Dear Fiduciary: Welcome to the Committee
Updated: Sep 22
I wrote Rewarding Retirement for YOU.
It is hard to overstate the importance of the role that defined contribution plans — especially 401(k)s — play for most American workers. They are the vehicles employees depend upon for accumulating wealth and, ultimately, for funding the years after they have stopped working. When someone has a successful experience with their 401(k), their financial life — and its impact on the rest of their life — will look very different than if they do not have a good experience.
Behind the scenes of these employer-sponsored retirement plans are a group of individuals who are charged with administering the plan in the best interest of its participants. This group is often referred to as the “plan committee,” and it is their oversight and decisions that greatly influence whether a 401(k) has a positive effect on its participants — or not. I generally refer to them as the “fiduciary committee” to remind them of their duty of loyalty to their plan’s participants.
Because the fiduciary committee decides on important matters that affect the management of the 401(k) plan, their knowledge and wisdom ultimately affect the financial lives of millions of people. That is why the law demands the duty of loyalty.
If our society is to improve outcomes for participants when they hit retirement age, it is vitally important that we improve the skill of the members of the fiduciary committee. Better fiduciary committees lead to better participant outcomes. Improve the skill of ten committee members and you improve the financial future of hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of lives.
That is why I have written Rewarding Retirement – How Fiduciary Committees Can Elevate Workers, Companies, and Communities. I want to help educate well-intentioned fiduciaries — like you — and fiduciary committees. I want to improve your understanding, skill, and decision-making.
Discover what drives plan success for participants
The book is an easy-to-follow guide written specifically for you and all fiduciary committee members. It will help you come up to speed on the fundamentals of how to do a good job overseeing the plan and putting participants on track for retirement.
Unfortunately, most members do not receive any formal training when they join their committee. Furthermore, most committees aren’t taught how to determine whether the plan they oversee is performing well or not. They become overly dependent upon their advisers. And because it isn’t in the interest of the adviser to confess poor performance, committee members can be left in the dark. To change the direction of retirement readiness in our country, it is important to change this dynamic.
My book shows you exactly how to determine whether your plan is good or bad for participants. There are three key drivers of retirement readiness. Testing these will tell you whether your plan is putting participants on track to retire on time with dignity:
Are the annual contributions (employee + employer) high enough to fund retirement?
Is the investment lineup performing well?
Are the fees paid by the plan low?
Those three things work together in harmony in a good plan. Rewarding Retirement empowers you to determine results for yourself and become less dependent on what your advisers are telling you.
As a member of the fiduciary committee, you are in a position to demand these results and to positively impact the lives of people who depend on you. Dedication to them needs to be in your heart. The rest, you can learn.