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We publish newsletters regularly. Check back often for free, useful information that employers need to optimally run their employee benefit and retirement plans.

ITR Economics: Insights from our CEO - Some Argue the National Debt is No Issue
Mar. 21, 2019

"There are economists that maintain that the US need not worry about the growing size of our national debt.  Some of those economists argue that when the interest rate on government borrowing is below the growth rate of the economy, financing the debt should be sustainable. They go on to postulate that interest rates will probably stay low for quite some time because of demographics."

By Brian Beaulieu, CEO of ITR Economics

ITR Economics: Insights from our CEO - The Silver Lining of a Slowdown
Feb. 5, 2019

There are three reasons to see a silver lining in the cyclical slowdown of 2019:

  1. Interest rates in general will likely level off/decline
  2. The cost of carrying the national debt will abate in 2019
  3. Housing affordability will likely temporarily cease to be a growing problem
Benefit Insights: It's Testing Season!
Feb. 5, 2019

It's Testing Season!

Qualified plans must perform annual testing to be sure that the plan doesn’t unfairly discriminate in favor of "highly compensated employees" (HCEs) or exceed the contribution limits set forth by the IRS. Depending on your plan provisions, it isn’t just one calculation, but a series of tests that show that your plan is not discriminatory. If your plan is audited, the auditor is looking for proof of this compliance.  Select the link below to learn more...

Know Your Options 

If your plan offers a Roth 401(k) provision, your participants might ask, “Which one is better for me?” As the availability of Roth options in 401(k) plans and Roth contribution percentages continue to rise, it’s important to be able to guide participants in making the right choice.  Select the link below to learn more...

The 401(k) Turns 40

In 2018, the 401(k) plan celebrated its 40th birthday! Though extremely popular today, 401(k) plans came about almost by accident. IRC Section 401(k) was passed into law as part of the Revenue Act of 1978 and was included to limit executive compensation. However, in 1980, Ted Benna of the Johnson Companies used the provision to create and get IRS approval of the first 401(k) plan for his company. For this he is often referred to as the father of the 401(k). Select the link below to learn more...

ITR Economics: Insights from our CEO - Timing is Everything
Jan. 25, 2019

2019 Oil Prices and the Impact of Saudi Arabia and Russia

US Crude oil, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), cascaded $20 in November and into December. This morning, Dec. 18, the WTI price was $48.91. In response to the price decline, OPEC recently announced its intent to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day.

ITR Economics: Insights from our CEO - When a Search Becomes a Leading Indicator
Jan. 4, 2019

There are three things to know when a search becomes a leading indicator...

We utilize all sorts of leading indicators. Some are traditional (e.g., the Purchasing Managers Index), some are international (G7 Leading Indicator), and some seem to stop working for us, at least for a while (Housing Starts), so we keep an eye on them. We discuss the leading indicators during our ITR Economics presentations at company sales meetings and trade association conventions.

Benefit Insights: Hardship Gets a Little Easier
Dec. 7, 2018

Hardships Get a Little Easier

Earlier this year, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 was passed by Congress and signed into law.  While this law made several changes that impact retirement plans, one provision changing the rules around hardship distributions is particularly notable.   Learn More - Access the link below.

Helping Hands

One of the most prevalent and difficult challenges for many twenty somethings these days is the repayment of their, often substantial, student loan debt. Statistics show that the average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree left school in 2016 with $28,446 in student loan debt.  Learn More - Access the link below.

Cost of Living Adjustments (TABLE)

Every Fall, the coming year’s Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) are released by the Internal Revenue Service. The benefit increases counteract the effects of inflation and keep up with the “cost of living”. Below are the limits for 2019.  Learn More - Access the link below.

'Tis the Season

It’s the time of year when Plan Sponsors scramble to deliver the myriad notices required to be given to their participants.  Even with the help of service providers, the sheer number of notices can be overwhelming.  Learn More - Access the link below.

Port in the Storm

Natural disasters can cause upheaval in many aspects of victims’ lives and this destruction often extends to financial matters. What should otherwise be routine compliance for plan deadlines can prove difficult in these extreme events and the government tends to grant temporary relief in such cases.  Learn More - Access the link below.

The Retirement Income Gap and Helpful Hints for Plan Sponsors
Oct. 6, 2018

The Retirement Income Gap

Many American workers participate in company retirement plans, methodically contributing to their accounts over time to fund for life after work. Beyond benefiting from employer-funded plans, retirees commonly draw from additional savings tucked away in IRAs or after-tax savings accounts as well. Add Social Security payments to the mix and it should be a recipe for a secure retirement, right?  

Read more by selecting the pdf below...

Helpful Hints for Plan Sponsors

Being a plan sponsor comes with a good bit of responsibility. You’ve taken the important step of hiring a third-party administration firm to help you navigate the myriad of processes that are required to keep your plan in compliance with applicable regulations. Below are a few helpful hints to keep your plan in compliance, avoid unnecessary corrections, and help to better serve your participants. 

Read more by selecting the pdf below...

ITR Economics: Insights from the ITR Economics CEO – Tariffs More than a Tiff
Sep. 20, 2018

We think there are four variables presently at work that are inhibiting stock market rise and one variable that typically means the market has gone as high as it can for the current cycle. The five mitigating variables are...

ITR Economics: Insights from the ITR Economics CEO – 10 Reasons There is No Russian Equivalency
Jul. 25, 2018

Militarily speaking, Russia is a powerful country; some might say even on par with the US. We are economists, however, not politicians. Accordingly, we think in metrics and mathematical terms. Economically speaking, there is no equivalency between the US and Russia.

ITR Economics: Insights from ITR Economics CEO - Five Inhibitors Between You and Capital Appreciation in Equities
Jun. 22, 2018

We think there are four variables presently at work that are inhibiting stock market rise and one variable that typically means the market has gone as high as it can for the current cycle. The five mitigating variables are:

  1. Individual investors have gone heavily into this market; which tends to mean it is overbought.
  2. The Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings (CAPE) ratio is sufficiently high to suggest less-than-inflation rates of return ahead on average for the next five years.
  3. Corporate profitability is going to need a significant lift from the tax changes to return the S&P 500 to a rising trend, and such a lift is not a slam dunk.
  4. The specter of a trade war is creating uncertainty.
  5. This is a mid-term election year.