1. EBRI’s SALISBURY SAYS THERE IS NO RETIREMENT CRISIS:Dallas Salisbury, President and CEO of Employee Benefit Research Institute, presents new research and trend lines to put the retirement crisis debate in perspective. Watch the entire six minute presentation at http://www.pionline.com/multimedia/video?bctid=2832421610001&bclid=826020847001#video.
2. IRS RECOMMENDS THAT PLANS ADOPT INTERNAL CONTROLS: The current edition of the IRS Employee Plans News(12/2013) points out that formal review procedures can help plan sponsors find and prevent mistakes in administering their plans. IRS also cautions that mistakes left uncorrected could endanger a plan's tax-favored status. IRS recommends use of internal controls, which are business processes designed to detect and prevent mistakes in retirement plans. These internal controls should include procedures for both (1) plan operations review, which involves verifying that the plan is operated according to its written terms and (2) plan document updates, which involve meeting with the plan's benefits professional to see if the plan document needs updating for law changes or changes in plan operations. The exact procedures used by plan sponsors depend on the specific organization, plan type and its features. For a plan operations review, plan sponsors should periodically review their plan's operations to ensure that they are following the terms of the written plan. Such a review would check, for instance, whether loans and distributions were made according to the plan's rules, and whether all eligible employees were timely included in the plan. For plan document updates, plan sponsors should, a few months before their next plan year begins, consult with their benefits advisor to see if the plan must be amended to reflect law changes or any operational changes that the plan sponsor will make. IRS has provided has the following examples of internal control procedures that plan sponsors may use:
- compare salary deferral election forms with the amounts deducted from employees' wages;
- verify the types of compensation used for allocations, deferrals, and testing;
- check that plan service providers received accurate compensation and ownership records;
- monitor annual contribution and compensation limits;
- verify that years of service were accurately determined for eligibility and vesting;
- verify marital status and, if required, spousal consent for plan distributions; and
- ensure participants received required minimum distributions.
3. CAN DETROIT’S ART BE SAVED AFTER ALL?: With the future of Detroit at stake, leaders of national and local foundations gathered on a chilly afternoon in early November in the downtown chambers of U.S. Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen. Governing reports that Rosen, the federal mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy, held a wide-ranging discussion, during which he floated a novel idea for a grand bargain: could the foundations pony up hundreds of millions to bolster at-risk city pensions and prevent the Detroit Institute of Arts from having to sell its treasures? It was a long shot at best, but it may have paid off big time. Rosen has announced that nine foundations pledged $330 million that would be used to shore up pension funds so the art would not have to be sold, a crucial step toward solving the contentious issues surrounding pensions and paintings. The money represents an unprecedented coalition of foundation support for a troubled American city and a bold stroke of out-of-the-box creativity. It is a potential game changer in Detroit's struggle to restructure its municipal debt in bankruptcy court. The foundations include some of the country's largest and most influential, such as the New York-based Ford Foundation and the Kresge Foundation of Troy. It remains unclear whether the state would add money to the pot to shield the art, shore up city pensions and help achieve an overall settlement with creditors. DIA officials have proposed expanding statewide exhibitions and educational programs in exchange for state dollars that would help protect the art.
4. MOST STRESSFUL JOBS: Jobs that require unpredictable conditions and high-stakes situations are often among the most stressful of 2014, according to benefitnews.com. Each fills a vital function to society, as their work ensures the safety of others:
- Enlisted Military Personnel (median salary $28,840).
- Military General ($196,300).
- Firefighter ($45,250).
- Airline Pilot ($114,200).
- Event Coordinator ($45,810).
- Public Relations Executive ($54,170).
- Corporate Executive ($168,140).
- Newspaper Reporter ($35,870).
- Police Officer (55,270).
- Taxi Driver ($22,820).
5. LEAST STRESSFUL JOBS: Every job has some level of stress, but if your goal is to keep stress as low as possible and still have a rewarding career, some jobs are much more attractive than others. According to a new CareerCast report on the least and most stressful jobs of 2014, here are 10 great jobs where stress is not an issue:
- Audiologist (median salary $69,720).
- Hair Stylist ($22,700).
- Jeweler ($35,350).
- Tenured University Professor ($64,290).
- Seamstress/Tailor ($26,280).
- Dietitian ($55,240).
- Medical Records Technician ($34,160).
- Librarian ($55,370).
- Multimedia Artist ($61,370).
- Drill Press Operator ($35,580).
6. ENLIGHTENED PERSPECTIVE BY ANDY ROONEY: I have learned... that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
7. CLEVER SIGNS: And do not forget the sign at a Chicago radiator shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."
8. TODAY IN HISTORY: In 1952, U.S. Standard Board clears Stan Musial to get an $85,000 salary.
9. KEEP THOSE CARDS AND LETTERS COMING: Several readers regularly supply us with suggestions or tips for newsletter items. Please feel free to send us or point us to matters you think would be of interest to our readers. Subject to editorial discretion, we may print them. Rest assured that we will not publish any names as referring sources.
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