Quarterbacking Retirement Plans

Quarterbacking Retirement Plans
By Blake C. Adams, MBA, CPFA

Whether you are a college football fanatic or an NFL only devotee, the start of fall is every football fan’s favorite time of year. We sit back enjoying the crisp chill in the air and cheer as we put our hopes and dreams into the 11 players on the field. We love the competition, the camaraderie and the big win at the end of the night. It gives us a rush and makes us feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. We live and die by the wins and losses of our teams.

However, while we are enjoying the game in the bleachers or sitting in front of the TV, we typically don’t analyze the dynamics of what is happening on the field. It’s unusual for us to sit and ponder how one team tries various approaches to outmaneuver and overpower their opponent in order to win the game. We rarely think of how one team attempts to advance down the field while the defense aims to take control of the ball for themselves. And we definitely don’t give enough credit to the quarterback, the most important player on the field.

Let’s examine the quarterback. The quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offense. His position is responsible for calling the play and is generally involved in every forward pass. Most of the time, all eyes are on him. He has a big role on the team.

What I didn’t realize until recently watching and cheering on my favorite football team, the New Orleans Saints, was how closely football and retirement services are correlated. Now, this might not be your first thought but bear with me.

At Darnall Sikes Wealth Partners, we help businesses design and implement customized, tax-efficient and easy-to-navigate retirement plans. We serve as your retirement plan’s quarterback, coordinating your activities as owner, along with those of your plan’s third-party administrator (TPA), record keeper and plan participants.

As the quarterback, the financial advisor works with the employer to pick the best record keeper and TPA. We assist in the proper plan design and investment selection to meet all the employer’s goals. We play a vital role in educating participants on plan options and enrollment. The financial advisor (the quarterback) touches the ball on almost every play. Our job is an important one.

But just like in a real game, the quarterback can’t execute plays alone. It takes a team, and everyone plays a role.

The record keeper acts as the offensive coordinator and is typically thinking of how to score the next touchdown. The record keeper manages the online enrollment and the investment platform for retirement plans, supplies account access, and provides the quarterly investment reports. The record keeper’s offensive actions help to keep the ball moving down the field.

The TPA acts as the defensive coordinator whose main goal is to encourage their players to tackle whomever on the opposing team has the ball. They create the plan document, provide some administrative duties of the retirement plan, assist in managing fiduciary risk and help meet ERISA standards. These defensive actions of working with compliance and meeting standards help prevent something bad from happening, like having the other team score.

Finally, the employer plays the role of the team’s owner. The employer owns the retirement plan, so they set the goals and objectives during the retirement plan design phase. All in all, when everyone plays their role, we make the perfect team.

We appreciate that business leaders have countless other priorities and often lack the time needed to set up or manage a retirement plan on their own. With so many options — 401k, SIMPLE IRA, 457, SEP, Profit Sharing and more — it may not be clear which type of plan would work best for your business. Whether you’re just looking for an unbiased review of your company’s existing employee retirement plan, or creating a new retirement plan from scratch, we can help.

Just like in a big game, the wide receiver can’t catch the ball if the quarterback isn’t good enough to get him the ball. Make sure you have a quarterback on your team who can get you down the field and score the game winning touchdown.