees.


An excellent advisor will guide you through the creation and implementation of effective policies and procedures. They’ll also play an active role in educating your staff about the plan, fostering an environment where retirement planning is a shared and understood responsibility.

Transparency: The Foundation of Trust in a 401k Plan Advisor Relationship

Transparency is the cornerstone of any successful advisor-client relationship. A transparent advisor will ensure that you’re never left in the dark about any aspect of your 401k or 403b plan. This includes providing clear information about investment strategies, fee structures, and potential conflicts of interest.


Transparency breeds trust, and trust is essential when dealing with something as critical as your employees’ future. An advisor who places a premium on transparency demonstrates their dedication to avoiding conflicts of interest and nurturing a transparent relationship with your organization.

Taking the Next Steps

Choosing an appropriate 401k plan advisor is a decision that carries far-reaching implications for your company and its employees. That’s why it’s crucial to pick an advisor with fiduciary responsibility, robust governance, and unwavering transparency.


Now that you’re aware of what to look for, the next step is a review of your current plan. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new advisor or just want to ensure your current one is up to par, we’re here to help. Reach out today to schedule a review of your plan with us. Together, we can ensure that your employees’ retirement futures are in the right hands.

Retirement Impact named to NAPA Top DC Advisor Team 2022

Retirement Impact named Top DC Advisor Team - 2022

The National Association of Plan Advisors recently announced their “Top DC Advisor Teams” for 2022 and named Retirement Impact, LLC a Top Advisor in the small team category.  

We are extremely proud to again be included in this exclusive list alongside some of the biggest and best retirement plan focused groups in the business. This validation in our first year in business shows us that we are on the right path and will continue to innovate and push for better retirement outcomes for our participants and fiduciaries in the future.  

From the announcement:

The NAPA Top DC Advisor Team list highlights the nation’s leading retirement plan advisor firms. Sure, we know it’s not just about the numbers – but the reality is that NAPA members are having a huge impact every single day, not just on the quality of retirement plan advice, but also in building a more financially secure retirement for millions of Americans. Unlike other lists, this focuses on teams, broadly defined as being in a single physical location, and having at least $100 million in DC assets under advisement. It is based on self-reported assets under advisement as of December 31, 2022, unless otherwise noted. We appreciate the commitment and hard work of the teams acknowledged – and are proud to have the opportunity to share it here.

Awards Disclosures

  • Established in 2017, nominees had to be individual advisor team/offices with a defined contribution book of business. To be considered, firms had to submit responses to an application form, including information about their practices, notably their defined contribution (DC) assets under advisement. The list is created and conducted by the National Association of Plan Advisors, an affiliate organization of the American Retirement Association, a non-profit association. No fee is charged to participate. The rating is not indicative of the nominee’s future performance.
  • In 2021 Approximately 340 submissions were received and 332 were selected.
  • In 2022, 438 applications were submitted and 430 were on the final list. 
  • Awards earned while at Baystate Fiduciary Advisors
  • Criteria on which the rating was based:
    • NAPA Top DC Advisor Firms, ranked by DC assets under advisement.
  • How was the category was calculated/determined:
    • Survey respondents had to have in excess of $100 million in AUA at end of 2016
    • 293 teams that completed the survey met the above criteria
  • Number of advisors surveyed:
    • 293 surveys were received
  • Percentage of advisors that received the rating:
    • 100%
  • Disclosure:
    • This recognition is not indicative of investment adviser’s future performance
  • Who created/conducted the survey:
    • NAPA (National Associated of Plan Advisors)
  • Was any fee paid to participate in the survey:
    • No
  • Awards earned while at Baystate Fiduciary Advisors
  • Criteria on which the rating was based:
    • The “PLANADVISER Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers” list is compiled from responses to the PLANADVISER Retirement Plan Adviser Survey. The list is drawn solely from a set of quantitative variables and information in the survey supplied by the advisers themselves. For an adviser to be eligible for recognition in this year’s Top 100, he had to submit a completed entry to our 2015 Retirement Plan Adviser Survey, which was fielded this past September. A sub-segment of the questions was used to determine eligibility for the Top 100.
    • Individuals needed to have more than 100 plans or more than $1 billion in retirement plan AUA; small teams had to advise more than $2 billion in retirement plan assets or more than 100 plans; large teams needed more than $3 billion in retirement plan AUA or more than 170 plans; and mega teams had to oversee more than $5 billion in retirement plan AUA or more than 250 plan clients.
  • How was the category was calculated/determined:
    • Advisers were segmented into four groups based on the number of advisers and number of total employees including support staff. Those figures assigned advisers into the following categories: individual adviser – meaning one adviser with support staff; small team – a group of 10 or fewer, comprising two or more advisers and support staff; large team – a group of 11 to 25 advisers and support staff; and mega teams – 26 or more team members.
  • Number of advisors surveyed:
    • In 2016, 27 teams qualified under the small team with < $2B in AUA
    • In 2019, 33 teams qualified under the small team with < $2B in AUA
  • Percentage of advisors that received the rating:
    • N/A
  • Disclosure:
    • This recognition is not indicative of investment adviser’s future performance
  • Who created/conducted the survey:
    • PlanAdviser Magazine
  • Was any fee paid to participate in the survey:
    • No

Established in 2015, nominations from the list were provided by NAPA Broker-Dealer/RIA Firm Partners. Nominees had to be women, had to be retirement plan advisors with their own book of business. Nominees were required to submit responses to an application comprised of a series of quantitative and qualitative questions about their experience, size and composition of their practice, awards and recognitions, and industry contributions, which were then reviewed by a panel of senior advisor industry experts, who, based on those criteria, and following a broker-check review, selected the top women advisors.

Within the group of top women advisors, those who were principals, owners or team captains of their organizations were designated as “Captains”, while those with less than 5 years of experience as a retirement plan advisor, “Rising Stars”.

In 2022 (2023 Award), we received nearly 515 nominations, 258 applications, from which 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars and 27 Rising Stars were chosen.

In 2021, we received nearly 500 nominations, 273 applications, from which 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars and 33 Rising Stars were chosen.

In 2020, we received 550 nominations, and considered 270. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 25 Rising Stars on the final list.

In 2019, we received 502 nominations, and considered 209. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 19 Rising Stars on the final list.

In 2018, we received just over 600 nominations, and considered 225. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 15 Rising Stars on the final list

In 2017, we received nearly 587 nominations, and considered 201. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 10 Rising Stars on the final list.

In 2016 we received 395 nominations, and considered 191. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 10 Rising stars

The list is created and conducted by the National Association of Plan Advisors, an affiliate organization of the American Retirement Association, a non-profit association. No fee is charged to participate. Th award is not indicative of the advisors’ performance.

  • Established in 2017, nominees had to be individual advisor team/offices with a defined contribution book of business. To be considered, firms had to submit responses to an application form, including information about their practices, notably their defined contribution (DC) assets under advisement. The list is created and conducted by the National Association of Plan Advisors, an affiliate organization of the American Retirement Association, a non-profit association. No fee is charged to participate. The rating is not indicative of the nominee’s future performance.
  • In 2021 Approximately 340 submissions were received and 332 were selected.
  • In 2022, 438 applications were submitted and 430 were on the final list. 
  • Awards earned while at Baystate Fiduciary Advisors
  • Criteria on which the rating was based:
    • NAPA Top DC Advisor Firms, ranked by DC assets under advisement.
  • How was the category was calculated/determined:
    • Survey respondents had to have in excess of $100 million in AUA at end of 2016
    • 293 teams that completed the survey met the above criteria
  • Number of advisors surveyed:
    • 293 surveys were received
  • Percentage of advisors that received the rating:
    • 100%
  • Disclosure:
    • This recognition is not indicative of investment adviser’s future performance
  • Who created/conducted the survey:
    • NAPA (National Associated of Plan Advisors)
  • Was any fee paid to participate in the survey:
    • No
  • Awards earned while at Baystate Fiduciary Advisors
  • Criteria on which the rating was based:
    • The “PLANADVISER Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers” list is compiled from responses to the PLANADVISER Retirement Plan Adviser Survey. The list is drawn solely from a set of quantitative variables and information in the survey supplied by the advisers themselves. For an adviser to be eligible for recognition in this year’s Top 100, he had to submit a completed entry to our 2015 Retirement Plan Adviser Survey, which was fielded this past September. A sub-segment of the questions was used to determine eligibility for the Top 100.
    • Individuals needed to have more than 100 plans or more than $1 billion in retirement plan AUA; small teams had to advise more than $2 billion in retirement plan assets or more than 100 plans; large teams needed more than $3 billion in retirement plan AUA or more than 170 plans; and mega teams had to oversee more than $5 billion in retirement plan AUA or more than 250 plan clients.
  • How was the category was calculated/determined:
    • Advisers were segmented into four groups based on the number of advisers and number of total employees including support staff. Those figures assigned advisers into the following categories: individual adviser – meaning one adviser with support staff; small team – a group of 10 or fewer, comprising two or more advisers and support staff; large team – a group of 11 to 25 advisers and support staff; and mega teams – 26 or more team members.
  • Number of advisors surveyed:
    • In 2016, 27 teams qualified under the small team with < $2B in AUA
    • In 2019, 33 teams qualified under the small team with < $2B in AUA
  • Percentage of advisors that received the rating:
    • N/A
  • Disclosure:
    • This recognition is not indicative of investment adviser’s future performance
  • Who created/conducted the survey:
    • PlanAdviser Magazine
  • Was any fee paid to participate in the survey:
    • No

Established in 2015, nominations from the list were provided by NAPA Broker-Dealer/RIA Firm Partners. Nominees had to be women, had to be retirement plan advisors with their own book of business. Nominees were required to submit responses to an application comprised of a series of quantitative and qualitative questions about their experience, size and composition of their practice, awards and recognitions, and industry contributions, which were then reviewed by a panel of senior advisor industry experts, who, based on those criteria, and following a broker-check review, selected the top women advisors.

Within the group of top women advisors, those who were principals, owners or team captains of their organizations were designated as “Captains”, while those with less than 5 years of experience as a retirement plan advisor, “Rising Stars”.

In 2022 (2023 Award), we received nearly 515 nominations, 258 applications, from which 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars and 27 Rising Stars were chosen.

In 2021, we received nearly 500 nominations, 273 applications, from which 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars and 33 Rising Stars were chosen.

In 2020, we received 550 nominations, and considered 270. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 25 Rising Stars on the final list.

In 2019, we received 502 nominations, and considered 209. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 19 Rising Stars on the final list.

In 2018, we received just over 600 nominations, and considered 225. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 15 Rising Stars on the final list

In 2017, we received nearly 587 nominations, and considered 201. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 10 Rising Stars on the final list.

In 2016 we received 395 nominations, and considered 191. There were 50 Captains, 50 All-Stars, and 10 Rising stars

The list is created and conducted by the National Association of Plan Advisors, an affiliate organization of the American Retirement Association, a non-profit association. No fee is charged to participate. Th award is not indicative of the advisors’ performance.

Top 401k Trends in 2023

As 2023 continues to unfold, shifts in the 401k landscape are redefining how we plan for retirement. Today, we delve into the top 4 trends that are shaping fiduciary governance for 401k Trends in 2023: Retirement Income Solutions, SECURE Act 2.0 updates, Fallout from the Supreme Court ruling in Hughes v. Northwestern, and the rising importance of data privacy.

1. Retirement Income Solutions:

Guaranteed income solutions are gaining traction as participants seek the comfort of predictable payouts in their golden years. Employers are increasingly integrating these solutions into their 401k plans, leveraging innovative annuity products and bond ladders. The trend recognizes that a secure retirement isn’t just about accumulating wealth; it’s about ensuring that wealth translates into a stable income. However, with the rise of such solutions, plan fiduciaries must consider the added complexity and work to ensure these options are in the best interest of the participants.

2. Secure Act 2.0 Updates:

 The Secure Act 2.0 was signed into law in December 2022 and includes several updates that plan sponsors should be aware of. One of the most significant updates is the increase in the age for required minimum distributions (RMDs) from 72 to 73 starting on January 1, 2023, and then further to 75 starting on January 1, 2033. It is important to note that recordkeepers must make changs to their systems to accommodate these new regulations.

3. Active Funds: Are They Worth the Premium?

Despite the trend towards low-cost passive funds, active funds maintain a substantial presence in 401k plans. These funds, characterized by hands-on management and potentially higher returns, often come with higher fees. As fiduciaries, it’s essential to scrutinize these options thoroughly. Are the potential returns justifying the cost? Regularly benchmarking fund performance and fees is crucial to ensure participants are receiving value for the fees they are paying.  It is also important to note that all investments must be appropriate for the plan’s participants, as determined by the recent Northwestern Supreme Court case. 

4. Data Sharing and Participant Privacy:

As digital transformations permeate the financial sector, participant data privacy is paramount. Increased data sharing between plan administrators, payroll providers, and third-party service providers can enhance the participant experience. But it also necessitates robust safeguards to protect sensitive information. Fiduciaries must ensure data privacy policies are in place and enforced. In 2023, striking a balance between personalized services and data security is a challenge that every plan sponsor needs to meet.

In conclusion, 2023 is proving to be a dynamic year for 401k plans. These 401k trends in 2023 underscore the need for fiduciaries to stay informed and adaptable, continually working to ensure plans meet the evolving needs of their participants while protecting their interests. Staying ahead of these developments is key to providing a retirement plan that is not just compliant, but also helps provide better outcomes for your employees. 

Fiduciary Governance for CFO’s

Fiduciary governance plays a crucial role in ensuring that 401k plans comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations. By establishing strong fiduciary governance, CFOs can mitigate the risk of potential liabilities and safeguard the interests of their employees.

ERISA requires that plan fiduciaries, including CFOs, act solely in the best interests of plan participants and beneficiaries. Failure to fulfill this obligation can result in serious consequences, including potential lawsuits, regulatory penalties, and reputational damage. Therefore, it is essential for CFOs to understand how fiduciary governance can help them fulfill their fiduciary duties and avoid potential liability under ERISA.

Fiduciary governance involves establishing and implementing a set of procedures and processes that enable plan fiduciaries to manage their responsibilities effectively. This includes defining the roles and responsibilities of plan fiduciaries, establishing investment policies and procedures, monitoring plan performance, and conducting regular fiduciary training and education. By implementing a robust fiduciary governance framework, CFOs can ensure that they are fulfilling their fiduciary obligations and reducing their liability under ERISA.

  1. Minimizing Conflicts of Interest: A strong fiduciary governance framework includes policies and procedures that help minimize conflicts of interest. This includes establishing clear guidelines for selecting and monitoring plan investments and service providers. By doing so, CFOs can reduce the risk of potential conflicts of interest and ensure that their decisions are made solely in the best interests of plan participants and beneficiaries.
  2. Ensuring Investment Diversification: ERISA requires that plan fiduciaries ensure that plan investments are diversified to minimize the risk of large losses. Fiduciary governance can help ensure that the plan’s investment portfolio is well-diversified and aligned with the plan’s investment objectives. This can help protect plan participants and beneficiaries from undue investment risk, reducing the risk of potential liability for plan fiduciaries.
  3. Conducting Regular Plan Reviews: Fiduciary governance requires that plan fiduciaries conduct regular reviews of plan investments, fees, and service providers. By conducting regular reviews, CFOs can identify and address potential issues before they become major problems, reducing the risk of potential liability for plan fiduciaries.
  4. Documenting Fiduciary Decisions: A robust fiduciary governance framework includes documenting all fiduciary decisions made by plan fiduciaries. This documentation serves as evidence that the plan fiduciaries acted prudently and in the best interests of plan participants and beneficiaries. In the event of a lawsuit or regulatory audit, this documentation can help reduce the risk of potential liability for plan fiduciaries.

In conclusion, fiduciary governance is a key aspect of managing a 401k plan, and it can significantly reduce liability under ERISA for CFOs. As a CFO, it is your responsibility to ensure that your 401k plan is managed with the highest standards of fiduciary governance. By implementing a robust fiduciary governance framework, you can fulfill your fiduciary obligations, protect the interests of plan participants and beneficiaries, and mitigate the risk of potential liability. So, take action today and establish a strong fiduciary governance framework for your 401k plan to safeguard your company’s reputation and protect your employees’ financial futures.

Social Security Webinar Recap

Recap: Navigating Social Security Webinar 2/15/2023

Are you approaching retirement age or looking to learn more about Social Security? Understanding how this government program works is crucial for securing a stable financial future. In a recent talk, Eric Lazzari and Kelly Hahn provided valuable insights into Social Security and its benefits.

Kelly Hahn provided an overview of the basics of Social Security, including how benefits are calculated, the strategy of when to claim, and the future of Social Security. She discussed how Social Security is taxed and the different claiming decisions for own, spousal, and survivor benefits. The government is more flexible in terms of what to claim and when for survivor benefits, and it pays off to claim later for higher earners.

Hahn also highlighted that there is an earnings test that applies if you are claiming Social Security benefits before full retirement age and you are working. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the expected rate of return on your portfolio and expected longevity to determine when it pays off to claim Social Security.

The future of Social Security is also a topic of concern for many people. Hahn explained that Social Security payments are funded by taxes, and the trust fund is expected to be depleted by 2035. However, she reassured the audience that Congress is unlikely to cut benefits for current retirees.

In conclusion, understanding Social Security is critical to your financial future. As you approach retirement, it’s essential to consider your options for claiming benefits and to understand how Social Security fits into your overall financial plan. Keep in mind that the rules for Social Security are complex, and it’s worth seeking professional advice to ensure you make the most of your benefits.

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